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Peterborough City Hall, 500 George St N | Photo Credit: Peterborough Examiner

An Introduction To Municipal Government

Written by
Bethan Bates
and
and
October 16, 2022
An Introduction To Municipal Government
Peterborough City Hall, 500 George St N | Photo Credit: Peterborough Examiner

It’s that time of year, where lawn signs go up, and flyers come through your door. Yes, it’s election season.

As a student it can be hard to feel invested in the inner workings of local government, especially if you are new to Peterborough-Nogojiwanong or only plan on staying temporarily. But whilst you are here with us then the municipal government affects you, even if you don’t know what they do. So here is a (non-exhaustive) guide as to what the municipal government does, why you should care, and how to vote.

Firstly, what are you voting for? There are three offices you will be voting on this year, Mayor, Ward Councillors, and School Board Trustee. Peterborough is split into five wards and each ward has two representatives on city council. Their job is to advocate for you and your neighbourhood. The mayor leads the council, develops committees, represents the City, and creates and passes policy. Some of the things that municipal governments are responsible for include:

  • Airports
  • Ambulance
  • Animal Control and By-law Enforcement
  • Arts and Culture
  • Child Care
  • Economic Development
  • Fire Services
  • Garbage Collection and Recycling
  • Electric Utilities
  • Library Services
  • Long Term Care and Senior Housing  
  • Maintenance of Local Road Network
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Public Transit
  • Planning New Community Developments and Enhancing Existing Neighbourhoods
  • Police Services
  • Property Assessment
  • Provincial Offences Administration  
  • Public Health
  • Side Walks
  • Snow Removal
  • Social Services
  • Social Housing  
  • Storm Sewers
  • Tax Collection
  • Water and Sewage

So, if you have a problem with the maintenance of the sidewalks, the reliability of public transit, or the use of parks and green-spaces then you care about local government. These elections take place every four years so for many of you this will be the council that represents your years in Peterborough. There are a number of ways you can get involved in local government throughout the year such as joining advisory committees, writing to your councillors on key issues, and of course by watching city council meetings to keep up to date with what is being discussed. At a recent council meeting I attended there were discussions about a new urban park, transit, environmentalism, and the Friendship Accord with (among others) Hiawatha First Nation and Curve Lake First Nation.

The last municipal election in 2018 saw a voter turnout of 48.31%, less than half of all residents of Peterborough. Students make up a significant portion of Peterborough’s population so it is important that you use your vote! Make sure your elected officials are representing you. During the 2018 municipal election young people's votes made up less than 6%!

You can vote in a number of ways. Election day is October 24 with three polling stations per ward. But you can also vote early at the student centre on October 11 from 12-5PM. You can also vote online from October 1. Make sure to register at peterborough.ca/vote

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What’s a Rich Text element?

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How to customize formatting for each rich text

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