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Chamber questions council ruling

The Halifax Chamber of Commerce is calling regional council’s decisionto keep the current number of council seats a “symbolic step backward.”

The Halifax Chamber of Commerce is calling regional council’s decision to keep the current number of council seats a “symbolic step backward.”

Chamber president Valerie Payn said she questions whether council should be making the decision to cut councillors.

“Maybe we’re doing something wrong here,” she said yesterday. “Is it the council itself that should be making this recommendation?”

The province’s Utility and Review Board will have the final say in how many council seats will be up for grabs in the 2012 municipal election. HRM must submit its decision to maintain status quo by Dec. 31, with a UARB hearing expected about a month later.

The Chamber advocated for a council of 15 — down from the current setup of 23 councillors and the mayor.

While Payn was never confident council would go that far, she did expect at least a couple fewer seats.

“They didn’t even do anything. They’re recommending nothing,” she said.

“Compromise has its place, but I don’t think this is one of them. This is a place where we wanted to see some leadership here.”

Payn was unclear, however, as to how exactly fewer councillors would be advantageous for businesses and the municipality as a whole.

“I’ve studied governance and I work in governance and I understand governance,” she said. “What it would do is create a framework that would require councillors to act differently.”

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