Speak at a public hearing

Official Community Plan (OCP) and Zoning bylaws differ from other District bylaws in that Council is statutorily required to hold a Public Hearing before the OCP or Zoning bylaw can be changed. The Public Hearing must be held after the first reading of the bylaw and before the third reading. 

A public hearing is an opportunity for members of the public to speak to Council if they feel their interest in property will be affected by a proposed bylaw. The proposed change is presented in the form of an application. Council may consider more than one application at a Public Hearing.

What happens at the hearing

Speakers are called from the speakers list in the order that they signed up, alternating between those in favour, and those opposed. At the end of the speakers list, the Chair may call on speakers from the audience.

You will have 5 minutes to address Council for a first time. After everyone who wishes to speak has spoken once, speakers will then be allowed one additional five minute presentation. Any additional presentations will only be allowed at the discretion of the Chair.    

All members of the audience are asked to refrain from applause or other expressions of emotion. Council wishes to hear everyone’s views in an open and impartial forum. Council will not debate the merits of the proposed bylaw or enter into dialogue with the public at the hearing.

How to do it

  1. Come to the meeting and add your name to the public comment log. Sign up begins 30 minutes before the meeting starts.
  2. Go to the speakers table when the presiding member of the meeting calls your name. 
  3. Introduce yourself to Council, giving them both your name and address.
  4. Speak for five minutes (the presiding member will let you know when your time is up).

If you wish to present a written submission you may do so. All submissions will be retained by the Clerk and copies of submissions will be available from the Clerk upon request during the Hearing.

Your only opportunity to comment on the proposed bylaw will be during the Hearing, as members of Council are not permitted to receive further submissions after the close of the Hearing. If members of the public have questions, they may state them, but it is not expected that staff would provide responses to questions from the public at this point.

View the dates and agendas for upcoming public hearings

If you do not want to attend the public hearing, you can submit your comment in writing. Your submission must be received before the close of the Public Hearing. Your submission will be retained by the Clerk, and copies will be available from the Clerk on request during the Hearing. 

Details of the hearing process

  1. The Chair opens the public hearing, and outlines the public hearing process.
  2. For each application being considered:
    1. The Clerk identifies the subject of the hearing
    2. Staff briefly outline the proposal
    3. The applicant presents their proposal
    4. The public expresses their opinion. Council is here to listen to the public, not to debate the merits of the bylaw. 
    5. Staff answers any questions that Council has
  3. At the conclusion of the public input Council may either adjourn or close the public hearing.
    1. Adjourning the meeting — If staff has been asked to report back on questions which would raise new issues, to accommodate a large group of speakers who have not yet had an opportunity to be heard, or further submissions from the applicant have been requested; Council may adjourn the hearing by a motion which states the date, time and location for the hearing to be reconvened
    2. Closing the meeting — Council may request staff to report back on any outstanding questions raised at the public hearing. By resolution Council may close the hearing and refer the bylaw back to a Regular meeting Council for further consideration. Council must not receive any new submissions or information from interested parties after the close of the public hearing. 
  4. When the Bylaw is returned to Council, Council may then, without further notice or hearing:
    1. Adopt or defeat the bylaw
    2. Alter then adopt the bylaw provided that the alteration does not
      1. Alter the use
      2. Increase the density
      3. Without the owner’s consent, decrease the density of any area from that originally specified in the bylaw.