Would fewer politicians improve City Hall?
London CIty Hall council chambers (Daryl Newcombe/CTV London)
LONDON, ONT. -- Politicians will consider realigning ward boundaries and slashing the number of council seats by 30 per cent before the next election.
Deputy Mayor Josh Morgan proposed a review of municipal representation during a discussion of ward boundaries at Monday’s Corporate Services Committee meeting.
“Ward 7 is 144 per cent larger than Ward 14, which means there’s a misalignment in the relative voting power of constituents,” explained Deputy Mayor Morgan.
Morgan represents Ward 7, the city’s largest, with 37,454 residents.
He argued their individual influence in municipal decision-making is disproportionately smaller than other wards.
Ward 14, representing southwest London is the smallest by population, with 25,974 residents.
Morgan’s motion calls on civic administration to report back on two options, more evenly distribute the population between London’s existing 14 wards, or potentially reducing the number of wards to ten.
“It’s the wards that are largest that are also growing the fastest,” added Morgan. “So there are wards that will further exacerbate this problem over time if we don’t correct it.”
“When I look at other cities that are quite a bit larger than London and they have smaller council sizes, that resonates with me,” said Coun. Maureen Cassidy.
Reducing the number of wards would increase the number of constituents represented by each city councillor.
London Ont. ward map
“Knowing how much work I do already, having a larger boundary would be very challenging,” explains downtown Coun. Arielle Kayabaga. “The resources are not there to support us to do that.”
Budget savings from reducing council from 14 to 10 could potentially be used to offset increases to staffing and expense accounts.
The last time London realigned it’s city council was prior to the 2010 election when Board of Control was eliminated.
To be in place for the October 2022 municipal election, a realignment and/or reduction of wards would have to be completed prior to January.
Morgan’s motion was supported unanimously by the committee, and will be considered by council on March 23.