Oakville To Get Two Additional Councillors for Next Municipal Election
The Town Council of Oakville consists of the mayor and 12 councillors elected in each of the municipality's six wards, with two councillors representing each ward. One councillor would sit exclusively on the local Oakville Council, while the other sits on both local and Halton Regional Council. This arrangement has been in place since 1990.
But due to recent changes the town has made, Oakville residents are about to add two more local politicians to both council chambers.
A ward boundary review was conducted in late 2016, and council passed a by-law that increased Oakville's number of wards from six to seven. A second by-law was also passed in order to increase the size of Town Council from its current composition of thirteen members (12 councillors and one mayor) to fifteen (14 councillors and the mayor).
To create the new ward, adjustments were made to all existing ward boundaries except Ward 3. This is the current map of Oakville ward boundaries, and this is the new map that will take effect after the 2018 municipal election.
While Ward 3 was left unchanged, there are noticeable alterations for the other remaining wards. Ward 1, which formerly included the Bronte neighbourhood and didn't go north of the QEW, now includes Bronte Creek Provincial Park and residents at the southwest corner of Dundas and Highway 25, which had previously been in Ward 4. Ward 2, which before also went north up until the QEW, now includes the Glen Abbey Golf Club as well as the surrounding communities.
Wards 4 and 5 were geographically reduced in size as most of the previously free land north of Dundas was transferred to the new Ward 7, and a small chunk of Ward 6 on the west was moved into Ward 7 as well. Ward 7 now comprises of everything north of Dundas Street starting from 8th Line in the east to the town's border on Tremaine Road in the west.
The full descriptions for the revised ward boundaries can be read here.
The rationale for the additional ward and boundary changes is because of impending growth coming to Oakville in the next few decades as part of the province's growth strategy. Judging from areas like this empty land under construction near Dundas Street and Trafalgar Road, the town is managing growth very carefully to not let it get too out of control.
Some of you might be wondering why it looks as though there are some strange boundary adjustments in Wards 1 and 2, and that for some reason it appears certain neighbourhoods seem to be gerrymandered into existing wards. Based off the 2016 census numbers, the town had to make sure that each ward more or less had an equal amount of residents now and projected into 2031. If you scroll through the interactive map, each ward provides the current and projected population numbers; the only outliers seem to be Wards 3 and 5, both of which are projected to have over 40,000 residents by 2031 while the other wards average out around just over 30,000 residents.
One final point is that with more politicians comes more costs in salaries and expenses. InHalton contacted Oakville's town clerk via email and asked what would be the expected costs for two additional town and regional councillors. After taking some time to break down the remuneration rate and expenses incurred, the town clerk replied that it would cost approximately $195,000 to add two councillors.
Finally, one certainty is by the 2018 municipal election, the new ward will see a plethora of candidates jockeying to become the first new town and regional councillors. On average, in an open race like this you could see over 20 candidates running for a spot on council. With Oakville requiring residents to elect two councillors in each ward, Ward 7 could see up to 40 candidates distributing their literature and knocking on doors for votes.
It's going to be interesting to watch.
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