Township approves new ward system with single change

Centre Well­ing­ton Township council quietly changed its ward system on Monday night in the hope that the change will head off a fight at the OMB.
The Ontario Municiapl Board hearing was triggered by Fergus resident Keith Fair­field, who has complained about the inequities in popula­tion in the system almost since Centre Well­ington was amalga­mated.
The new system will bring all six wards closer in popu­lation, and also takes into ac­count growth for the next decade.
The OMB hearing is set for Oct. 16.
In the proposed new boun­daries:
– Ward 1, 3,948 population, north of the river, would be bounded by the river, Gerrie Road, the Woolwich Township boundary line and County Road 17;
– Ward 2, south of the river, population 1,719, would be bound by Woolwich town line, Sideroad 6 North (instead of County Road 7;
– Ward 3, north of the river, would shrink in area, with a population of 3,859, and the boundary would be County Road 17, Gerrie Road, the river, and Highway 6 except for a small potion near the river that would reach to Garafraxa Street and go north to Forfar Street;
– Ward 4, 3,801, would also shrink so its boundaries are Nichol Road 22, Sideroad 6 North, the river, and Jones Baseline and Scotland Street;
– Ward 5, north of the river would have 4,126 people, and have Highway 6 as its western boundary, the river, East and West Garafraxa Townline, and Sideroad 26 of West Garafraxa as its boundaries; and
Ward 6, with 2,602 people, and boundaries that including the River, East and West Gara­fraxa Townline, a portion of the Erin and Eramosa Townline, County Road 22, and Jones baseline and Scotland Street.
The proposed system had one small change Monday night, in ward 2, from when it was dis­cussed at the August council meeting. A small corner at the northwest side of ward 4, close to the Grand River and the ward 2 boundary, was in­cluded in ward 2 because, as Clerk Marion Morris said on Monday night, it was requested by the residents there who feel their community of interest is Elora rather than Fergus.
Fairfield has proposed his own ward system, but the OMB has the option of making any final decision.
Fairfield’s proposal is four wards, designated with letters:
– Ward A, the present ward 1 and the urban part of ward 2, with 6,400 voters and a devi­ation of plus-3%;
– Ward B, the present ward 3, minus 500 voters east of Highway 6, 6,600 voters and devi­ation of plus-6%;
– Ward C the present ward 4 plus the rural part of ward 2, with 5,600 voters and a deviation of minus-10%; and
– Ward D the present wards 5 ad 6 plus 500 voters east of Highway 6, 6,000 voters, and a deviation of 3%.
Fergus resident Mike Wis­niewski made an alternate pro­posal on Monday night, calling for four wards of nearly 3,000 population each north of the river, and two in the south, with populations of 4,000 each.
He asked that his proposal be discussed that evening, but council, having been through hours of consideration, had little to say about either propo­sal, and approved the clerk’s recommendation unanimously.
Changes take effect in 2010.