City of Calgary launches ward boundary review with open house

The City of Calgary is looking for feedback on ward boundaries ahead of the 2021 municipal election. Global News

The City of Calgary officially launched its ward boundary review on Monday by hosting an open house to let people look at the proposed changes.

Returning officer Laura Kennedy said the city is implementing new ward boundaries before the municipal election in 2021.

“A ward boundary review is conducted to equalize the population as best as we’re able and subject to the policy council has passed,” she said. “As cities grow, we recognize that people move into areas where they can afford and that creates some discrepancy in the number of individuals represented across the city.”

The idea is to make sure each councillor represents a similar number of Calgarians.

“This is a very important process,” Kennedy said. “It does impact who represents you or how you are represented.”

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Kennedy said she is looking for feedback on two proposals — which she described as “provocative” — that would see boundaries adjusted.

“When I went to council in October, I indicated there was a large increase of population in the south and Coun. [Shane] Keating’s ward, which meant he was representing a far larger population than someone, let’s say, up in the north in Ward 3 and Coun. [Jyoti] Gondek, which had one of the lower ones,” she said.

“We are trying to correct those over- and under-representation numbers by equalling it out as much as possible across the city.”

Option A (left) and Option B (right) for Calgary’s ward boundaries. Courtesy: City of Calgary

Option A follows the Ward Boundary Determination and Review Policy and Option B balances the population across all 14 wards closer to the median, Kennedy said.

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“Option A applies the policy as it currently reads but it doesn’t actually equalize the population as quickly [or] as evenly as we would like. Option B doesn’t follow the policy per se, but equalizes the population,” she said.

“Of these two, what is really Calgarians’ priority? Do they want to equalize the population or do they want to maintain closer to the status quo?”

The city will gather online feedback until March 19.

“We have a series of opportunities for individuals to come forward and give us their feedback,” Kennedy said.

She hopes her recommendation will go to council before summer break.

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