The ward system proposal put forward by councillor Don Mitchell was defeated in a referendum vote Wednesday.
“I knew that it was a divided issue,” said Mitchell, “I thought it was important to put it out there.”
The proposal, as worded on the ballot, was “that the City of Moose Jaw be divided into wards for the election of six city councillors beginning with the 2016 municipal elections.”
The unofficial totals for the referendum vote were 4,786 against and 4,135 for the ward system.
“I was relieved (by the outcome) to say the least,” said Russ McKnight, a Moose Jaw resident who led a group that campaigned against the referendum. “I’m glad it didn’t go through... it would have been restrictive.”
“I didn’t see it as a central issue, I didn’t push it really hard during the campaign,” said Mitchell. “I tried to get information out there, and I really appreciate that people responded... change is difficult to come by.”
Mitchell is convinced that the ward system is an inevitability for Moose Jaw, which he called a city “in transition.”
“I think (this vote) is a strong indication that people understand the potential for the ward system, and I’m sure it will come,” he said, “just not as quickly as this vote would have allowed.
When and if the ward system is brought back up, it won’t be without adversaries.
“I think I’ll be more prepared,” said McKnight.