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NEWS: Cressy to stand for re-election (Jan. 2018)

January 29th, 2018 · No Comments

Ward boundaries redrawn

By Geremy Bordonaro

Joe Cressy has confirmed that he will be standing for re-election at the next municipal election. He’s just not sure which ward he’ll be running in, now that the Ontario Municipal Board has approved Toronto City Council’s decision to increase the number of wards from 44 to 47.

This landmark decision will see one ward removed and three added in an attempt to create voter parity in the upcoming municipal election.

Local wards 19 and 20 (both Trinity-Spadina) have been significantly redefined. Ward 19 — represented by Mike Layton — will now absorb Seaton Village into its boundaries and Ward 20 — represented by Cressy — will be split.

The boundaries of the new Ward 20 will be Queen Street West to Harbourfront from Bathurst to John streets. The boundaries of new Ward 24 will be Queen Street West to Dupont Street from University Avenue to Bathurst Street.

A large factor in splitting up Ward 20 was giving residents of the ward a fair amount of voting power and the more undivided attention of the city councillor.

“Ward 20, as it exists today, has nearly 100,000 residents. Some other wards in the city have 30,000,” said Cressy. “What that means, practically, as the local councillor I’m not able to respond to my constituents’ concerns and requests as quickly as many of my colleagues simply due to the fact that it is three times larger than some wards.”

Cressy was happy with the review as the highly researched project of over four years stayed sensitive to the needs and issues of certain communities.

“There was an exceptionally robust process towards the development of these boundaries,” he said. “Consultants were hired, who I should note live in the Palmerston area of our community, and they did detailed research looking at population patterns and historical boundaries. They made proposals and consulted with the public.”

Ward 19 will expand to encompass the entirety of Bathurst Street along with Seaton Village. Layton said the ward review was necessary to prevent further disparities between the wards.

“A ward boundary review was the necessary thing to do. We had the obligation to review whether or not there was voter parity across the city. And there was not,” said Layton. “We had some wards with 140,000 people represented by [one vote on the council], and some wards with 40,000 people with one vote on the council.”

At its worst this disparity in population made a voter’s power in the largest areas a third of what the power of the votes from the smallest areas was. Though this issue was pressing there was still, however, a need to have some mindfulness about splitting neighbourhoods into different wards.

“It’s important for us to remember that change needed to happen. I was supportive of the ways the boundaries were redrawn because I thought, in particular in Ward 19, that it kept communities intact,” Layton said. “It didn’t split communities so that they would be dealing with two different councillors if they crossed the street.”

Although there is going to be little change for most communities the increased attention from a lower population area is a welcome change for community groups like the Annex Residents’ Association (ARA).

“I think it’s better. We certainly made the plea for it,” said David Harrison, ARA chair. “It’s basically a much more cohesive unit for the interests of the neighbourhoods. Whoever happens to be councillor at the time will be able to focus on our needs and on the needs of the people of the ward. The ward at the moment is just too big…. It’s just too much work.”

Cressy said he is planning to run in one of the wards created by the redrawn boundaries.

“I will be running for City Council in 2018. I will be running for re-election. I have not decided in which of my current areas I will be running,” said Cressy. “The ward south of Queen has many projects that I care deeply about that I’ve been working on for years. In the north there are also neighbourhoods that I love and adore. The Annex is where I was born, and raised, and live today. So I’m agonizing over that decision.”

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