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Ward boundary changes appealed by community groups

Appeal means voting map could remain the same for 2022 election

(from CBC files)

Two local community associations are appealing Ottawa city council's decision on how to redraw the city's ward boundaries, which means the voting map for the 2022 municipal election could remain the same. Late last year, council approved the new voting map, adding one new ward for a total of 24 — 12 urban, nine suburban and three rural. At the time, councillors approved many changes to the boundaries that had been determined by the city's independent consultants.

Now, according to a memo sent by city clerk Rick O'Connor to members of council on Tuesday afternoon, two community associations are appealing the changes to the provincial Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). The move is not unexpected, as O'Connor had told councillors last December that boundary reviews are usually appealed. At the time, Mayor Jim Watson said he believed the changes were defensible.

The LPAT appeal is expected to be heard before the end of the summer, and that outcome can be appealed to provincial court.

The city needs a final decision by Jan. 1, 2022 if the new voting map is to be used in the next municipal election set for October 2022.

Changes walked on to boundary discussion

The Overbrook Community Association launched an appeal by the finance and economic development committee to move the dividing line between Rideau-Rockcliffe and Vanier wards from McArthur Road south to Donald Street.

According to O'Connor's memo, the association is appealing, in part, because it holds that the city "failed to provide a meaningful opportunity for public input on the design of the ward boundary and the ability to comment on various ward options."

The Old Ottawa East Community Association is appealing the ward boundary bylaw for, among other reasons, moving the University of Ottawa's Lees campus from Capital ward to Vanier. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The community association representing Old Ottawa East is appealing the decision to transfer the University of Ottawa Lees Campus, by the uOttawa LRT station, from Capital ward to Vanier. They too charge that change in the boundary came up late in the public consultation process, leaving little time for community input.

The community association president Bob Gordon wrote to the mayor in January asking that the change be reversed before the council decision was declared an official bylaw later that month.

Dance, whose letter is posted on the community association's website, argues that moving the campus to the more populous and faster-growing Vanier ward "will be detrimental to voter parity," parity being one of the fundamental goals of redrawing Ottawa's electoral map.

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