© Times-Herald photo by Lisa Goudy
If the ward system is adopted, the city will be divided into six wards based on population.
In addition to electing six council members and a mayor, voters will also have to decide on whether to adopt the ward system referendum.
Council voted to put the question of the ward system on the ballot as brought forward by Coun. Don Mitchell. According to legislation, a councillor running in a specific ward does not have to live in that ward.
“It’s the same with any election. They have to live in the city. They have to meet the residency requirements being in the city,” said city clerk-solicitor Myron Gulka-Tiechko.
“It’s the same, frankly, for provincial or federal elections. As long as you’re a resident in the province for example … they can represent an area of Moose Jaw, whether it’s Moose Jaw North or Moose Jaw Wakamow and they can live actually a couple of blocks outside of that boundary.”
The representative elected for a designated ward would deal with issues specific to that ward and would also serve as a contact for residents to phone in that ward if they have trouble with water or sewer lines, for example.
“In larger cities I think what the experience has been if there’s a sitting council member in Ward 4, let’s say, and somebody lives and works (in that ward and) they don’t want to run against the sitting incumbent that they support, maybe, they’ll choose to run in a neighbouring ward,” said Gulka-Tiechko.
He added people can also contact other council members or the mayor with their issues, but each councillor in a ward is meant to look out for those specific interests.
“Basically, you would — rather than trying to pick from 19 candidates, (with) six of them at the top of your list — you would be able to sift through three or four people who are running for your ward and represent you the best sort of thing,” said Gulka-Tiechko. “So they might be a few blocks outside but they may simply share and understand the area they want to represent.”
For more information, see an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.