Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Community Corner: Ward System — what happened?

Posted by auroracitizen on September 21, 2008

A reader sent in the following comment. We will run a poll question on this in the next few weeks.

During the last election, a number of current sitting Councillors for the Town of Aurora agreed the electorate would be better served having a Ward System. These Councillors promised that if elected they would do something about it.

It’s now been two years. What happened to this election promise?

Do you think Aurora should have a Ward System?

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5 Responses to “Community Corner: Ward System — what happened?”

  1. Anonymous said

    While I don’t favour a ward system in a town the size of Aurora, I believe that once elected, councillors should be informally attached to a certain area e.g., northwest quadrant, or they could be assigned to deal with a particular portfolio e.g., traffic.

    Many times I have had concerns or comments that I have wanted to address to my representatives, but I never do because I just don’t know whom to approach. I feel it is a waste of councillors’ time for me to email eight people and get eight responses. And it would be a waste of my time to phone eight people. With the present system, I don’t get involved.

    If councillors were attached to certain areas or had portfolios, more citizens would get involved in town affairs, and as a result, Aurora would be a more democratic town to live in with a greater sense of community.

  2. Anonymous said

    I agree with Eric. A 4 Ward System is a great idea. How many towns with 50,000 residents don’t have a ward system? Didn’t Newmarket have a ward system when they were 50,000?

  3. Anonymous said

    Eric is right, we’re ready for a Ward system. I like the idea of 4 larger Wards rather than 8 smaller ones. The accountability factor would be far greater and who could possibly oppose that? I can recall Stephen Granger before he was elected lobbying the previous Council in favour of a Ward system. I guess it’s not what the mayor wants. That would clearly explain why we haven’t heard from him now that he is in a position to actually do something about it.

  4. Anonymous said

    Straight to point one of Eric’s comment – ALL areas of Aurora are currently represented by council.
    I don’t want a ward system because I want to be able to challenge/question any and all members of council. Not just the councillor ‘responsible’ for ‘my’ ward.
    Ward systems pit councillors against councillors to get things for ‘their area’.
    We have enough antagonism now without councillors becoming even more territorial.
    We’re not (yet) big enough for a ward system.

  5. Eric McCartney said

    I feel strongly that Aurora would be better served having a FOUR Ward System for the following reasons.

    1. A ward system ensures that ALL areas of Aurora would be represented on council.
    2. Candidates would not have to campaign over the entire town. A candidate would only be required to concentrate their campaign within their own ward.
    3. If the town required to call a by-election the cost to the town would be reduced.
    4.Campaign overhead costs would be greatly reduced for councillor candidates. Eliminating the possibility of some excellent better qualified residents from running.
    5. The electorate (voters) are limited in choosing from ONLY the candidates within their particular ward. This makes a lot more sense to me. Having a ballot with ten, twenty, or more names makes it difficult for most. How can the electorate possibly know every candidate before an election? The possibility is high that the ballot may contain a name that does not look too familiar. A voter may not vote at all, spoil the ballet, or play the lottery. With a four ward system, a resident would only be required to vote for a mayor and two councillors. Would this not be easier? Residents are much more likely to become familiar with the limited range of candidates from whom to choose within a ward system.
    6. A ward system would eliminate the possibility of ONE higher profile councillor becoming burnt out, inundated with e-mails, phone calls, and extra duties.
    7. Candidates within a ward system are said to be much more aware of the particular needs, problems, requirements, and interests within their ward since the probability is high that the candidate actually lives within the ward they will represent.
    8.Residents would have a choice of two councillors to contact.
    9.Two councillors per ward would allow the resident / ward / town a backup in case of an absence of one councillor within that ward. (Example: Sickness, vacation, conflict of interest, …)
    10.According to readings, a ward system brings a higher voter turnout.

    Let’s try a FOUR WARD system Aurora! A ward system would make it more likely for you to actually know your candidate as an individual / neighbour / friend not to say the minority of residents do not today.

    Over the last two years I have sent the town directors and councillors a number of items I noticed within my area to be fixed, updated, replaced, ideas, plus safety issues. I have requested a report and asked that the safety issues to be a priority. I am still waiting to receive a report on just ONE item. I was e-mailed acknowledgments so I do know that I am not being sent to junk mail. I have been told last month that a report will be sent soon by one director.

    My point is, if we had a Ward System the Councillors looking after this WARD would hopfully have seen these items as well. I am sure the Councillors living within the Ward would have put them on a watch list to be dealt with. Especially the safety issues.

    In conclusion, YES I would like to see Aurora with a FOUR Ward system. What happend to the election promises I voted for, I don’t know. I just hope to God that our Councillors have been working on something behind the scenes for all of us. If they wait to make it an election question it will take YEARS before Aurora gets a Ward System.

    Eric McCartney

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