Lantzville bylaw reduces council by two seats

NANAIMO – Referendum results show 58.8 per cent of voters favour reducing the size of council from seven politicians to five.

Two political seats will be cut from the District of Lantzville in the next civic election.

Lantzville councillors adopted a new bylaw Monday to reduce the size of council. The move comes on the heels of referendum results, which show 58.8 per cent of voters are in favour of scaling back political representation from a mayor and six councillors, to a mayor and four.

Coun. Jennifer Millbank sees the adoption as a “huge step forward.”

The councillor first proposed a motion to downsize last February, pointing out that while the municipality is the size of a town that requires only five representatives, its geographic area and designation as a district mandates it to elect seven. As a result, the district – a population of 3,601 – has the same representation as an urban centre of 50,000.

According to Millbank, a smaller council will create an estimated cost savings of  $25,000 a year and force councillors to have broader community support because they’ll need more votes to get a seat.

“Lantzville has in the past – and I think it continues in this election – been marked by a certain amount of divisiveness and I think that this is probably going to help because people are going to have to look at building bridges and building connections across the broader community instead of just relying on one set of interests in order to get a position,” she said.

Coun. Brian Dempsey opposed the bylaw, saying that he feels it reduces the ability for people to get better representation. He also doesn’t know of any committee council forms where it tries to get fewer numbers.

“Council is a committee and to reduce council to five from seven I think is a mistake and I’ll stand by that,” he said.

The changes will come into effect for the 2018 civic election.

Two political seats will be cut from the District of Lantzville in the next civic election.

Lantzville councillors adopted a new bylaw Monday to reduce the size of council. The move comes on the heels of referendum results, which show 58.8 per cent of voters are in favour of scaling back political representation from a mayor and six councillors, to a mayor and four.

Coun. Jennifer Millbank sees the adoption as a “huge step forward.”

The councillor first proposed a motion to downsize last February, pointing out that while the municipality is the size of a town that requires only five representatives, its geographic area and designation as a district mandates it to elect seven. As a result, the district – a population of 3,601 – has the same representation as an urban centre of 50,000.

According to Millbank, a smaller council will create an estimated cost savings of  $25,000 a year and force councillors to have broader community support because they’ll need more votes to get a seat.

“Lantzville has in the past – and I think it continues in this election – been marked by a certain amount of divisiveness and I think that this is probably going to help because people are going to have to look at building bridges and building connections across the broader community instead of just relying on one set of interests in order to get a position,” she said.

Coun. Brian Dempsey opposed the bylaw, saying that he feels it reduces the ability for people to get better representation. He also doesn’t know of any committee council forms where it tries to get fewer numbers.

“Council is a committee and to reduce council to five from seven I think is a mistake and I’ll stand by that,” he said.

The changes will come into effect for the 2018 civic election.