Amherstburg Council to Debate Ballot Question on Ward System

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Amherstburg residents could have a chance to weigh in on a ward system for town council.

According to a report going before town council Tuesday, councillors are currently at large and service all of Amherstburg, but that might not be the preferred structure for some residents.

If the majority of council supports the move, residents will be asked if they are, "in favour of a
Ward System Election" at the ballot box in the 2022 Municipal Election.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo says the issue has come up several times since three townships were amalgamated into the Town of Amherstburg in 1998.

"Amherstburg, Anderdon and Malden ... After amalgamation some residents in the more rural areas feel that there is more candidates in the town proper area and they're not getting proper representation," he added.

The report lays out three ward and five ward options, but DiCarlo says the structure won't be seriously discussed unless more than 50 per cent of eligible voters approve the idea in the Municipal Election.

He says voters must be able to simply reply yes or no to the question for the province to add it to the ballot.

"It must be a very simple question, not options about different kinds of ward systems," he says. "Just the simple question, do you support a ward system or not?"

DiCarlo says the previous term of council explored the issue, but never followed through.

"This term of council has a little more interest in the topic, but instead of council making the decision, it was felt that it would be best made by the residents come election time," he says.

If council moves forward with the question, the report recommends public education sessions on the ward system leading up to the Municipal Election on Oct. 24, 2022.

Amherstburg Town Council gets underway Tuesday at 6 p.m.