As you may know, Pelham’s six Town Councillors are elected in three geographic areas called Wards. The people living in each ward are represented by two Councillors.
The Town last reviewed these wards in 1978, when the population totaled 10,808. Since then, Pelham’s population has increased 54% to 16,600 (2011 Census).
The 2011 Census shows disparities between the population levels in the wards. For example, Ward One contained 4,460 people, Ward Two 5,440 people, and Ward Three 6,700 people.
Our Town is expected to increase by nearly 3,000 people by 2022 (18%) with much of the growth expected in the East Fonthill area – or the current Ward Three. If that growth occurs and the current ward boundaries remain, the disparities will increase to 4,625 electors for Ward One, 5,602 for Ward Two, and 6,720 for Ward Three.
Given these facts, Council agreed that it was time to revisit the Ward boundaries and commissioned Dr. Robert Williams of Watson & Associates to conduct a Ward Boundary Review.
The 2013 Pelham Ward Boundary Review study principles include:
• Effective and equitable system of representation;
• Wards should preserve communities of interest;
• Wards should recognize natural physical features or natural barriers/dividers;
• Wards should recognize areas of growth/decline, population trends, and density;
• Wards should recognize accessibility and or communication issues.
To help develop options for possible realignment of current wards or to increase the number of wards to accommodate growth and population shifts for the next three municipal elections in 2014, 2018 and 2022, the Town invited the public to open houses on last week.
Unfortunately, very few attended and provided feedback.
But, there’s still time for you to comment and offer your ideas.
Should we have three Wards with two Councillors each or should we have six Wards with one representative each? Should Fenwick and North Pelham and Ridgeville be in the same Ward? What should be the dividing line between the Wards in Fonthill?
The Town’s website contains information about this process, the analysis and forecasts, and five different options with specific maps. Please go to www.pelham.ca to see all the information and to fill in a comment sheet to rank the options. Full size maps are also displayed at Town Hall so you can review the options and provide your feedback to the Town’s Clerk for Council’s consideration.
We look forward to hearing from you.