A Prince Edward County resident is accusing council of violating democratic rights in his appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board.
Quinte News has learned Pierre Klein has launched an appeal against council’s resolution to redefine ward boundaries to the independent tribunal that conducts hearings and makes decisions on matters that have been appealed to the OMB.
On January 27, 2016, council enacted a By-Law that would see the horseshoe cut from 16 members to 14 and the reduction of 10 wards to nine, merging Bloomfield with Hallowell.
County clerk Kim White confirmed Klein filed an appeal on March 4 pursuant to Section 222 (4) of the Municipal Act that gives 45 days after a By-Law is passed to petition a decision.
Klein is appealing on the grounds that the decision is in contravention of the Canadian Rights and Freedoms “as expected in a free and democratic society.” The appeal also states the process and basis in which County council made the decision was defective.
In October 2015, Klein addressed the County’s committee of the whole presenting his own plan downsizing from 15 to 10 councillors plus a mayor and keeping the current 10 wards boundaries intact.
He told the committee how in his opinion the other plans violate the Supreme Court relating to the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission in how electoral boundaries are created in regards to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
At that time, Klein said if taken to the OMB, three of the four plans council was considering violate the charter of rights and freedoms plus the other one does not pertain to communities of interest.
Today, White explained while the council size decision cannot be appealed it will not take effect if the boundary changes are taken to task as they hinge on one another.
Residents still have until March 11 to file an appeal.
White said she then has 15 days to forward notices to the OMB with all of the necessary information relating to that, including council minutes, reports, resolutions and maps.
She said she is in the process of compiling everything through the OMB and they will put the wheels in motion.