Central chooses weighted voting as its Planning Board option

MINDEMOYA—The Township of Central Manitoulin council voted in favour of a change in how decisions are made at the Manitoulin Planning Board following a recommendation from the municipality’s Finance and Administration committee at their April 24 meeting.

There was little discussion at the council table about the motion, which was moved by Councillor Patricia MacDonald and seconded by Councillor Derek Stephens.

The recommendation from the committee suggested that the municipality write to the Manitoulin Planning Board to inform them that the municipality would be in favour of using the weighted assessment approach to voting when it is requested to be used, but to otherwise continue with the one vote-one member municipality/unorganized township method.

“We were asked to consider some kind of resolution with voting,” said Councillor MacDonald. “We looked at the various scenarios. For the most part the current system works well, but there are times when you would want weighted assessment.”

The proposal to change the way decisions are made at the Manitoulin Planning Board was brought to the table by Northeast Town Mayor Alan MacNevin as a way to alleviate his council’s dissatisfaction with a number of recent decisions made by the Planning Board, particularly the Planning Board’s challenges to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) of the Northeast Town council’s decision in regard to zoning issues.

Under the weighted assessment/one member vote hybrid being promoted by Mayor MacNevin, most decisions would still be made under the one member-one vote system, but any municipality could request that a vote be made by the relative size of the member communities. Under the weighted system, Central Manitoulin and the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands would have a larger say in the final decision relative to their size.

The Northeast Town has indicated that it wished to leave the Manitoulin Planning Board, but Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister at the time, Linda Jeffrey, had indicated her ministry preferred that the municipalities find a way to work out their differences without leaving the Manitoulin Planning Board.

Members of the Manitoulin Planning Board were asked to take a number of proposed changes back to their municipalities and councils for comment. The Manitoulin Planning Board is to discuss the issue at their next meeting on Wednesday, May 21.