Never mind the public hearings scheduled for February 17, 2008, the Edmonton Journal seems to have framed Edmonton City Council’s proposed Ward changes as a fait accompli.
Though I support changing Edmonton City Council representation from the current 6-Ward/2-Councillor system to a 12-Ward/1-Councillor system (for various reasons including size, population, etc), I also believe that public hearings are an important part of this decision-making process and should not be overlooked as a formality.
Also, this isn’t the first time that the Ward debate has come up…
“The ward issue languished until shortly after the 1986 election, when two city council members, Ron Hayter and Jan Reimer, announced the ward system was totally inadequate and called for changes to be made. After Reimer moved that the wards be increased from six to twelve, with one member elected from each, council referred the proposal to a committee chaired by Hayter. Although he made a concerted effort to obtain support for ward reform, public response was unenthusiastic, and reform efforts collapsed when Mayor Decore, who had just been re-elected with one of the largest majorities in the city’s history, announced that he needed a lot of convincing that “we should shake up the system” and he had “difficulties” accepting the idea of single-member wards. In September 1987 council narrowly defeated a proposal calling for twelve wards with a single member elected from each. Alderman Lilian Staroszik explained that, in her opinion, Edmonton already had “probably the best possible representation.”*
*Masson, Jack; Edward C. LeSage Jr. (1994). Alberta’s Local Governments:Politics and Democracy. University of Alberta Press, pp. 297