On November 22nd, after considerable debate, Rocky View Council voted to defer revising the electoral boundaries until after the next municipal election in October, 2017. Rocky View staff started a review over the summer, after Council approved terms of reference in June 2016. Staff brought back their recommendations in October, at which point Council sent the issue back for further revision.
Staff provided three recommendations: two seven division options and one nine division option. All options focused exclusively on minimizing population deviations between divisions at the expense of maintaining communities.
There were many significant flaws in the work on this issue. As well, there were strong reasons why now was not the right time to revise the divisional boundaries.
Rocky View Forward encouraged residents to contact Councillors to express their concerns. We also spoke at the November 22nd Council meeting. As a result, the issue will be more thoroughly reviewed in the next two years and will include public engagement opportunities.
The combined force of a flood of disgruntled emails and our presentations at Council caused most on Council to rethink the wisdom of rushing through a decision of this magnitude. The outcome is a strong illustration of the power of resident advocacy.
The divisional boundaries have only had minor tinkering since their last major overhaul in 2000. While there is no dispute a review is necessary, it must involve public consultation. At this time, it would have been impossible for Administration to receive such input in time for the 2017 election.
Rocky View Forward