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Mayor Column March 2017

Council will be elected to guide the Town through the 2018 to 2022 period. This period will be one of change and growth. East Gwillimbury must have a Council in place that is able to make decisions, balancing the traditions of the Town with the growth we will be experiencing. As we look ahead to a new term, we must explore whether the current electoral system in East Gwillimbury is appropriate for the next and future terms of Council.

There is currently no legislation that requires a municipality to review its electoral system. However, as times change, it is prudent to evaluate the system to ensure residents’ needs are being met. As a result, in 2016, a full Electoral Review was conducted by external consultants who specialize in municipal government. The consultant team looked at the current EG electoral system from a theoretical perspective, interviewed key stakeholders, held four public open houses, and conducted an online survey. Their goal was to provide recommendations based on growth projections, the existing communities, the geographic boundaries and the local interests of the community.

Overall, the public response to the survey was low. As a Council, we found this particularly concerning given this decision will have significant impact. As a result, Council asked staff to report back with potential options and clearly outline the implications of the options. This report was brought to the Committee of the Whole Council on March 7, 2017 and included the following three options:

  1. Should EG remain elected at large or introduce wards?
  2. Should EG increase the number of Councillors elected?
  3. Should EG introduce a Deputy Mayor role?

A change to the electoral system is one that cannot be made by Council alone. This change will affect every single resident on voting day in 2018, during the following term of Council, and even in the years following.

Recognizing the importance of engaging all residents in this process, an additional public meeting will be held on April 19, 2017 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers for residents to come and learn more about the options and provide feedback. It is my hope that residents will look at the three options presented and use this meeting as an opportunity to engage Council and provide your feedback.

If you are unable to attend the meeting but would like to provide your feedback, you can visit where you will find the full consultant and staff reports as well as an online survey for residents to provide input. A summary of the survey results will be presented as part of the Public Meeting on April 19th.  

Remember, this is your opportunity to voice your opinion and let Council know what you would like to see for the 2018 municipal election in East Gwillimbury. The results of this public consultation will have significant long-term implications for the Town, and therefore, should be a decision made by all residents. Please mark April 19th at 7p.m. on your calendar!