I used to believe that location mattered in civic elections, I believed that one should live in the ward that they represent. I noticed last week that Mike San Miguel had a “sticker” on this website that asked Ward 3 residents to vote in a councillor that lived in their ward. I assume Mike does and I wonder if that matters.
I live in Ward 1 and so does my councillor, Darren Hill. He calls City Park home while I call Mayfair home. Now Darren does a really, really good job of representing Mayfair’s interests. I wonder if we take up a disproportionate amount of his time in fact yet there isn’t a lot in common between Mayfair and City Park (I have lived in them both).
If you look at Ward 2, what does Montgomery and let’s say Pleasant Hill have for common issues. Both are distinctive neighbourhoods who have different issues.
In Ward 4 you have Westmount and Hampton Village. The list can go on and on. In some ways Caswell, City Park, and Nutana are all similar but in three different wards.
You could say that the westside and the eastside have common issues but then you have Ward 1 and to a lesser extent War 6 that cross the river. Even if you define Idylwyld Drive as the east/west dividing line, you still have Ward 1 which at the end of the day it means that living in your ward means very little in your ability to represent it. Very few issues that get debated at council are ward specific; the exceptions are the Montgomery wind farm and infill or the Broadway 360 plans. Most of city council decisions that are local respect the wishes of the local community and city administration.
Our wards are so diverse that it living in a ward don’t mean nearly as much as listening to a ward. If a councillor can do that from outside the ward, they will be elected. If they can’t? Well history is full of councillors who have been defeated by opponents inside or out of the ward. It’s just not a real issue.