It’s the fourth day of the Ontario Municipal Board hearing into Council’s new ward boundaries. Today, we’ll have testimony and arguments from each side during the day. In the evening, starting at 6:30pm, participant statements will being and run until 9:30pm. Statements will continue tomorrow morning.
This morning, the City will continue to present its case to the Board. Dr. Robert Williams, an expert in municipal ward boundaries who was involved with the Watson & Associates team, is on the stand for the City.
The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) members deciding this case are Dr. Bruce Krushelnicki and Paula Boutis. Krushelnicki is the Executive Chairman of the Environmental and Land Tribunals of Ontario, and is therefore the highest ranking member of the OMB.
City of Hamilton Legal Counsel
City Council retained outside legal counsel for the hearing as the Council voted to not accept the recommendations of professional experts Watson & Associates, instead creating their own boundaries as a Council.
Two private citizens have appealed the Council’s new self-created ward boundaries. Mark Richardson and the City of Hamilton reached a settlement, Richardson is no longer an active appellant.
Robert Dobrucki is self-representing, a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, and a lawyer by trade, he is appealing as a private citizen. (Dobrucki was a guest on The Public Record Radio Show in October 2016 on the topic of ward boundaries)
Good morning everyone. The OMB is completing some procedural matters at present.
Dr. Williams is now discussing what is a community of interest, and how it is calculated by Watsons & Associates.
An interesting new idea added by Dr. Williams – keeping separate communities apart. (which is interesting both for the first time of that phrase and that it is not applied in the Ainslie Wood split and merge with Dundas)
Dr. Williams explaining the importance of having homogeneous wards for effective representation to enable Councillors to know what directions to take on matters.
Dr. Williams now discussing that ward populations are not an overriding factors, noting that large population ward Councillors get more staff to assist, therefore they can effectively represent and return calls.
Dr. Williams says rural areas need representation; but not all rural areas are the same and therefore the need for multiple rural/suburban wards.
Dr. Williams is asked by the OMB if he knows the boundaries of the Greenbelt, in response to Dr. Williams citing the Greenbelt in reasons for rural wards.
He is “generally familiar” with the location. Asked if there is Greenbelt on the eastern side of Hamilton, he is not sure.
Ward 15 Councillor Judi Partridge, who was taking off her jacket having just arrived, says from the public gallery “Yes”
Dr. Williams explains that the Western Suburbs will remain rural, whereas the Eastern Suburbs are quickly urbanizing.
Dr. Williams now arguing that Watsons & Associates sought to protect the Western Suburbs and the Rural Ward 14 ward based upon the 2003 Ottawa (City) v Osgoode Rural Community Assn OMB ruling which required Ottawa to have effective representation for the rural area.
Dr. Williams is now arguing for the City Council’s latest preferred ward boundaries. He says he recommends the OMB adopt the boundaries.
OMB Exec Chair asks Dr. Williams which was his preferred boundaries in the Watson & Associates report. He notes Option 2.
City Lawyer Ferri provides a counter questions: “Have your views on community of interest evolved since your report”
Dr. Williams states yes, and now argues for the City’s new preferred ward boundaries.
Dobrucki will get the opportunity to cross-examine later.
Dr. Williams now arguing against their earlier recommendation to have a new ward on the Mountain saying that the map would remove the rural voice from Council, and that he no longer supports the idea of a new Mountain ward.
“Community of diversity of interest” of the rural area is the term Dr. Williams is using to describe why the Western Suburbs need the extra ward.
That Waterdown, Dundas, and Ancaster cannot be blended with each other or other communities. (but, not acknowledging the Ainslie Wood issue)
Continuing questions from City Lawyer to Dr. Williams on specific sections of documents I do not have access to. I cannot give you exact details for this reason.
The sum is the City is arguing that it’s near impossible to create wards without deviation of 25% in population from the average.
OMB Exec Chair is asking pointed questions on the calculations. Dr. Williams is strongly arguing for the City Council’s new preferred wards, and not the Wards that he created in his Watson & Associates reports.
Now a brief discussion of a scenario that included Greensville in the Dundas ward. The OMB Exec Chair on asking about the boundary uses a local road and Webster Falls, showing some knowledge of the Greensville area.
(Going back to the Ainslie Wood issue, if the OMB Exec Chair knows Greensville, he’ll be aware of the strong connection and similarities between Dundas/Greensville, which do not exist between Ainslie Wood and Dundas)
Now City Lawyer is questioning Dr. Williams on the Dobrucki ward map. This is the Dobrucki map:
Dr Williams arguments are meant to advance the City argument that Council’s preferred wards should be approved, BUT in the event the OMB does not give Council its wards, the OMB should go with a Watson & Associates option.
(Note: not many quotations at present as this is a quick back-and-forth with long answers, I’m not able to keep up with arguments if I’m trying to grab quotes)
Dr Williams is now arguing against the use of the Lincoln Alexander Parkway as a boundary for any ward boundary. Specific criticism of the use of Garth, Stone Church in the western part of Dobrucki’s proposed South Mountain ward.
OMB Exec Chair with a light tone says to Dr. Williams, “I’m sure I could find similar in your wards” cites Wellington, Main, Wentworth.
Now being critical of Dr. Williams arguments against Dobrucki noting Ward 9 uses Centennial, then uses other roads on the Mountain instead of Upper Centennial.
OMB Exec Chair notes that the witness, as an expert, should be as critical of his own boundaries as he is the boundaries of others.
Dr. Williams arguing that Dobrucki’s ward boundaries will confuse people, and that the use of three wards in the Western Suburbs instead of four fails to protect the rural community of interest.
Dr. Williams now citing the 2003 OMB ruling in Ottawa that the OMB found the blending of suburb and rural was to the disadvantage of the rural area.
For the City, Dr. Williams is a great witness – he is arguing Council’s points and critical of the Dobrucki position.
Another good exchange of ideas between the OMB Exec Chair and Dr. Williams.
Exec Chair: It’s okay to cross the Escarpment in Ward 9, “but just don’t touch Ward 14”
Dr. Williams: That’s the only expection, there are trade-offs but they should be limited.
OMB on 15 break
During the break here, Ward 15 Councillor Judi Partridge is conferencing with City hired lawyer Ferri.
And we’re back.
Now discussing reports that I don’t have handy access to in front of me.
Dr. Williams remains on the stand.
It’s a continuation of the previous line of argument — that Council’s preferred Wards are better than the consultant recommendations, and Dobrucki’s wards have many shortcomings.
Dr. Williams telling the OMB of “shortcomings” in his report that he only discovered after Council provide feedback on his final report. He is arguing against his own work in favour of Council’s preferred boundaries.
Now detailed criticism of the Dobrucki Option D map.
Dr. Williams starts by saying the “10% figure may be very desirable from a theoretical view … but it is very rarely used in Ontario.”
“No municipality I’ve ever seen with one possible exception is distributed” such to allow for 10% population variation.
Here’s a slightly larger size of the Dobrucki map: https://www.thepublicrecord.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Dobrucki-Ward-Map-Proposal.png
Dr. Williams is now stating that maybe Toronto could be 10% “But they don’t have a rural area”
“In Hamilton, in my professional opinion, a wider variation in population … is necessary to achieve the six guiding principles”
Dr. Williams says 25% variation is needed in Hamilton to meet the Carter criteria and the six guiding principals.
Dr. Williams argues against the Dobrucki map that is based on the 2016 Census, and therefore Wards 9,10,11,15 are going to grow and will be underrepresented.
MY ANALYSIS – NOT TESTIMONY:
Dobrucki’s Wards 9, 10, 11 are the exact same as the Council preferred boundaries which Dr. Williams is calling on the OMB to adopt. He’s in favour of Ward 9, 10, 11 underrepresentation provided it causes the Western Suburbs to be overrepresented, but once that overpresentation is no present in the Dobrucki proposal, he is critical of the underrepresentation in the East.
Dr. Williams says people on the Mountain do not see the Linc as a significant barrier, hence why they recommend retaining the existing wards, and not creating a new South Mountain ward.
Dr. Williams says the Dobrucki Option D does not represent communities of interest – because in Wards 9 and 13 both cross the escarpment.
In Wards 12, 13, 14, 15, the communities of Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, and Waterdown are mixed with the rural areas and blended with suburban.
Dr. Williams suggests the Board has made up its mind on the Western Suburbs.
OMB Exec Chair says “it’s a fool who makes a decision half-way through a hearing” and then states his probing questions are designed to test the case and “because I know you’ll give good answers”
Dr Williams says he would put the Dobrucki map at the bottom of the list of options.
OMB Exec Chair notes that Council was fine with what Dobrucki is proposing for the Eastern Suburbs, they are fine with that, are they not? He asks.
Dr. Williams says the difference is that Wards have been to be seen as a “system” city-wide.
Member Boutis now asking questions about radial wards, and communities of interest.
“How do you know it’s effective government?” Has it “been tested empirically”? Boutis asks.
Dr. Williams says he doesn’t know, because he hasn’t tested.
Dr. Williams brings into discuss the 1972 OMB Decision on Toronto’s Strip Wards.
Ferri just asked if a rural issues only candidate could win in a mixed suburban wards.
OMB Exec Chair quickly “Mr. Ferri since you’ve taken us there”, and now starts a back and forth with Dr. Williams.
I’m listening, I’ll summarize the best I can, this is casual language, quick back and forth.
OMB Exec Chair argues that a candidate in a suburban/rural ward would have to represent everyone, and they have to gain votes from both sides. Dr. Williams, not if there is a significant population imbalance, a minority can be ignored.
OMB Exec Chair: “To remove this from a hypothetical” cites Ancaster’s present suburban/rural ward which the City says its working great and rural interest is very well represented.
Effective representation “rests on the premise that those elected will represent their full ward” “it doesn’t work if a segment is geographically isolated”
OMB Exec Chair speaking a lot here. He’s really pushing Dr. Williams arguments the Western Suburbs need four seats. OMB Exec Chair says of this: you are creating a “permanent minority” bloc.
Ferri suggests the Exec Chair just cross-examined his witness. OMB Exec Chair, (who has a PhD), says “it was an academic discourse” “we were back in the faculty club”.
Ferri is now trying to take it back to the City’s argument for the need for the rural ward. Is there a scenario where the urban area will want something and the rural wises the opposite.
Dr. Williams giving a long answer, key phrase “you’ll never find a perfect system”
Ferri now conducting a line of questioning to establish the differences between Dobrucki’s Option D and the Council preferred boundaries.
Dr. Williams concludes this area of questioning on the Dobrucki Option D by stating he would recommend against the OMB adopting the map.
OMB takes lunch until 1:30pm. We’re now in recess.
Everyone is in their places in the room, awaiting the return of the OMB panel to start the afternoon session.
Here we go again.
Ferri is asking a new line of questions on the OMB Issues List
1) Do the ward boundaries established By-Law 17-030 meet the Hamilton Criteria meet to a degree that is acceptable?
Dr. Williams “they do meet the Hamilton criteria as described”
2) If the City’s boundaries are found to not meet the Hamilton criteria, what is the preferred alternative for redistribution
Dr. Williams “I’m not aware of an alternative that is as effective”
3) Was the process followed by the City appropriate
Dr. Williams “the process was very extensive … it more than meets the expectations for public consultation on matters of this kind”
3a) Was the process followed by the City reasonable?
4) Was the public required to give the public access to GIS open data information to participant in the process?
Dr. Williams “It is not my understanding that it is required”
Ferri: How to you respond to Dobrucki’s suggestion that the City is giving unfair weight to the rural interests of West Hamilton over those of East Hamilton
Dr. Williams: I disagree, the Eastern interest differ from the Western. In the East “they are not suitable for the creation of a rural ward” – they are not large enough.
Dr. Williams: they are on their own are not large enough, and they have three urban settlement areas (on the East side)
Ferri asks question about a rural only ward with a large population – similar to the Flamborough-Glanbrook federal riding without the urban areas.
Dr. Williams says too large, and that rural Flamborough and rural Glanbrook do not have much in common.
This lines of questions from Ferri to Dr. Williams is to undermine the arguments that Dobrucki has stated he will advance.
Ferri: Do you consider the new City preferred ward boundaries to be, as Dobrucki characterizes, “changes around the edges”
Dr. Williams: “No, they are an improvement on the current system” and states that he fully supports then.
Ferri: Dobrucki says the moving of North Ainslie Wood into Ward 13 will have a negative impact on the student representation and voice on Council
Dr. Williams says there ‘10,690 students in the current ward 1, the move proposed will see 1350 of them relocated into Ward 13, a drop of Ward 1’s student population to 25% from 29%’
“It’s not a significant change”. “In Ward 13 it goes from 0 to 6%, in a way it gives them a voice it didn’t have before. ”
Ferri: If the OMB finds they are a community of interest, does the proposed change harm this community of interest?
Dr. Williams: “It actually means there could be two voices instead of one on Council”
OMB Exec Chair asks what percentage of the student population are eligible voters?
Ferri says to Dr. Williams, “if you don’t know the answer, don’t answer”
Dr. Williams says he’d have to guess.
Questions on splitting North Ainslie Wood is now complete. City claims that if OMB says the student voice matters, it has no impact on the Council preferred wards.
Now a series of questions criticizing Dobrucki’s group of wards for population comparison, and that looking at the Eastern Suburbs and Western Suburbs as units is wrong.
Now City getting Dr. Williams to argue there is no perfect solution to wards, that the City Council was diligent in creating the wards, the process was non-political, Council ultimately makes the decision, and they’ve made the best decision possible.
Dobrucki is now beginning cross-examination.
There was some levity as Dobrucki says Dr. Williams taught him as an undergrad, likely in 1982.
It quickly becomes combative between Dobrucki and Dr. Williams, I couldn’t clearly hear the question.
Dobrucki asks Dr. Williams if the ward population imbalances are supportable? Dr. Williams says yes.
Dobrucki is now re-establishing that Dr. Williams is an expert, and now going into the Watson & Associates process citing W&A documents.
OMB Exec Chair is very carefully watching both Dobrucki and Dr. Williams. OMB Member is taking careful notes on her laptop.
Now Dobrucki asking a series of questions that lead to his argument that public input should’ve been provided to Council for decision making consideration, not just summarized as it was – since Council made the decision.
Ferri started to stand up, then sat down.
Still in what I’ll call establishing questions in the cross-examination.
Dobrucki speaks very quickly, Dr. Williams responds quickly. Dobrucki is arguing that the consultants did not give citizens an option to choose wards with less than 25% population variation.
His argument appears to be that the City did not try in good faith to balance population.
OMB Executive Chair asks about Option 4C, that it was close to +/- 25% with only ward outside that criteria.
This lead to a discussion of the number of Councillors. The OMB cannot change the number of Councillors, so this was primarily an academic exercise.
The OMB must decision on a 15 ward system, be it the Council’s preferred or another option.
Dobrucki: you would confirm there are five federal ridings in Hamilton.
Dr. Williams: Yes, but I would not agree that the Flamborough-Glanbrook riding is effectie in representing Hamilton’s rural interest because of the urban growth centres within it.
Dobrucki to Dr. Williams: Do you know the make up of residents in Dundas, and the student component of the population?
Dr. Williams: I do not.
My oversight, there was a 15 minute break. I rushed out for the break, and failed to let you know.
We’re back for the final 90 minutes of deliberation.
Now an evidence argument, Dobrucki has entered a new document. The OMB Exec Chair asks Dobrucki “what about pre-hearing disclosure that you are having difficulty with?”
Dobrucki has entered this map he created of Ainslie Wood with some population projections:
Dobrucki argues that this map will be helpful to the Board to know various areas of Ainslie Wood, especially in light of tonight’s public participant statements.
The OMB Exec Chair says he’ll be keeping a tight rein on Dobrucki with this new map.
Some questions back and forth.
Ferri objects that some of the questions are entering evidence.
OMB Exec Chair:
We’re having some difficulty with procedure here as normally it is the appellant who argues first. We agreed to do this because we thought it be more efficient, but it is creating difficulty as Dobrucki gets to question City witnesses.
Exec Chair at length explaining how he is maintaining fairness, but he welcomes objections.
Do you understand this, Exec Chair asks.
Ferri: I do not, this is visual evidence, visual evidence was to be entered prior to the hearing. If the issue of the student population was brought up prior to the hearing.
Both OMB Panel members: We understand the difference between fact and argument.
Ferri and Dobrucki have a back and forth.
Exec Chair reminds them they must speak to the Chair.
Member Boutis: We know the difference between what is subject to proof.
Exec Chair: It is the character of expert witness that hypothesis can be posed to them with the understanding that will be subject to future proof.
Questions about Ainslie Wood from Dobrucki to Dr. Williams.
Dobrucki: Before this map today, did you consider Ainslie Wood a community of interest?
Dr. Williams: they did not look at this community specifically.
Dobrucki to Dr. Williams: did you consider communities of interest between the Bylaw 17-030 compared to the Council preferred wards? Did you look at the communities of interest between Ward 1 and 13 in the preferred wards change?
Dr. Williams: No
A small misunderstanding on colour on a map, the Exec Chair jokes, “Do I have to make a ruling here”, and there is laughter in the room. Tension lowered from this.
The room is now entering into a routine of question and answer, Ferri is watching closely the testimony, taking notes… and we have an objection on Dobrucki using a population chart of various population units in the City.
Ferri’s objection on this chart was upheld with a previous witness.
Member Boutis clarifies why they stood down the previous witness on this.
Asks Dobrucki where he intends to go with this line of questioning with this document.
OMB Exec Chair says “let’s do a sample question and see how this goes”
The objection is partially upheld in the tight rein imposed.
This line of very detailed questioning is using documents I do not have.
The sum of it is Dobrucki is advancing the argument of the merits of his Option D map.
Dobrucki now arguing with Dr. Williams over the difference between City Preferred Wards and Dobrucki Option D as it relates to Wards 9, 10, 11
After a lengthy debate over the differences between the maps, it’s finally agreed that it’s on the Ward 11 and Ward 6 boundary – City uses the former municipal boundary, Dobrucki uses Rymal. There’s a small difference in population as the area is mostly industrial.
Dobrucki tries to narrow to only 9, 10, 11 in this line of questions. City is pushing back that there should be a city-wide focus.
Dobrucki is now asking a series of questions about the links between rural Flamborough and Dundas.
Dobrucki is now playing video from the Council meeting in February.
Dobrucki plays a clip from Feb. 1 / 17 Council debate on Ward Boundaries. Mayor Eisenberger on equity in representation wards, Dr. Williams – in the clip – agreed with Mayor Eisenberger.
Dr Williams is responding well in a way that reinforces his position in support of the Council preferred boundaries.
Now a clip of Clr. Aidan Johnson asking Dr. Williams about effective representation. In this answer, Dr Williams says retaining Ward 14 is stretching it, he also argues in favour of various scenarios that will require a lower population in a ward.
Dobrucki asks Dr. Williams if he stands behind his view expressed that population parity is important while weighting communities of interest.
Dr Williams is holding his positions well in cross-examination.
Explaining the dilemmas they faced in creating boundaries.
Dobrucki asking Dr. Williams to explain why he believes Council’s proposed boundaries are superior to other options, using what Dr. Williams stated in February. Dr. Williams holds his ground.
Having boundaries that protect communities of interest is important to effective representation says Dr. Williams.
Dobrucki is asking what makes for communities of interest. Dr. Williams how they interact with the City, and the services they received. “The way an area is inhabited”
This line of questions in dry, very much about legal position posturing. The room has warmed up a bit (actually room temperature), both speakers are monotone, and there have been two people yawn in the past few minutes. The long days (everyone had to work over the weekend) are showing as we approach the dinner break.
Dobrucki is now posing a line of questions about what makes Ward 14 so uniquely different, and then Ward 13 & 14 have in common.
One question – would you agree that Ward 13 and 14 will not be growing further. Williams answers in the affirmative, then adds he would not join them in a ward.
Dobrucki argues that as the rest of the City grows, Dundas and Rural Flamborough will be over-represented. If that is not changed today, this will continue, wouldn’t you agree? Yes, but that doesn’t require by statue that a change be made.
Dobrucki agrees that at one time, seats in the Legislature of Upper Canada were one per county, would you agree with that today? Williams responds no, but then notes that while seats in Southern Ontario are by population, North Ontario is not. There are parallels for western parts of Hamilton, especially the rural Flamborough ward.
Dobrucki is now arguing that in the Federal House of Commons many Southern Ontario ridings are more than twice the size of Hamilton, that population is fairly equal.
Do you wish to apply the Carter criteria for fly-in communities to Hamilton’s wards?
Dr Williams says no not directly, but there is an importance to the rural identity “not everyone lives in a high-rise or a nice bungalow” and wards have to reflect that.
And with that, we’re arguments for the day. We’re back at 6:30pm with public participants. See you then.
City takes another opportunity to object to the consideration of how City wards impact
visible minorities. She happens to be the only visible minority to seek individual participant status. This is something the City is really fighting
against, to the point of absurdity.
I’m off for dinner. Expect the next update around 6pm, as people start to arrive.
I’m back in the room, its empty, 40 minutes until participant statements begin.
And we are back in session.
The OMB Executive Chair opens with a joke, “You are all seated at the back, I feel like I’m at the Anglican Church”.
OMB Executive Chair is giving an administrative overview of the night structure.
Some more humour to set a good mood. The first delegate will be Tordis Coakley of the Ainslie Wood Community Association.
Coakley of the AWCA
We wish to assist the board on the effects of splitting AWCA
– decision was a surprise to use, and it was made behind closed doors
Coakley of the AWCA
We feel this is “perhaps not democratic” because it was done behind closed doors.
We feel the OMB should not be made without first considering if Ainslie Wood is a unique community of interest. You have heard about Flamborough and Dundas.
Coakley of the AWCA
Our mixture of students and permanent residents forms a unique community of interest, and that splitting us will harm this community of interest.
Coakley of the AWCA
We have a good relationship with the university, and the student union. Notes their membership in Town and Gown relationship committees.
Coakley of the AWCA
Describes how Ainslie Wood differs from Dundas, noting different housing types and they have many renters.
Coakley of the AWCA
Argues that the split of Ainslie Wood North will remove the opportunity for those residents to have effective representation. They are geographical removed from Dundas and will not be able to form connects with Ward 13
Coakley of the AWCA
Is noting that student vote will be split, this harms their ability to receive effective representation.
Coakley of the AWCA
Notes the many ways that as these areas of Ainslie Wood will not be able to gave effective representation, and they are too much a minority in Ward 13 to be able to effective cause consequence for the Ward 13 Councillor.
Coakley of the AWCA is done her presentation.
Ferri on behalf of the City is now asks Coakley of the AWCA on where she lives in Ainslie Wood.
He thanks her for attending, it is not easy to speak in public.
Next participant is: Rosemary (I didn’t catch her last name)
She lives in Ainslie Wood North which is the area effected. I’m in opposite to removing AWN and Ainslie West of Main Street because she does not feel she’ll have effective representation
Rosemary is citing concerns with student housing, and the extra bylaw enforcement as unique to Ainslie Wood and Westdale, they would be prevented from being able to get this kind of response from City Hall to issues as they will be drowned in Ward 13.
Rosemary is briefly questioned by both parties, thanked for her delegation and sits down.
Next participant is Anne Flanagan, she is from Ward 8.
Speaks to the need to “protect rural communities of interest, they need to have representation that clearly reflects the concerns of those residents. I believe the agricultural voice should be preserved, and not diluted by merging with urban areas.”
She is also concerned that the Ward Boundary Review did not consider decreasing the number of Councillors, noting that in other cities – she names Toronto – Councillors represent more people per ward.
She is concerned about changes to Ward 8, saying her present Councillor is very effective, and she especially likes that he is accessible at Westcliffe Mall.
She says the Ward Boundary Review was “championed by Downtown Activists that had a primary concern over transit area rating” “The original petition was seemingly dominated by many of these activists in the lower city”.
Anne Flanagan says supports the City’s Preferred Ward Boundaries approved by Council, and that “any other option is either too intrusive and really lacks an understanding and appreciation of our community”
Dobrucki askes Flanagan if she feels the Mountain Wards should have large populations than lower city, she responds very well citing the ward projections that over time the wards will be better balanced under the Council preferred boundaries.
OMB Exec Chair asks Flanagan about if the Lincoln Alexander Parkway is a big barrier in her neighbourhood, she says “not really”
Next up are Randy Chapple and Shawn Boecker, from the Gourley and Gilkson Neighbourhood Associations.
Mr. Chapple says he has been President of the NA since 2004.
They are both opposed to any boundary change that puts their neighbourhoods in different wards. Both state Terry Whitehead is an excellent Councillor.
Boecker and Chapple speaking of the many cooperation between the two neighbourhood and that if both neighbourhoods were not under the same ward with Terry Whitehead, they would not have this level of cooperation and they would not be as effective.
Boecker and Chapple both say they support the Council preferred boundaries, and another other option is “intrusive” and does not reflect the community.
They are “bitterly” against the creation of a new Mountain ward.
OMB Executive Chair asks them if they support changes to Ward 8, they’re concern is that they’re neighbourhoods are not split. Says that wards can have significant differences in population. He cites different issues, such as “rampant crime downtown”.
On question from Ferri, would they support a ward boundary on Stone Church instead of the Linc, the answer is no “it would leave those people [south of Stone Church] without representation.
Susan ?Creer? is the current participant. She lives on Main West in the high density area across from the cemetery.
“My closest neighbours are across the street, but my representative will be in Dundas”
Susan: “I cannot see the Dundas Councillor taking care of the Ainslie Wood issues”
That was quick, no questions.
Now speaking is Collen Wicken who is a staff member in Ward 8 Councillor Terry Whitehead, she is her representing the “Bonnington Buchanan Mohawk Southam Neighbourhood Association”
Wicken says her concern is that Mohawk College has grown since 1985 [when Ward 8 was created]
They are looking to expand their liaison group to expand to the other Ward 8 neighbourhoods, “sensitively must be shown to the Mohawk Precinct and considered a community of interest” She says the Council preferred endorsed options are the only options that protect this community of interest with students.
Her statement is down.
Georgina Beattie is now speaking, she lives in Winona and is a former Stoney Creek (pre-amalgamation) City Councillor.
Beattie asks where all the public interest on this issue was? Where were people at the Ward Boundary Review, all those people who signed the petition? Why did they not participate?
Beattie is very critical of those who filed the appeals, saying both appellants did not speak at Council in October 2016. “It is my understanding Dobrucki attended in February”
She is concerned that the process was not well advertised, unclear, and the Review failed to review our electoral system to try and determine how to improve voter turnout.
Beattie is very concerned about the accuracy of the consultants report and participation counts during the review, noting they did not have sign in sheets.
Beattie, who spoke against changing wards during the review and the need for the review, is now – as she’s always done – focused on how the City needs to conduct good research using the latest figures, and that political negotiations should not have occurred, and should not have been in closed session behind closed doors.
She calls on the OMB to carefully consider before making changes to Ward 14 & 15.
She repeats that our City Hall’s election office is broken, has many flaws, and needs to be changed.
Beattie is done.
15 minute break.
and we are back.
The next participants are a group from the “Italian community of interest and the Chedoke Bocce Club”.
Joe Munisteri, Biagio Ciccante, and Ralph Iorio.
I’ll refer to them as the Chedoke Bocce Club
Chedoke Bocce Club is concerned that changes proposed to Ward 8 will hurt their community of interest. The Italian community of interest is approximately 15.8% of Ward 8, and that proposed changes to Ward 8 are too intrusive, and would harm their ability to be effectively represented because they would have to work with two Councillors instead of one.
The OMB Executive Chair asks them to show him on the map where the Bocce Club is.
“Do you play Bocce there or is mostly a community centre?”
Club: “We play every night”
Next participant is Mike Borelli of the Beasley Neighbourhood Association.
DISCLOSURE: I’m a member of the BNA, and the Executive in a limited role for representing BNA on minor variances, and was not involved in this statement
Borelli states the Beasley NA was originally in favour of the 16-ward option. Beasley NA now seeks a ward map which provides better balance of representation by population.
“We strong believe it is time for ward boundaries that reflect the similarities of population size” “It is time to move past amalgamation”
All parties thank Borelli, and he is done.
And we are done for the night. Participant statements continue tomorrow morning at 9:30am. I’ll see you then.