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Ward review set for second round of consultations

Robert Williams, the city’s appointed expert for its ward review, addresses attendees in late 2016 at the first of several public consultation sessions for the upcoming changes to how Oshawa residents will be represented at city hall. A second round of consultations has been scheduled for this month.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

Those waiting to see potential configurations of Oshawa’s next ward system may not have long to wait, as the second round of public consultations in the process are set to get underway later this month.

Following an initial round of meetings to guage feedback on the review’s priorities, Watson and Associates, along with lead consultant Robert Williams, are set to showcase preliminary options for what Oshawa’s ward system may look like.

The first meeting is scheduled for April 19 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the Leisure Room at the Legends Centre. Following that, meetings will be held during the same time frame in meeting rooms 1 and 2 at the South Oshawa Community Centre on April 25 and the Bobby Orr room at the Civic Recreation Complex on April 27.

Along with presenting of possible ward configurations, the meetings will also include facilitated discussions for a chance to allow residents to provide feedback, as well as a review of the findings from the first round of consultations.

The first bout of consultations also included a trio of open houses and a batch of online surveys. According to a news release from the city, 53 people attended one of the public open houses and 36 people completed the online survey.

Originally slated to end in 2016, the first round of consultations was extended by nearly a month when bad weather forced the third and final meeting to be moved from Dec. 15 to Jan. 12. The city also left its online survey open until Jan. 20.

In order for the ward system to be in place for the 2018 election, it must be approved by council by the end of 2017.

Council approved the switch back to the ward system in 2015 in response to a ballot question during the 2014 municipal election, which saw support for steering away from the current at-large system.

Individuals wishing to attend the ward review sessions are asked to RSVP to the city by calling (905) 436-3311 ext. 5639 or 2226, or by emailing wardboundaryreview@oshawa.ca.