Tecumseh Looking For Input To Rewrite Voting Borders

Consultant John Matheson was hired to help the Town of Tecumseh to review its ward boundaries and electoral system. Photo taken October 27, 2016. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Residents in Tecumseh are being tapped for their ideas in potentially redrawing the electoral map.

The town is undergoing a review that could potentially see the electoral system in Tecumseh changed — affecting everything from ward boundaries to the number of councillors.

John Matheson, consultant and partner with Strategy Corp, has chatted with some locals and says they’re not necessarily sensitive to change.

“There’s people who have got a lot of pride in the community and there are people who want a government that will work and I think more than sensitive, it’s more people saying, ‘Wow, there are a lot of different ways that we could do this,'” says Matheson. “The trick is to get the right one because there’s a lot of growth coming.”

The town expects its current Ward 3 — the area sandwiched between County Rd. 22 and County Rd. 42 — to grow by some 6,000 people by the 2031, while another 1,000 new residents are expected to fill out the rest of the town.

Matheson says the final recommendation to council could see one system preferred in the next couple of elections before being altered to better reflect growth in the town.

“There’s a lot of growth that’s expected, but that will depend on market conditions and staff can’t necessarily 100% predict precisely when that will happen, so there’s a lot of flexibility there,” says Matheson.

There are 11 different concepts Matheson brought forward to residents at public input sessions on Thursday he says will ultimately shape the recommendation to council.

“What we did get was some great ideas about ways to mix and match the options and that’s just what we were hoping for,” says Matheson. “If you like part of one and you want to mix it with the other, that’s exactly what you can tell us and we had some people that really helped with that.”

There’s a questionnaire on the town’s website allowing residents to give their input on the ward review.

Matheson says consultations started in the summer as he met with councillors and administration. A final report, including recommendations, is expected before council in December.