Council votes to increase number of wards to 47

Toronto city council voted today to increase its number of wards and councillors by three — putting to rest fears by some that the Beaches-East York ward would be split in half.

The 28 to 13 vote to increase the number of wards to 47 from 44 was in line with the recommendation by a team of consultants tasked with reviewing Toronto’s ward boundaries to achieve more effective representation — some wards have a population of 30 to 45 per cent more than the average, meaning some people’s votes hold more weight than others.

Ward 32 councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon voted in favour of the 47 ward option, reiterating comments she made at the October 26 executive committee meeting where she apologized on behalf of some residents who made “disparaging remarks about Scarborough” and was in favour of keeping neighbourhoods together.

She noted that the 47 ward option sees Ward 32 lose Little India. The area north of Queen and east of Coxwell would become part of another ward.

“Unfortunately, with the 47 ward option we will lose Little India, which is a fantastic pocket … it’s quite diverse and eclectic and interesting, and I am upset about losing it. But (the 47 ward option) has the least impact on our ward,” she said.

Speaking to councillors who were advocating for fewer wards and councillors — some spoke in favour of reducing the amount of wards to 26 — McMahon said, “I would challenge you to come down to a busier ward.”

“I will tell you there are wards that are a heck of a lot busier than other wards, so come and check out a busy ward before you think you can deal with double the population,” she said.

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