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Simcoe County committee opts for 21 councillors, five elected wards

Posted February 13, 2020

Simcoe County's governance committee will recommend the upper tier council composition be reduced from 32 to 21 by retaining the 16 mayors, supplemented by the direct election of five 'sub regional' councillors from five wards. The Warden and Deputy Warden would be elected by council from amongst the five.The committee, which includes New Tecumseth Deputy Mayor Richard Norcross, met this afternoon and considered four options, including the status quo. Two of the three were 21 councillors with the only difference being where Springwater would be attached to. And the third option included 23 councillors and seven wards.

The preferred option wards (map included below) would lump New Tecumseth, Adjala-Tosorontio and Essa; Bradford West Gwillimbury and Innisfil; Clearview, Wasaga Beach and Collingwood; Springwater, Tay, Tiny, Midland and Penetanguishene: and Oro-Medonte, Severn, and Ramara.

Deputy Mayor Richard Norcross told Free Press Online this afternoon his motion, supported by Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin, was rejected. It would have been a 23 member council, including the 16 mayors, but New Tecumseth, Innisfil, and Bradford West Gwillimbury - the top three contributors of taxes to the County - would each have their own elected member.

Changes to the Simcoe County system can not be approved until it meets the triple majority threshold including:
- A majority of all votes on the upper tier council are cast in favour of the new by-law;
- A majority of the councils of all lower tier municipalities forming part of the upper tier
municipality have passed resolutions consenting to the by-law;
- The total number of electors in the lower tier municipalities that have passed resolutions
form a majority of all the electors in the upper tier municipality.

The governance committee stucture recommendation follows on the heels of last month's regional government review task force which has commissioned a study that could regionalize water, wastewater, planning, and and fire, currently lower tier responsibilities. New Tecumseth council passed a resolution supporting the effort to find "efficiences" but opposes any takeover of water, wastewater and planning.

All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri