In its Gateway to Opportunity 2022 Action Plan released last month, Council pledged to investigate the possibility of moving to a 'ward' electoral system for as early as the 2025 Municipal Election.
That review received further support on Tuesday as Lethbridge City Council voted unanimously to have City Administration provide a future report, for consideration, that will outline the process to examine, develop options, decide and implement a ward system.
Lethbridge currently has an 'at-large' electoral system for electing Councillors. A 'ward' electoral system would see the city divided into smaller geographical electoral areas (wards) and electors would vote from a smaller list of candidates for a Councillor that wants to represent the ward that you live in. The method of election for the Mayor would continue to be a separate at-large vote.
"Council would like further information on next steps to consider whether or not they want to proceed pursuing a ward system," says Councillor John Middlteon-Hope, who introduced Tuesday's motion. "Initiating a ward system study has been identified both in Council's recent Action Plan as well as during last fall's Municipal Election, so we feel it is important to investigate what our options are in order to best represent Lethbridge residents moving forward."
In a non-binding ballot question at the 2021 Municipal Election, 55.69 per cent of residents that voted said yes to "Do you support using a Ward System to elect City Councilors (other than the Mayor) starting with the 2025 municipal election?" A full background is available here: https://www.lethbridge.ca/City-Government/Elections/Pages/Question-on-the-2021-Municipal-Ballot-Ward-System.aspx
A further detailed look at Council's Gateway to Opportunity 2022 Action Plan is available at Lethbridge.ca/2022ActionPlan
Council has asked Administration to report back, through the Governance Standing Policy Committee, by April 30, 2022, on what legislative requirements, engagement, timelines, costs and resources it would take to potentially implement a ward system.