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Guelph keeps 12-councillor, 6-ward model with new boundaries

The view of downtown Guelph as seen from the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate at Norfolk and Macdonell streets. Nick Westoll / Global News

Guelph city council has voted to keep its current composition instead of opting for a change recommended by a consulting firm following an 18-month review.

On Wednesday evening, the mayor and councillors voted 9-4 in favour of staying with six wards represented by 12 councillors.

Read more: Consultants recommend Guelph have 8 full-time city councillors

A lengthy review by Watson & Associates ended with the consultants recommending the city go with eight wards with eight full-time councillors.

But several delegates who spoke during a public meeting on Monday petitioned council to not change things.

City council held off on deciding whether the role of city councillor should remain a part-time position or switch to full-time.

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Instead, the city’s remuneration and support advisory committee will be asked to submit recommendations in early 2022 on councillors’ employment status, salary, benefits and support staff.

Even though the city is staying with six wards, changes have been made to the boundaries. The city said the reconfiguration distributes Guelph’s population evenly and primarily follows natural and geographic land markers.

City of Guelph. City of Guelph

“Ultimately, the decision that is best for this community is to distribute Guelph’s population of voters evenly across wards today and in anticipation of future growth,” said Dylan McMahon, manager of legislative services.

Read more: Guelph exploring all options for vacant 155-year-old drill hall

A 45-day period has now commenced for appeals to be filed with the Ontario Land Tribunal.

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If there is no appeal, or provided the Ontario Land Tribunal decides on an appeal before Jan. 1, 2022, the revised ward boundaries would be in effect for the 2022 municipal election.

Council also directed staff to complete another ward boundary review before 2030.

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