A new report on options for changing Toronto’s ward boundaries is recommending council choose an option that keeps the Beach neighbourhood intact.
The Toronto Ward Boundary Review supplementary report will be tabled at next week’s executive committee meeting October 26. It contains feedback from public consultations held this summer in person and through an online survey, in which residents were asked to consider several new options for Toronto’s ward structure. One of those options essentially splits the historic Beach neighbourhood in half, distributing Ward 32 to two larger wards to the east and west.
But the report released this week does not recommend council choose that option. Its recommendation – compiled by independent consultants and guided by committee direction – is similar to the option recommended in the main report released in May, an increase in the number of wards (and councillors) from 44 to 47. This option would see Ward 32 change slightly, with the removal of several blocks in the northwest corner of the ward.
Toronto has been in the midst of a ward boundary review since 2013 and is nearing the final step with council scheduled to consider the review in early November after delaying it in May. The aim is to change the size and shape of Toronto’s wards by the next election in 2018 to allow for more effective representation – currently, the population between wards varies widely, meaning one person’s vote doesn’t have the same weight as another.
In May, after the main report was introduced, the executive committee asked the consulting team to go back and consider other options and refine some of the options presented. The team held four public meetings in August and September considering the new options. Ninety people attended the public meetings, with 485 responses received electronically, according to the supplementary report.
But it’s not a given that city council will follow the recommended option of this report – Mayor John Tory has said he is against adding more “politicians”, preferring to add more staff instead.