Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Rep By Pop

Andrew Dreschel had another great piece in The Spec today (he seems to be on a bit of a hot streak lately - his indictment of Chief DeCaire earlier this week was scathing!). In case you missed it, you can read it here:

In it, he calls on candidates to take a position on Ward sizes. As one of the smallest Wards, this is a particularly relevant question for Dundas. With roughly 27,000 residents, Dundas is only about a third the size of a monster like Ward 7 up on the Mountain.

This issue hinges on your basic understanding of voter parity. Should Council reflect the population of the City or the "regionality" of the City? To make an analogy, it's like the difference at the Federal level between the fundamental purposes of the House of Commons and the Senate. The first reflects population, while the second reflects regional interests.

If the City decides to create new Wards up on the Mountain in response to its growing population, this will, in effect, dilute Dundas' influence on Council. Instead of being one vote among fifteen, we would be one vote among sixteen or seventeen. Further dilution would occur at the Committee level, which is where a lot of the real work gets done.

That may not sound like much of a difference until you consider that we already suffer too much from decisions made at the City level. New policies and regulations are often at odds with our distinct community and culture.

Fundamentally, it is a matter of fairness. The population on the Mountain is growing because they have plenty of land to build new subdivisions. By contrast, aside from our limited ability to densify, Dundas' population is effectively set. Hemmed-in as we are by our geography, we have no opportunity to grow.

I certainly believe that a review is in order but the Dundasian in me is concerned that it may leave us at an even greater disadvantage. Our voice must remain as strong and as loud as possible at City Hall.

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