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OMB rules in students' favour on electoral boundaries

The Ontario Municipal Board has nullified Kingston city council’s decision to adopt new electoral boundaries that do not count the postsecondary student population.

Council voted in favour of the new electoral boundaries in April, citing concerns that students were temporary residents of the city and not fully engaged in the democratic process.

The Alma Mater Society, Queen’s law student Kevin Wiener, and the Sydenham District Association were the three co-appellants on the OMB appeal.

“This decision is undoubtedly the result of much effort on the part of our students, as well as others,” Principal Daniel Woolf wrote in a blog post. “They worked with and were supported by their community members, challenged a decision they believed to be unfair, and remained dedicated to that cause through a lengthy and resource-intensive appeal process. I congratulate them on a job well done, and for their unwavering commitment to being counted.”

In its decision, the OMB also directed the city to adopt Revised Option 4, which includes counting post-secondary students.

“We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude for the enduring support we have received from Kingston citizens, community groups, and now the OMB on the issue of effective representation of post-secondary students,” AMS President Eril Berkok said in a news release. “We will not only continue to pursue further opportunities to foster positive town-gown relations, but will be encouraging students to vote in the upcoming election.”

Click hear to read the OMB’s decision.