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Electoral Ward Review
The County of Stettler No. 6 is currently divided into seven wards with seven elected officials, one official from each ward, representing each ward. Good governance calls for equal opportunity for representation across our county. Wards are divided by population. Upon review over the past two years, increased population in the County region surrounding the Town (Stettler Ward), and the addition of Botha and Gadsby to the County of Stettler population (both villages have now been added to the Botha-Gadsby Ward), has led to a natural unbalancing of population in some of our seven wards within our boundaries.
In response, earlier this year we began a thorough review of current ward populations and ward boundaries within our borders.
Currently we have seven wards in the County of Stettler, and as it sits today, the Botha/Gadsby Ward has 35% more than the median population of each ward, and Byemoor/Endiang has 35% less than the median population of the wards. The goal, to offer all equal representation in their wards, is to equalize the population of each ward. To do so, the boundaries of our wards must be adjusted. We will be looking for your feedback on proposed adjustments.
Further to this review, we will be seeking feedback on whether you would prefer your Chief Elected Official (Reeve/Mayor) to be 'appointed by Council' (our current practice) or 'elected by residents' of the whole municipality. Currently, our Reeve is appointed by fellow Council members annually, at an organizational meeting held in October of each year. The other option, adopted by some municipalities, sees a Mayor elected by the voters.
- County Council currently consists of seven (7) Councillors in seven (7) Wards
- One Councillor is elected from each of the seven (7) Wards
- Councillors must be nominated by the Ward in which they reside
- All Councillors are Councillors for the Ward in which they were nominated
- All Councillors must be elected and nominated in accordance with the Local Authorities Election Act
If we were to change our bylaw, to have a Mayor Elected at Large (elected by the public) then instead of 7 wards, we would adjust to 6 wards plus a Mayor.
There are pros and cons to be considered for both sides of this decision:
- Deleting a Ward (from 7 down to 6) could mean less representation for your area, as each ward gets a little bigger and your elected official would have a bigger area/larger population to manage. A Mayor elected by the public, will mean one ward will end up with a Councillor representing that ward, plus have the Mayor reside in that same ward.
- Some would say a ward with both an elected Councillor and an elected Chief (Mayor) would have better or more representation than the other 5 remaining wards.
- With the public electing a Mayor, a single person is elected for a four year term, to represent the entire municipality.
- With a ‘Council appointed’ Reeve, the term lasts only one year, so a potential for 4 different Reeves over the 4 year term.
The terms Mayor and Reeve are actually inter-changable. For the purposes of this explanation we have referred to a ‘Chief Elected Official elected by the public' as a Mayor, and a ‘Council appointed Chief Elected Official’ as a Reeve, but actually, the title of Reeve or Mayor could apply to either position.
Please review the following three maps. One outlines our current ward boundaries which need to adjust to balance population. The next map shows what the adjustment of the current seven ward boundaries would look like, if we continued the practice of a ‘Council appointed Reeve’. The third map outlines what a six Ward County of Stettler would look like, if we moved to a ‘public-elected Reeve/Mayor’.
Current Ward Boundaries
Proposed Option 1: Balanced 7 Wards and Appointed Reeve
Option 2: Balanced 6 Wards and a Mayor Elected by the public
After you have studied the materials, we are asking for your feedback through our WARD BOUNDARY SURVEY which you will find on our website at www.stettlercounty.ca. We require your feedback be provided by filling out our survey online, prior to October 19, 2020. If you are unable to fill out a survey online, you may request a survey from our offices at 403-742-4441, and return it to us by October 12.