Municipality of Sioux Lookout conducts ward boundary review
Tim Brody - Editor
A report is expected to be brought to Sioux Lookout Municipal Council, at the latest in October, regarding a ward boundary review the Municipality of Sioux Lookout has asked for the public’s input on.
Brian P. MacKinnon, Manager of Corporate Services/ Municipal Clerk, said the three question survey was sent to every household in the Municipality, adding most people would have received the survey on or before August 27 in their mailboxes.
People could complete the survey online, mail it back to the Municipality, or drop off their completed survey at the Municipal Office.
The deadline to provide input through the survey was September 7.
People were asked how many councillors, not including the mayor, should sit on council? How many wards should the Municipality of Sioux Lookout have for election purposes? People were also asked if they had any other comments or questions regarding the Sioux Lookout Municipal Council composition and/or the ward system?
The 2021 Ward Boundary Review document explains, “The Council of The Corporation of the Municipality of Sioux Lookout has directed the Municipal Clerk to undertake a Ward Boundary Review ahead of the 2022 Municipal General Election. The purpose of this review is to obtain input on whether or not the citizens of the Municipality wish to retain the Hudson Ward (Ward 1).”
The document goes on to inform, “Following Commissioner Grey’s Restructuring Order in 1999, the former Town of Sioux Lookout was expanded to include areas East (to Alcona), West (to, and slightly beyond, Hudson) and South (to approximately Ojibway Provincial Park). The enlarged Municipality was structured as follows:
• Two Ward Councillors (Sioux Lookout, which covered the former Drayton and Jordan settlement areas; and Hudson (which covered the former Hudson settlement area), with residents of each Ward being able to elect one councillor for their respective Ward,
• Four Councillors-At-Large – the rest of the geographic area of the Municipality; with the remaining of the residents electing six Councillors at Large and one Mayor. That meant each voter would cast one vote for a Ward Councillor, one Vote for Mayor, and five votes for Councillors-at-Large.
“Prior to the 2014 Municipal Election, Council decided to eliminate the Sioux Lookout Ward (Ward 2), and retain the Hudson Ward (Ward 1). This restructuring left one Ward Councillor (Hudson Ward/Ward 1), five Councillors-at-Large, and one mayor.
“It has been over 20 years since Annexation, and Council is once again reviewing its electoral boundaries.”
Regarding the question about the composition of council, MacKinnon informed, “Upon reviewing similar processes undertaken by other Ontario municipalities, it was discovered that also asking about Council composition would be useful and appropriate, and as such, staff determined that this question would be included in the survey.”
MacKinnon said the Municipality felt two weeks was an adequate timeframe to collect this information due to the straightforward nature of the feedback and the small number of questions, as well as the fact that the surveys were mailed to every household, making them easily accessible, as well as the fact they could be completed online.
MacKinnon shared that the vast majority of the approximate 140 surveys completed to date (August 31st), have been completed online.
MacKinnon said it is unlikely the timeline to participate in the survey will be extended.
“It is important to note that seeking this public input is one tool that will help inform Council’s decision. It is equally important to remember that the results of this survey are not binding. Council composition, including whether or not Wards are to be used, and to what extent, is a Council decision,” MacKinnon concluded.