What is a Public Hearing?
A Public Hearing is a vital part of Council’s review when applications are made to change the City’s Official Community Plan or Land Use Bylaw. It provides the public with a way to present their views to Council on items contained in the public hearing agenda. It is not a question and answer period. The Public Hearing is Council’s opportunity to listen to members of the public to hear their views or receive their written submissions on items contained in the public hearing agenda. The purpose is not for Council to discuss and debate the topic.
How Are Public Hearings Advertised?
Staff and Council want to ensure that residents have adequate notice and access to information on bylaw amendments. For example, if there is a rezoning proposal that you are interested in, there are a number of ways to find out more about the proposal and when the Public Hearing will be held:
- Direct Mail: Where applicable, Public Hearing notices are mailed and/or delivered to property owners and tenants within a 75 metre radius of the subject property.
- City Hall: The Public Hearing notice and background materials for all agenda items are available for viewing at Colwood City Hall, located at 3300 Wishart Road.
- Newspaper Advertisements: Public Hearings are advertised in local newspapers the week before the Public Hearing.
- City Website: Public Hearing notices are posted on the City’s Meeting Calendar.
The purpose of the public hearing notice is only to advise that the hearing is taking place. If you would like to know more about the proposal(s) you will need to contact City Staff directly or view the available information on our website. All information, correspondence, petitions or reports received by Council are made available to the public in a public hearing binder available for viewing at Colwood City Hall. The contents of the information binder are not provided on the City website as it includes the personal information of identifiable individuals and the City is obliged by law to protect this information from being disclosed outside of Canada (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.)
If you plan to attend the Public Hearing, you are encouraged to seek further information in advance. The Public Hearing is not a question and answer period – it is an opportunity for your views to be heard.
What Happens at a Public Hearing?
- The Mayor (or chairperson) calls the meeting to order.
- City Staff describe the procedure for the meeting and proceeds with the first agenda item.
- When applicable, the applicant is usually invited to speak first followed by the general public. There are no requirements to register for speaking in advance of the meeting nor is there a speakers list at the meeting.
- Everyone who wishes to speak will be given an opportunity to be heard. Once everyone has had a chance to speak, those who wish to speak again may do so. Please keep in mind that if you choose to speak again, you should be presenting new points, not repeating what you have already stated.
- The Mayor (or chairperson) calls 3 times, to ask if anyone else would like to speak. If no one appears at the podium to speak, then the Mayor (or chairperson) states to the gallery that the item is closed.
- City staff introduces the next agenda item and the above steps are repeated.
- Once all agenda items have been closed, the mayor will adjourn the Public Hearing meeting.
What Happens When I Want to Speak?
Anyone wishing to speak to a particular Public Hearing item can do so by approaching the podium to speak to Council. Once you are at the podium:
- Please state your name, address, and whether you are ‘in favour’ or ‘opposed’ to the item.
- Address any comments you may have to Council. Please keep your comments directed to the item you are speaking to, be succinct, and be respectful of Council, City Staff and other members of the public in attendance at the Public Hearing. (Please note that Council may wish to ask questions of you to clarify your statements.)
Not Able to Attend? Make a Written Submission.
If you are unable to attend a Public Hearing it is recommended that you provide your comments in a written submission. Written submissions will be forwarded to Council members, as they are received, prior to the Public Hearing and become part of the permanent public record and copies will be made available to the public at the meeting. Written submissions can be provided by any of the following methods:
- In person: Drop off at the reception desk at Colwood City Hall, 3300 Wishart Road.
- Postal Mail: Mail to the City of Colwood, 3300 Wishart Road, Colwood, BC V9C 1R1
- Email: Email should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
What Happens After the Public Hearing?
Council members 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.
A Public Hearing may be a stand-alone meeting and not a special or regular meeting of Council. Any subsequent Council decisions regarding the subject of the public hearing are made at a council meeting scheduled following the public hearing.