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Guelph reviews makeup of city council, ward boundaries

Click to play video: 'Is Guelph, Ont.’s city council producing ‘The Office’ spinoff?'
Is Guelph, Ont.’s city council producing ‘The Office’ spinoff?
Could the mayor of Guelph, Ont. be the next Michael Scott? Cam Guthrie and members of city council were featured in a video shared on Feb. 7, showcasing the politicians in a "The Office" spinoff called "The Council" – Feb 12, 2019

As part of a review of the makeup of its city council and ward boundaries, Guelph is asking for input from the community.

The review, which is just getting underway, will explore whether the municipal government structure should change as the city grows.

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“This review is an opportunity to come together as a community to evaluate citizen representation and ward boundaries,” said Dylan McMahon, manager of legislative services in the city clerk’s office.

“Residents will help decide if change is needed for fair and effective representation as Guelph grows.”

A review of council composition will determine how many councillors Guelph needs in each ward, whether they should be full time or part time, and whether they should be ward specific or serve the community at large.

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The city said engagement for this phase of the review will take place online until Sept. 4.

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Currently, each ward in Guelph is served by two part-time councillors.

A review of ward boundaries will take place in January 2021 and will look at the current ward structure and if any changes are required.

“We recognize that Guelph’s six wards have distinct and vibrant identities,” McMahon said. “The ward boundary review will respect existing geographic and natural boundaries, like main roads, railways and rivers.”

He added the review will also respect neighbourhoods within each ward like Old University, St. Patrick’s Ward, and the Junction.

A public advisory committee will also be assembled in late 2021 to review how much councillors earn.

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Staff are expected to report back in November 2020 with recommendations on council composition, then with recommendations on ward boundaries in 2021.

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Staff will also look at alternative voting systems and methods with public engagement planned for November 2020.

A report to council with recommendations on voting systems and methods will happen in early 2021.

A fourth report on how much councillors earn is expected in June 2022.

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The city is trying to get this completed in time for the next municipal election, scheduled for October 2022.

More information on the review and how to give feedback can be found on the city’s website.

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