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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Sunday, October 2, 2022
Letter: A ward system is an absurd proposal for NOTL
Letter.
Letter.

Dear editor:

I am writing regarding Samuel Young’s Aug. 25 letter promoting a ward system for Niagara-on-the-Lake, “Yes, NOTL really needs to adopt a ward system.”

This letter absolutely begs an immediate and robust reply.  In no way would a ward system be beneficial to NOTL. Period.

Mr. Young suggests this become a “priority question at all-candidates meetings” but frankly I find that an absurd proposal.

Here are the simple reasons why.

  1. Implementing a ward system would lay an additional bureaucratic level of cost and administration on town staff, employees who already have a full plate of issues and tracking every day.
  2.  Our unique population distribution makes a ward system unworkable. For instance, Queenston and St. Davids have small populations compared to Old Town, Virgil and Glendale. It would simply be inequitable and impractical to draw an artificial “political line” between our towns.
  3. If Queenston or St. Davids residents have a particular issue needing addressing, as Mr. Young suggests, the present at-large system permits a candidate from those areas to put their name forward for council election.
  4. Most people are never in favour of any type of quota system as these seldom benefit the very people they purport to help.

But here is the biggie: Niagara Falls was governed by a ward system from 1970 to 2000.  But after complaints of inequity within the system – candidates needing far fewer votes to get elected in one ward versus another – and parochialism creeping into local politics, the council of the day decided to adopt the at-large model in 2002.

Why would NOTL have a different experience?

No, any further talk of a ward system needs to be relegated to the wastebasket.

NOTL has a strong slate of candidates for council – many with leadership skills and successful business experience.

John Buchanan
NOTL