When is a public hearing required?
When the District is proposing to adopt or amend its Official Community Plan or Zoning Bylaw, it must hold a public hearing. The District holds its public hearings after second reading of the proposed bylaw but before third reading of the bylaw to adopt or amend the Official Community Plan and/or Zoning Bylaw.
What is the purpose of a public hearing?
The purpose of a public hearing is to provide a reasonable opportunity for all persons who believe that their interest in property is affected by the proposed bylaw to be heard by Council, or to present written submissions regarding matters contained in the bylaw. It is your chance to express your support or concerns about a particular development project which is occurring within the District.
The main function of Council at a public hearing is to listen to the views of the public. Council members may ask questions to clarify points raised in the submissions but it is not the role of Council at the public hearing to debate the merits of the proposed bylaw with individual citizens or each other.
How do I find out when a public hearing is being held?
Prior to the scheduled date, a notice of the time and place of the public hearing is placed in two consecutive issues of one of the regional newspapers, the community board, and the Municipal Office. The notice includes information about the general intent of the proposed bylaws and identifies the property which is the subject of the bylaw. Copies of the notice are also sent to the owners and occupiers of properties that are within 120 metres of the boundaries of the property which is the subject of the bylaw.
Where do I get information about the Bylaw?
Copies of the proposed bylaw and the relevant background reports are available at the CAO at the Municipal Office.
What happens at a public hearing?
Before the public hearing begins, you may be asked to sign a list in order to appear as a speaker before Council. The list is only used if there are going to be a number of speakers during the night.
At the start of the public hearing:
- The Mayor reads an opening statement to the public, indicating what will happen next.
- The CAO informs Council of any written submissions that were received prior to the public hearing.
- The CAO gives a descriptive overview of what is proposed by the bylaw.
- The Mayor then invites members of the public to make their verbal submissions.
- The speakers give their name and address and indicate whether they are in support of the bylaw or not and any reasons they wish to express to Council. If the speaker wishes to give written information to the Council, the speaker is to give the information to the CAO.
- Members of Council may ask questions at any time.
- When there is no one else wishing to speak, the public hearing is then closed.
There may be more than one public hearing held on the same night. The procedure is the same for all.
What happens if I wish to make a submission at the public hearing but I cannot attend the public hearing?
You can send a copy of your written submission to the CAO before the public hearing. You are encouraged to send the written submission by noon on the Friday before the public hearing is scheduled. However, you can still provide your written submission to the CAO the day of the public hearing.
Please note that your written submissions and your verbal comments, which are noted in the minutes, are available to the public. Consequently, you cannot request that your name and address be kept private.
What happens after the public hearing is closed?
After a public hearing is closed, Council is not permitted to listen to any further delegations or receive any written submissions on the same bylaw.
Third reading of the proposed bylaw can only be considered by Council after the public hearing has been held. At third reading of the bylaw, Council will have to decide whether it wishes to proceed with the bylaw, make changes to the bylaw or not to proceed. Usually, Council will consider third reading of the bylaw later that same night in the regular Council Meeting but that consideration may be postponed to a future Council meeting.