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“Primary goal is effective representation”

Regional composition on committee approves work plan; final report in February

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

The work plan was approved, but discussions around the table at the latest meeting of the regional council composition committee were clouded with the same issues that dogged their initial meeting.

The approved plan lays out the committee’s work to be done over the coming months, including two meeting of guest speakers and discussions slated to begin at the committee’s next meeting on Sept. 25 and another on Oct. 23.

The work plan continues into November, which will see a review of the progress made and an interim report prepared for council on Nov. 6.

Recommendations are set to be formalized on Dec. 18, finalized on Jan. 22 and the final report given to council in February.

The approved plan also includes an addition for the possibility of further meetings and will see meetings beginning at 9:30 a.m. instead of the previous 10 a.m.

With the plan’s approval, several councillors were still up in the air about which factors they should be considering as the most crucial when considering council’s future numbers.

“I hope we don’t get hung up too much on representation by population,” said Bill McLean, a regional councillor from Pickering, reiterating several comments made at the committee previous meeting.

Matthew Gaskell, the region’s commissioner of corporate services, stressed that the committee needed to take into consideration a variety of different factors.

“You have to factor them all in and consider them all at the same time,” he said.

“The primary goal is effective representation. not equal representation.”

However, Oshawa resident Greg Milosh, appearing before the committee as a delegate, advised the committee that population should be the sole determining factor to determine the number of councillors for a given area.

“You’re opening an almost limitless list of factors,” Milosh said of looking beyond population.

Milosh referred to the recent riding changes made at the federal level, which saw the addition of 30 new ridings across the country. The decision on boundaries was made solely based on population numbers.

The committee also couldn’t come to an agreement on the experts they would have provide input on the process.

The vote to have Dr. Robert Williams from the University of Waterloo appear before the committee and prepare a report for a $2,500 flat fee was split and the decision left to chair Tim McTiernan from UOIT, who ruled in favour of having Williams as a delegate at the committee’s next meeting later this month.