The Prince Edward County resident who is appealing council’s decision to redefine ward boundaries to the Ontario Municipal Board is proposing a remedy that he says if adopted could change council size too.
As Quinte News reported Tuesday, Pierre Klein filed his appeal on March 4 accusing council of violating Charter Rights in their decision to reduce to nine wards from 10. The By-Law also states the horseshoe will downsized from a total of 16 members to 13 councillors plus a mayor at large.
While council size cannot be appealed, the former Peel Region councillor said his request to have the OMB create “proper” ward boundaries could force change.
When council approved the plan in November 2015, mayor Robert Quaiff said the decision would likely go before the OMB. He said he was 100 per cent certain the County will go through a lengthy and costly process of trying to challenge a plan that doesn’t meet the criteria set out by staff reports and plans.
At that time Klein stated three of the four plans violate the charter of rights and freedoms adding the other one did not pertain to communities of interest.
This isn’t the first time this issue has been before the OMB.
In 2008, an OMB hearing forced the 2010 ballot question, “Are you in favour of council commencing a public consultation process to review the size of council?” Since less than 50 percent of eligible voters actually came out to the polls, the referendum result was not binding on council. However the former term of council felt there was enough interest as 80 percent of those who did vote said “yes”, sparking the Citizen’s Assembly in 2013. Council chose not to go with the 10 councillor recommendation as it would ultimately lead to ward changes.
Klein said the hearing will be a costly endeavor for both the County and himself. He said he has started to receive donations for legal fees from fellow residents.
Klein created a Facebook Page called Fix PEC Council to provide more information and engage the community.
The appeal deadline closes March 11.