Coming Up With New Ward Boundaries May Have Been The Best Thing For Valley East and Capreol In Next Election

Robert Kirwan
Valley East Today

Dividing Up Existing Ward Boundaries Will Be A Good Thing For Valley East And Capreol

In June, 2005 the Greater Sudbury City Council voted in favour of changing the municipal ward boundary system. As a result, the city will be divided up into twelve (12) wards for the municipal election which will be held on November 13, 2006. 

While the decision was met with some opposition from several groups of citizens, it was apparent from the attendance at the public consultation meetings held throughout the region that the “vast” majority of ratepayers really don’t see anything wrong with dividing each of the existing six wards in half if councilors feel it will help them carry out their duties and responsibilities. 

Keir Kitchen is shown in the photo in front of the new boundary structure which was adopted by council. Keir, a well known resident of Capreol, and Roger Trottier, a former member of the Valley East City Council, were members of a committee which was formed in the spring of 2002 to address this issue. It was presented to City Council in May of 2002 and subsequently adopted three years later in June 2005.

“One of the issues we had to be concerned with was that our recommendations could not radically change the basic policy of representation by population,” Kitchen explained. “The Ontario Municipal Board would have difficulty accepting a proposal which would have some wards more heavily populated than others. So our main task was to find where we could divide existing wards without having to change many of the original boundary lines, and we had to do this in a way that would recognize that some areas of the city are growing in numbers while others are declining.”

In fact, Susan Rogers, a representative of the Ontario Municipal Board, was in Sudbury on October 4, 2005 to conduct a hearing to deal with an appeal launched by “The Silver Seven”, a Municipal Watchdog Group made up of seven senior citizens who opposed the decision by Council. Ms. Rogers forced the group to withdraw their appeal when it became apparent that they had no grounds.

Under the new system, the Valley East communities of Val Caron, Blezard Valley and McRea Heights will be joined with Cambrian Heights to form Ward 5. 

Val Therese and Hanmer will form Ward 6. 

Capreol will be combined with Skead, Garson and Falconbridge to form Ward 7.

Since each ward will be able to vote for one councilor, it is most likely that we will end up with three (3) councilors from Valley East and Capreol at city hall after the 2006 election. 

As a result, it is possible that this “distinct political group” which will consist of 25% of the total number of councilors, should be able to speak with a much louder voice for our part of the city. 

If we also put forward a strong candidate for mayor, we may even have a 4th vote at the table.

The Greater Sudbury Municipal Watch group was one of the strongest supporters for the amalgamation of the region into the City of Greater Sudbury . Most residents of Valley East and Capreol have extremely strong views about the negative impact the amalgamation has had on our communities. The changes approved by City Council to return to a system where each Councilor will be responsible for one single ward is considered by most observers to be a move in the right direction to correct some of the communication challenges we have been faced under amalgamation.

Councillors Dupuis and Rivest Are Both In Favour Of Dividing Existing Wards

  Councillor Ron Dupuis, shown in the photo, made it very clear that the existing Ward boundaries were creating a lot of unnecessary work and duplication for both he and fellow Ward 3 councillor, Andre Rivest. 

During a public consultation meeting held at the Valley East Library in June, Dupuis explained that under the new structure he will be able to meet with concerned citizens more often and faster. 

Rivest, shown below, indicated that some ratepayers have been calling both councilors with their concerns, which means that before any action can be taken it is usually necessary to check with the other councilor first to see if the matter has already been addressed. 

The meeting in Valley East was attended by less than 20 people from Ward 3. Those present expressed a variety of concerns. A few people wanted more public consultation, but the fact that the report was on the table since May of 2002 and judging from the small crowd on hand, it was obvious that it was time for council to make a decision.

Regardless of where the political boundaries are drawn for the selection of city councilors, all ratepayers will still get to vote for the mayor of the city. 

And, as some of those at the meeting stated, we will always be Valley East and we will always be Capreol -if not politically, at least in spirit.




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