Ward system popular in Vancouver and Surrey, but most Metro Vancouver voters reject amalgamation


THE idea of electing City Council through a ward system is popular in Vancouver and Surrey, a new Insights West post-election survey of municipal voters has found.

In the two most populous cities of the Lower Mainland, supporters of a ward system outnumber opponents (52% to 19% in Vancouver, and 43% to 23% in Surrey). However, in the rest of the Lower Mainland, support is tepid (24%) and opposition stronger (35%, with 41% undecided).

However, across the Lower Mainland, while 37% would agree to have wards in their municipality, 27% disagree and 35% are undecided.

The survey also found that residents of Metro Vancouver are not enthralled with the notion of becoming a megacity like Toronto or Montreal.

In the online survey of Lower Mainland residents who took part in this month’s election, three-in-five (60%) disagree with the notion of all Metro Vancouver municipalities amalgamating into one.

Rejection of amalgamation is equally high across both genders and all age demographics. However, while residents of Vancouver and Surrey are equally dismayed by the prospect of amalgamation (56% each), the proportion climbs to 64% among residents of other municipalities.

“Amalgamation is not particularly exciting for most residents, but reception to it is decidedly more negative outside of Vancouver and Surrey,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “In fact, close to half of residents in the other municipalities strongly disagree with amalgamation.”

Seven-in-ten voters in the Lower Mainland (71%) feel they had enough information about candidates and parties to cast all of their votes in this election, while only 26% disagreed with this statement—including 38% of those aged 18 to 34.