District Hall remains closed for most in-person visits, while community recreation centres, libraries, facilities, parks, and parking lots are reopening carefully as it becomes safe to do so.
Speak at a public hearing
A public hearing is an opportunity for members of the public to speak to Council if they feel their interest in property is 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.
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.
COVID-19 safety measures
We've made a number of adjustments to our public hearing process to ensure we are complying with provincial safety standards, including:
- Creating safe social distancing among attendees, with a maximum of 17 audience members permitted to be in the chambers at any one time
- Appointing a front foyer area facilitator to screen visitors and hand out temporary masks
- Requiring everyone who would like to speak at a meeting, or simply just attend, to register in advance with the Municipal Clerk
- Expecting all visitors to wear masks when visiting the Hall
- Mandating attendees to use face masks when unable to maintain safe social distancing
Regardless of the in person attendance limit, everyone who believes their interest in property is affected by the proposed bylaw(s) will have an opporutnity to share their thoughts.
How to participate in the public hearing
You can share your input at the public hearing by:
- Speaking in-person
- Speaking virtually
- Submitting written content
Once the speakers who signed up in advance have had the opportunity to speak, the Mayor will provide attendees observing either in-person or virtually who did not sign up in advance to speak — but have decided to do so once the hearing is underway — with an opportunity to speak.
If you're observing the meeting virtually, you'll be invited to share your input via telephone and dial-in information will be shared over the live stream during the hearing.
If you prefer speak at the public hearing virtually rather than in person, you must notify the Municipal Clerk at email@example.com before 12pm noon on the day of the meeting. After you have registered to speak, we will send you a detailed email with instructions on how to prepare for your input opportunity.
Speaking in person
If you would like to speak at the public hearing in person, you must notify the Municipal Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org before 12pm noon on the day of the meeting. After you have registered to attend, we will send you a detailed email with instructions to prepare for your visit.
If the Council chambers reaches capacity with public input speakers, members of the public wishing to speak will be able to participate virtually. We'll send you instructions on how to do this prior to the meeting.
Submitting written content
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 shared with Council and in the public record.
Please do not attend in-person events at District Hall if you are sick, have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, recently traveled out of province or country, or are under a mandatory quarantine or isolation order.
If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the screening questions at the door of District Hall before the hearing, you will be required to return home, watch the hearing virtually, and participate by telephone if you wish to provide input.
Please contact the Municipal Clerk:
What happens at the hearing
Speakers are called from the speakers list in the order that they signed up. 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.
Details of the hearing process
- The Chair opens the public hearing, and outlines the public hearing process.
- For each application being considered:
- The Clerk identifies the subject of the hearing
- Staff briefly outline the proposal
- The applicant presents their proposal
- The public expresses their opinion. Council is here to listen to the public, not to debate the merits of the bylaw.
- Staff answers any questions that Council has
- At the conclusion of the public input Council may either adjourn or close the public hearing.
- 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
- 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.
- When the Bylaw is returned to Council, Council may then, without further notice or hearing:
- Adopt or defeat the bylaw
- Alter then adopt the bylaw provided that the alteration does not
- Alter the use
- Increase the density
- Without the owner’s consent, decrease the density of any area from that originally specified in the bylaw.
Conduct during public hearings
There are certain requirements when participating in a public hearing. If you are speaking, your comments are live-streamed and recorded on the website.
All comments are directed to the presiding member and you must address the Mayor as “Your Worship” or “Mayor Little” and councillors as “Councillor…” followed by their surname.
The public are asked to:
- Respect the authority of the Chair and stop speaking if called to order
- Listen quietly and respect each person’s right to voice their opinion
Speakers may not:
- Speak disrespectfully of any other person
- Use rude or offensive language
- Make a statement or allegation that impugns the character of any person
- Speak or act in an aggressive, bullying or harassing manner
- Unnecessarily delay the meeting