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Council and wards will stay as is

At a special council meeting Wednesday night, Prince Edward County Council voted 9-7 against making changes to the size of council and ward boundaries.

After years of discussion, consultation and a recommendation by a special citizens’ committee, the status quo of 15 councillors and one mayor, representing 10 electoral wards will remain.

“Size of council is an issue that has been plaguing Prince Edward County Council for years,” said mayor Peter Mertens. “While I was optimistic that this long-standing issue could be resolved under this term of council, I have tremendous respect for everyone who took the time to get involved and the process that was followed. It is a true representation of democracy in action.”

The decision comes after an extensive review of the size of council this past summer. A panel of 23 randomly selected residents, the Citizens’ Assembly, reviewed the size and composition of council and made a recommendation to reduce the number of councillors to ten, plus the mayor. The process that led to this recommendation was lead by Dr. Jonathan Rose from Queen’s University.

In addition to the Citizens’ Assembly recommendation, Council’s decision to maintain the status quo was informed by further community consultation, and the resulting impact that changing the size of council would have on electoral ward boundaries.

Presentations were also made by Gary Mooney, of Consecon and Dick Prinzen, of Bloomfield. Citizens’ Assembly members Bill McMahon and Kathy Vowinckel also stated they could not support fewer councillors if it meant changing the wards.

Vowinckel also presented the “County is Fine As It Is” petition with close to 900 signatures.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Jan says:

    For those who do not like size of council, you can always move to Hamilton or some other location where council is smaller! You might be much happier there.

  2. Doris Lane says:

    Not voting seems to be a problem in all elections.
    Maybe there should be a fine for the people who do not vote.
    There was something like a 35 percent of the people who voted in the last municipal election. so the present day councillors do not represent the majority of the people but a minority,
    If this type of situation is going to continue there is no use use of any of us voting.
    What would happen if there was an election and no one voted???

  3. Brian says:

    Dee, I as well as every taxpayer in Prince Edward County feels your pain and disgust. However, by not voting only allows for the same old boys/ladies crap to continue around the horse shoe. What everyone NEEDS to do is run don’t walk to the elections and get rid of what has been the financial ruins here in the County. Sometimes a clean slate, common sense, and a desire for complete change is the cure for all. We do have a voice and lets all remember who is sitting in those chairs now in order to not have a repeat.

  4. Olmanonthemtn says:

    I left this as a response to Jim McPherson’s open letter on County Live as to the death
    of Democracy re: the county & province and it seems worth repeating here.

    I fell your pain Jim, unfortunately it seems that the malady of democratic deficiency is a perennial problem, the assurance of responsible, effective democracy can never be taken for granted we need to unite and continue to question, expose, prompt, cajole when there is evidence of bad judgement and show our delight when sound reason and ethics are in evidence.
    Here is some humour from times past to lighten the load:
    ”Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.”
    Groucho Marx
    “It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.”

    H.L. Mencken

    “Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.”

    Will Rogers

    “Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.”
    Mark Twain

  5. Dee says:

    I cannot believe this ..25,000 gone for nil ..this is so unbelievable…I will not be voting again as it is so clear our wishes are not considered !!!

  6. John Legate says:

    Names County Live Names. Who are these councilors so we can start the anybody but … campaign now. I’m sure one is Terry Short he of the those that don’t vote are more important than those that do mentality. Who are his gang of councilors that think voters don’t matter?

  7. Doris Lane says:

    We used to have ratepayers associations for the county and individual townships.
    It would be a good idea to form these groups again. They can advise council.
    I know a lot of people did not show up at meetings councillors had about council size because people are sort of fed up with the way the County is run.
    At the last election a gentleman from Ameliasburgh,who was a Reeve of Ameiasburgh in the old days, ran for Mayor , if he had been elected he would have cleaned
    I have to comment that a good share of the pie that council has is divided up for various things that council has no control over and more than half the pie is prealocated. They just have to take more care of the piece that is left
    I do not know who thought it was a good idea to spend 25K on a consultant to look into council size. Did the Cao just approve it or did council vote.
    Council should realizr that the days of hiring consultants shouldbe over. Let them make their own decisions. In the Wellinton times there was a notation that one councillor thought it should have been a made in council decision

  8. Wolf Braun says:

    I agree with you completely Doris. 🙂

    I’m not convinced that even if we elect an entire new Council and Mayor that much will change UNLESS we the people demand that our elected officials stick to PURPOSE and PRINCIPLES. Only then are we assured of having good governance.

    Every candidate running for Mayor and Council must sign a statement of PURPOSE and PRINCIPLES created by people. Once elected, they must make sure that staff sign the same statement. Failure to do so must have consequences.

    Happy Thanksgiving Doris and others. 🙂

  9. Doris Lane says:

    No we do not have governments that serve our purpose.
    The federal, provincial and municipalities do not serve us. We all know that federal government is far from a democracy, the provincial goverment does not care about the people of Ontario. As for PEC we the citizens pay large amunts of money ro Shire hall so they can do pretty much what they want and mostly they have little concern for us or what we want

  10. Brian says:

    I am not really for or against the size of council but I did not want boundary changes. However the continuous bouncing back and forth by council on this issue only proves they are not able to make a decision. Especially when the question was presented on the last ballot (END OF STORY).1) I have to now wonder though if this does not possibly open the door for an OMB 2)If that question of council size is on the ballot does council not have to enforce it? 3) Is it not a legal document that could stand alone in the courts? 4) Are council members able to take a side on this issue to hand out petitions? I am only asking these questions in order to gain more information in all of this and would love to hear from everyone.

  11. Dave says:

    So nine self serving council members trying to protect their own little fife domes know better than the 80 % of the voters who bothered to vote and also know better than the Citizens Council which they payed for—Shame on you.
    I am getting rather tired of the Missionary Position towards the voting public that members of the council are taking.
    The “Good Ol Boys” have got to go

  12. Wolf Braun says:

    Oops ! Forgot to give credit where credit is due. Comes from an old and very successful basketball coach that I know. 🙂

  13. Wolf Braun says:

    Here’s another thought on efficiency as posted by Doris.

    It relates to leadership.

    “Teamwork : divides the effort, adds to the efficiency! subtracts the selfishness and multiplies the rewards!”

    Does this sound like most governments that we know today? Even POTUS isn’t following this recipe. 🙁

  14. Wolf Braun says:

    Judy Kennedy writes: “I agree with council’s decision.”

    Fair enough Judy.:-) Why?

    How does this decision, to not downsize council, impact the purpose of a municipal government? Is this decision in keeping why our municipal government exists? Is it the most efficient way to govern as Doris asks?

    I’m interested in your point of view with regards to why municipal government exists to serve all people.

  15. Wolf Braun says:

    I can’t disagree with what Doris writes. But I do have a question.

    Doris writes: “A company exists so that what they represent can run efficiently…PEC is a company that is on the verge of failure because the present directors and past directors have not done their jobs in the best interests of the company.”

    Again, efficiency is very important. BUT, what is it that they are running? Why do they exist? For what? What is their PURPOSE?

    For instance, my old employer is in the health care industry. They make all kinds of health care products. BUT, the reason they exist or their PURPOSE is “to keep people healthy”. It’s that simple. They exist to keep people healthy. And they do it efficiently. BUT, efficiency isn’t their purpose… that’s part of the process of governance.

    Isn’t the PURPOSE of government at all levels “to protect and enhance the lives of all people”? Haven’t the Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments lost sight of that? Aren’t they serving special interest groups, their own political ideologies, corporations at the expense of ALL peoples?

    That’s my question. Do we still have governments that serve OUR purpose? Remember, democracy isn’t government. Democracy is the people. It’s up to all people to direct elected officials and bureaucrats to serve our purpose. Yup! And do it efficiently.

    Comments any one?

  16. Doris Lane says:

    PEC is a company
    A company exists so that what they represent can run efficentally

    The councillors are the board of directors
    The staff is like any staff anywhere they are there to do a specific job.

    The citiaens are the company they run
    If the board and the staff do not do their job the company will fail

    PEC is a company tthat is on the verge of failure because the present directors and past directors have not done their jobs in the best interests of the company.

    When directors are concerned more with their personal gain
    than the good of the company then it fails

  17. judy kennedy says:

    I agree with council’s decision.

  18. Wolf Braun says:

    The bigger question to ask here is… “what is the PURPOSE of a municipal government?” Meaning, why does it exist? Secondly, one needs to ask what PRINCIPLES do our elected officials and bureaucrats employ when making tough decisions like downsizing council or for that matter any big decisions that impact the residents/citizens of a municipality?

    Can anyone posting here define the PURPOSE ((why municipal) government exists? Can anyone share what PRINCIPLES our Mayor, Councillors and the Chief bureaucrats follow when making decisions on our behalf?

  19. Loretta Salet says:

    I am shocked and dismayed that once again council has turned a blind eye to the wants and needs of the County residents. We had a question on the last ballot for the very reason that we needed to know if the population supported downsizing. Was that not partially the reason the previous case to the OMB was dismissed, because there were no hard facts showing that this is what the people wanted?

    So the results of the question on the election ballot failed to reach that magic number that would bind council to actually downsizing, by only a very small percentage. It still showed that there was overwhelming support, yet many council members brushed it aside, as if it were completely invalid. I am wondering if there would have been any plan put forward to this council that they would approve.

    I believe there are at least one or two other reports, whether by staff or hired consultants, gathering dust in the archives at Shire Hall where it seems this Citizens’ Assembly report will also end up alongside them.

    Could not council have voted on the issue in two parts? One to accept the recommendations to change council size to 10, yes or no.

    Then would come the hard part of deciding how to change or not change the historic ward boundaries. There was the NEW plan by Gary. As Doris said, just have one councillor for each current ward. Also having 10 councillors voted at large by everyone is another option. Then there was the Mayor’s plan. I am not promoting any particular plan just saying that there are so many options and trying to find a way to fairly represent the population distribution and keep the historical wards is not an easy task. The implementation of the new council size would then be dependant on this and could be slated for the elections in 2018? giving lots of time to do it right and not rush it. Those voted into office in 2014 would be doing so with the mandate that they would be responsible for setting the new electoral wards.

    Historical boundaries are not going to disappear from our memories overnight. In Toronto, where I grew up they still talk of Swansea, Baby Point, Agincourt, Rexdale, Guildwood etc even though some of the communities ceased to exist 80 or 90 years ago. If the boundaries are not going to give us fair representation then they should be changed. Change is inevitable, change comes with progress whether we want it or not.

  20. Doris Lane says:

    Mi well written post
    It does not seem the council is concerned about anything but themselves
    This whole thing is a no brainer. Last election we voted for a change–that was the wish of those who voted. Sure a lot of people did not vote–guess they don’t care
    All we have to do is have I councillor from each ward.
    Councillors deal with the whole county so it does not matter where they come from, they still vote on everything.
    If we do not stop fooling around someone will come along and amalgamate Prince edward Hasting and then we will have 2 reps fromthe County and that would do away with Shire hall and all that wasted money–we would not have to have two sets of administration.

  21. Marie says:

    I’d just like to add that while at the time, I voted “for a review” the last municipal election…that in the months (years?) that followed, I have since learned that I may have been wrong…The point is that depending on what information you have, or who you talk to, change can be a good or bad thing…
    Regardless of the outcome of this, I would like to see questions like this on election ballots continue.

  22. MI says:

    UNBELIEVABLE! How many times has council spent so much time, money, and resources on something, and end up doing nothing? Would council do the municipality a favor? Vote on something before you waste everyone’s time and our tax dollars! Clearly, whatever agendas some of you have, they are contrary to municipal staff (who may have their own), or truly not interested in the wishes of the majority of taxpayers.
    Please, would some new blood step up for the next election? This can’t go on.
    Just an average citizen voicing my opinion.

  23. Gary Mooney says:

    Council put in place three processes to obtain public input. First, the Citizens’ Assembly, which was at least an organized way to obtain informed public input from what amounted to a focus group. (But its report was effectively neutralized by a couple of the CA members, who, following the release of the report, actively campaigned for the status quo.)

    Secondly, town hall meetings which, unfortunately, were not well enough publicized. And finally, a special public input meeting of Council, also not well enough publicized.

    The main problem with the process was that the last two elements of public input were rushed. After remaining at an impasse for almost three years, there was not sufficient time left for the public input process. This was one reason for Councillors to vote against the Mayor’s proposal.

    Almost everyone who spoke at the public Council meeting was concerned that the Mayor’s plan would lead to a loss of historical connections by having Electoral Ward boundaries that do not match Historic Ward boundaries. This was the #1 reason for Councillors sticking with the status quo.

    At the special Council public meeting, almost all who spoke were in favour of the status quo. Those in favour of downsizing (including those now complaining on County Live, were conspicuous by their absence). This was a significant factor in the Mayor’s plan being voted down.

    The Council vote was 7 in favour, 9 opposed. If the pro-downsizing folks had made an effort to promote their cause, including making deputations to Council, it’s possible that two votes would have gone the other way, and downsizing would have been approved.

    In July, I put forward a proposal to Council (the N.E.W. Plan) that would have allowed downsizing while protecting the Historic Ward structure and fixing the rep. by pop. problem, but Council didn’t give it sufficient attention. It was a plan that gave something to both factions on Council, but each side stuck to its preferred result and settled for a win / lose scenario.

    While I would have preferred Council to adopt the N.E.W. Plan, I’m satisfied that retaining the status quo was a better choice than downsizing according to the Mayor’s plan, because the County’s history and heritage will be preserved.

  24. Argyle says:

    Now we know the 10 who do not deserve to be re-elected.Let’s show them real democracy in action.A self serving dysfunctional council.

  25. Doug says:

    $24,000.wasted here,$20,000.for the bird and turtle people,thats $44,000.that could of and should of went towards something we all want back-our hospital!

  26. Brian says:

    Council should all dip into THEIR own pocket and put that money back that was spent on a consultation. Taxpayers shouldn’t have to continuously pay for services that are not needed. SHAMEFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Doris Lane says:

    Chris I am shocked

  28. Corey says:

    Councillors Lunn, Marisett, Nowitski, O’Brien, Proctor, Quaiff, Shortt, Forrester, and Maynard voted to keep the current council size and ward system.

  29. Chris Keen says:

    Doris: Lunn, Marisett, Nowitski, O’Brien, Proctor, Quaiff, Shortt, Forrester, Marisett and Maynard voted to keep the current council size and ward system.

  30. Doris Lane says:

    OK I would like to see the recorded vote of this situation.
    Council has wasted something like $24,000 and no change.
    Hopefully the councillors that voted against change will not be re-elected next election
    We did not need to change the wards we only have to elect one person from each ward.
    Watch out now the government will step in and dictate to us about the size of council. Would it not have been better for council tohave settled this matter for themselves.
    all this council has done is make stupid mistakes with every aspect of the counties business.

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