The Mayor of Ritchot says council would like to continue with a four ward system for the municipality. Chris Ewen says ward boundary review was one of the topics discussed at community consultation meetings in Ste.Agathe, St.Adolphe, Ile des Chenes and Howden.
The municipality has considered three options. The first option would see Ritchot continue to use a four ward system. A second option would see a two ward system, where the municipality would be split into a north ward and south ward. One final option would have wards wiped out altogether and instead, there would be an at-large system.
"The feeling that we received through people showing up and talking about it all the way to emails was it's very split," notes Ewen.
He says some interesting points have been raised about using a two ward or even an at-large system. But Ewen says council is leaning towards keeping things status quo. Even if the number of wards doesn't change, Ewen says they will still have to realign ward boundaries somewhat in order to have as close to equal population per ward as possible.
Ritchot's ward boundaries have not changed since 1998. Current ward populations are quite uneven due to significant increases in development over the past several years.
Ewen says in order to have any changes in place before the next election, they need to have this document approved for May 2018. He notes Ritchot will hopefully be holding a public hearing on the matter this month.
Meanwhile, Ewen says at their community consultation meetings they also discussed main street revitalization and policing services. Ewen says there was limited discussion on the topic of main street revitalization because they are still in the planning phase. And as for police service, he says residents shared concerns over break-ins and a lack of RCMP presence.
According to Ewen, an average of 25 people attended each meeting. He says he would have liked to have seen a greater turnout but notes they got a lot of feedback.