PUBLIC HEARING PROCESS
Public Hearings are a vital part of Council’s review when applications are made to change the City’s Official Community Plan or Zoning Bylaw. A Public Hearing is the primary means for residents to present their views to Council, and is Council’s opportunity to listen to members of the public. The purpose is not for Council to discuss and debate the topic. Simply put, the public speaks and Council listens.
Residents who wish to address Council at a Public Hearing may speak before Council, or may provide a a written submission. Both methods shall form part of the public record. Written submissions may be provided any time after the date of notification (first advertisement of the Public Hearing) until the close of the Public Hearing. The deadline for submitting written comments which will be delivered for Council’s review prior to the hearing will be mentioned in the advertising for the hearing. Written submissions received the day of the Public Hearing will be distributed to Council as part of the record of submissions, but may not be provided to them before the start of the Hearing.
Each speaker shall sign in prior to addressing council. Depending on the specific hearing, sign in sheets may be provided at the delegates table or podium, or speakers may sign in prior to entering Council Chambers. Speakers shall provide their name and residential street address as part of the record.
A microphone shall be provided at the delegates table. The Chair shall only recognize speakers at the delegates table.
Each speaker will be allowed 5 minutes to address Council, and should begin by clearly stating their name and address. A speaker may, at the discretion of the Chair, be granted a second opportunity to present new points to Council after all other members of the public wishing to speak have been heard a first time.
Public Hearings are not the same as Town Hall meetings. A Town Hall meeting is intended to allow Council to address a large group of people and then to take questions from the audience. Public Hearings are a formal process to allow Council to hear feedback from individuals. Council may ask questions for clarification, but shall not engage in debate with speakers or each other. Council’s purpose at a Public Hearing is to listen to those making representation to the meeting.
Council cannot accept any further information or submissions after the close of the Public Hearing. This is to allow a fair process as established by provincial case law.