An Alternative Approval Process (AAP) is a legislated process via the Community Charter that allows local governments to directly engage residents and seek elector approval to proceed with the adoption of a bylaw, agreement or an other matter in question that requires elector approval. It is most often used in relation to long-term borrowing bylaws, which allow the local government to proceed with debt financing for a capital project.  An AAP is an alternative to Assent Voting (referendum), which is costlier to taxpayers and involves a lengthier process.

Current Alternative Approval Process: Public Works Operations Facility

How does an Alternative Approval Process Work?

  • If you are in favour of adoption of the Bylaw in question, or other matter before the electorate, no action is required.
  • If you are an eligible resident or non-resident property elector of the City of Colwood and you are opposed to the adoption of the bylaw or other matters, you may sign an AAP Elector Response Form.
  • If 10% of eligible voters in the City of Colwood complete and submit the form then Council must either abandon the bylaw or put it to assent voting (referendum) to obtain approval of the electors.
  • If less than 10% of eligible voters in the City of Colwood complete and submit the response form, then elector approval is received and Council can choose to proceed with the initiative.

When does the City of Colwood run AAPs?

The City of Colwood runs AAPs when required to engage electors in approving long-term borrowing, establishing new services, entering into partnering agreements, disposing of parkland, seeking boundary extensions, and other matters.

Borrowing is a valuable and effective financial tool that spreads the cost of large capital projects over the life of a project, allowing a project to be paid for by current and future taxpayers. Borrowing is used in addition to grants, cash from reserves, Development Cost Charges, and property taxes.

Who is eligible to participate in an AAP?

Any individual who qualifies as a City of Colwood resident elector or non-resident property elector within the area affected by the subject matter of the AAP can participate.  Usually it is City-wide, but it is possible that an AAP could be limited to a smaller area.

What happens during an AAP?

Council will direct staff to proceed with an AAP by obtaining the approval of the electors. Staff will then bring a report forward to Council at an open meeting which will provide:

  • key information about the process including background analysis and rationale,
  • outline the proposed advertising dates, 
  • proposed deadline for receipt of responses,
  • estimated number of electors, and
  • elector response form

Council must approve the above by resolution, and following that, the response forms are made available to the electors.

Notice to residents

The AAP must then be advertised in the newspaper at least twice, and the deadline for receipt of the response forms must be at least 30 days after the second advertisement. Depending on the subject matter of the AAP, there may be additional newspaper ads and other public communications.

Response forms

Once the AAP starts, the forms are available at Colwood City Hall. They are also made available on the City website. The completed forms must be delivered to the Corporate Officer by the deadline in order to be counted. Accurate copies of the Council approved forms are also acceptable, as long as they are not altered (in other words, someone may obtain one form and photocopy it if needed).

Once they are delivered to the Corporate Officer, the completed AAP elector response forms are date stamped when they are received, and are held in confidence until the AAP deadline has passed.

Once the deadline has passed, the responses are validated, and staff then brings a report forward to Council, advising on the total number of valid responses received. If the total is at least 10% of the estimated number of electors, Council is not permitted to proceed with the matter unless it is approved by the electorate through a referendum.


For more information, please contact the Corporate Services at 250-294-8157 or by email to

Current Alternative Approval Processes

Alternative Approval Process (AAP): Public Works Operations Facility

At the February 12, 2024 Regular Council Meeting, Council gave the first three readings to "Public Works Operations Facility Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 2020, 2024".  The purpose of this bylaw is to borrow an amount not to exceed the sum of eight million three hundred and ninety seven thousand dollars ($8,397,000) to finance the cost of the Public Works Operations Facility that will be repaid over a period not exceeding thirty (30) years.  

The components of the Public Works Operations Facility involves the construction of a dedicated public works operations facility built to post-disaster standards to support an emergency operations centre.  

Additional Information

The following documents and timeline provide more details regarding "Public Works Operations Facility Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 2020, 2024":

AAP Schedule 

Council approved a 45 day schedule for the AAP at the April 22, 2024 Regular Council Meeting:

  • Wednesday, May 1, 2024 - Publication of the First Notice in the Goldstream Gazette (Elector Response Forms available)
  • Wednesday, May 8, 2024 - Publication of the Second Notice in the Goldstream Gazette
  • Monday, June 24, 2024 at 4:30 pm - Deadline for submitting Elector Response Forms
  • Monday, July 8, 2024 - Report to Council with Certified Results and Decision

For the purpose of the Alternative Approval Process, Council has determined there are 16,128 electors in the City of Colwood.

The AAP will begin on May 1, 2024 with the publishing of the first notice in the newspaper . Council may proceed with the adoption of the Bylaw unless, by 4:30 PM on Monday, June 24, 2024, at least 10% of the electors (1,613) submit a signed Elector Response Form indicating opposition to the Bylaw.  Council must then obtain assent of the electors by a referendum vote before proceeding with the adoption of Bylaw.


Forms are available to the public at Colwood City Hall (3300 Wishart Road) or online here:

Qualified electors signing a response form in opposition to these Bylaws must meet all of the eligible elector requirements on the day in which the Elector Response Form is signed.

NOT IN FAVOUR? If you object to the bylaw please complete and submit an Elector Response Form as stated below.

IN FAVOUR? No action is required.

Eligible Electors

Only electors of the City of Colwood are eligible to sign the Elector Response Forms.  When signing an Elector Response Form during an Alternative Approval Process, the electors must meet the following requirements:

All electors must:

  • be 18 years of age or older
  • be a Canadian citizen
  • be a resident of British Columbia for at least 6 months
  • not be disqualified under the Local Government Act or any other enactment from voting in an election or assent voting and not otherwise disqualified by law

Resident electors must:

Non-resident property electors must:

  • not be entitled to register as a Colwood resident elector
  • be the registered owner of property in Colwood for at least 30 days
  • provide written consent of the majority of the owners, using the Non-Resident Elector Consent Form, for only one registered owner of the property to sign the Elector Response Form
  • provide their name and the address of the property in relation to which they are entitled to register as a non-resident property elector

Property owned in whole or in part by a corporation does not qualify under the non-resident property elector provisions.

Receipt and Deadline of Elector Response Forms

Signed Elector Response Forms and the Non-Resident Elector Consent Forms MUST be received by the Corporate Officer at Colwood City Hall 3300 Wishart Road, Colwood BC V9C 1R1 before 4:30 pm on Monday, June 24, 2024, in order to be counted.  Forms MUST be submitted as follows:

In Person At City Hall:

  • In person to Corporate Services during regular business hours between the hours of 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Monday through Friday, excluding statutory holidays.
  • In the dropbox outside the main doors after business hours.

By Mail:

To the attention of the Corporate Officer at:

City of Colwood
3300 Wishart Road
Colwood BC V9C 1R1

Further Information