As next year's municipal election draws closer, one thing is certain – Rocky View County (RVC) council will look different.
If approved, a recently unveiled bylaw proposing to reduce RVC's electoral divisions from nine to seven would guarantee, at the very least, that two current councillors won't have seats on the next council. Further, the proposed boundaries could pit incumbents against each other, particularly in central-east and southwest areas of the County. The changes will make for an intriguing campaign season.
Of course, there is still a chance council will reject the divisions as drawn by the consultant ISL Engineering and Land Services Inc. in favour of maintaining nine divisions. We predict, however, that the proposed bylaw is likely to be adopted by council when it is considered in October. That meeting will lend greater clarity about the methodology used to determine the new division boundaries, and we'll be interested to hear why reducing the number of divisions is preferable to keeping the current number.
The proposed changes to RVC's divisions serve as a reminder that the 2021 election is a little more than a year away. In the coming months, we'll start to see current councillors and other candidates announce their intentions to seek election in the County.
We think a change on council is necessary. Unfortunately, this council has been marked by frequent in-fighting, bickering and procedural confusion that often distracts from the positive decisions it makes – behaviour Reeve Greg Boehlke has called "embarrassing" in the past. For us, and perhaps many other people, the current council will be defined by the sanctioning of three councillors in 2019 and the lengthy court battle that followed.
RVC councillors would do well to remember voters will have their say next October as to which members keep their seats. After ballots are cast, at least two of them – and possibly more – will no longer be able to call themselves RVC councillors. It falls on each of them to make the case why they deserve to be re-elected.