Ward boundary review moves forward, rural consult Sept. 22

OTTAWA – As the City of Ottawa continues forward with its review of ward boundaries, several milestones approach as we transition from summer to fall.

City clerk Rick O’Connor provided Ottawa council with an update last week (Aug. 7) “regarding the next steps in the Ottawa Ward Boundary Review 2020,” in the form of a memo.

Recently Mayor Jim Watson recommended the consultants working on the review provide a sixth option for citizens to provide feedback on.

“As members will recall, during consideration of the options report at the July 15, city council meeting, council requested that the ward boundary review consultant team develop a sixth ward boundary option,” O’Connor said.

That option was based on the following criteria:

  • Addressing, on a priority basis, the three wards projected to be significantly in excess of the average ward population and outside the acceptable population variance in 2026, namely Barrhaven, Cumberland and Gloucester-South Nepean;
  • Giving consideration to the 2002 Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) ruling and the 1991 Supreme Court of Canada ruling, which recognized and protected rural and other communities of interest with a view to minimizing, whenever possible, the impact of significant changes to established ward boundaries and communities of interest;
  • Addressing the impact of significant changes to established ward boundaries and communities of interest, particularly in the urban area as defined in the Options Report;
  • Giving consideration to ensuring that geographically proximate and similar communities of interest are located within the same ward; and
  • Giving consideration to the June 2019 Council direction seeking to maintain the current number of wards.

“I can advise that the consultant team is finalizing a supplementary report outlining a sixth option and it will be provided to council on Aug. 17, by way of a memorandum,” O’Connor said. “This additional option will be included in the upcoming Round Two consultation process, along with the five options contained in the options report.”

The second round of public consultations are expected to begin next week.

“The second round of public consultation will run from Aug. 19 to Sept. 25, and is aimed at receiving feedback from residents, key stakeholders and members of council on the six ward boundary options,” O’Connor said. “This round will result in a recommendations report, which will be considered by the Finance and Economic Development committee and city council in December 2020.”

The second round of consultation will include interviews with members of council. Individual meetings are being scheduled during August and September between each member of council and two members of the consultant team, Beate Bowron and Dr. Gary Davidson. A survey and maps for the six options will be provided to each member’s office in advance of the meetings.

In addition, an information package, including a community column, social media content and advertisements will be included with the above-noted Aug. 17, Option 6 memorandum.

“These products can be used by members to promote the consultation opportunities with your constituents, which begin on Aug. 19,” O’Connor said.

Virtual public consultation sessions have been scheduled in September and will enable residents to participate online or by phone through Zoom. Three of the sessions will invite comments from participants from all over the city, while another three sessions will focus on the urban, suburban and rural parts of the city.

Registration is required through ottawa.ca/wardboundary.

Once the public consultation period officially opens on Aug. 19. Registrants will receive an email with a Zoom passcode and login information.

City-wide public consultations will be held Thursday, Sept. 10, Saturday, Sept. 12 and Saturday Sept. 19. A special rural public consultation will be held Tuesday, Sept. 22 from 7 to p.m.

Three virtual stakeholder meetings have been scheduled during the second round of consultations.

“Stakeholders will be invited to participate in any one of the three sessions but may also attend any of the public consultation sessions,” O’Connor said. “Stakeholders include social, community and healthcare advisory and support groups, the Federation of Citizen’s Associations of Ottawa and community association representatives, business improvement areas, the four area school boards, post-secondary institutions and agricultural societies.”

In total, there are approximately 210 stakeholder groups that will be invited to participate in these meetings.

As part of the second round of public consultation, all six options will be available on the geoOttawa platform and through the ward boundary project webpage, which will allow users to view wards at the individual street level and layer each option over one another to view the boundary changes proposed in each option.

A guestbook option and survey will be available through the Engage Ottawa platform, linked from the project page, Ottawa.ca/wardboundary. Residents may also send comments to wardboundary@ottawa.ca or contact 613-580-3620 to request printed copies of the survey.