The Hamilton-Wentworth District School’s Trustees are voting on new Ward boundaries at their December 9 meeting, following a recommendation this week by their Governance Committee.
If approved it will be the first substantial change to Ward boundaries since the former County and City Boards of Education were forcefully merged in 1997.
Under the Education Act and Provincial regulations, the Board is only allowed 11 trustees, whereas the City of Hamilton has 15 Wards. As the board must use the boundaries set by City Hall, the trustees are forced to combine multiple wards into a single trustee ward.
They are doing this by proposing to merge Wards 1 and 12 (Cootes-Westdale & Ancaster), Wards 2 & 3 (Downtown and Central), and Ward 9 & 10 & 11 (Stoney Creek and Glanbrook), into single wards.
The 1 & 12 combination will create the first ward that crosses the former City-County line. The proposed 9 – 11 combination will create the first single ward represented by two trustees; allowing voters to make two choices.In the former City of Hamilton both the Council and School Board were elected on a two-reps per ward basis. This offered resulted in candidates in their teens or twenties being elected as a “second choice” candidate.
Not everyone is in favour of the proposed changes, Michael Borrelli – an active downtown resident and executive member of the Beasley Neighbourhood Association – writes against the proposed changes in a piece published on Raise the Hammer.
The comments below his article reveal a cynicism regarding incumbents setting the boundaries for their future election campaigns. This points to a possible need for an independent method for setting ward boundaries in Hamilton.