Information Regarding Public Hearings

Kitimat Council appreciates interest in local government and welcomes participation at Public Hearings. Below are a few guidelines and rules to clarify the procedure.

Public Hearings are held from time-to-time in the Council Chambers, or a larger venue, when Council is considering the adoption of, or amendments to, either the District's Official Community Plan or Zoning Bylaw. Public Hearings are regulated by British Columbia's Local Government Act.

Purpose

A Public Hearing is held for the purpose of Council to listen to the public, either in person, by attorney, or by letter. At the Public Hearing, any person present who believes their interest in property is affected by the proposed bylaw shall be given an opportunity to be heard. Council wants to hear from you. This is not an opportunity to display or distribute information to other members of the public; it is an opportunity for the public to address Council.

It is important to note and understand that Council has not made up its mind on the issue. While a Council member may have a position on an issue, they each come to the hearing with an open mind, to listen to and hear from the public. This is an opportunity to persuade each member of Council. Each person does make a difference. Please speak up.

Please refrain from applause or other expressions of emotion whether you favour or oppose any particular application or argument. Inappropriate language, outbursts or criticisms aimed at individuals or groups will not be condoned.

Speaking at a Public Hearing

If you would like to speak at the hearing and there are several speakers, a speaker's list may be used.

1. Please sign your name and residential address on the speaker's list.

2. Speakers will be called in order from the list.

3. Begin your comments by stating your name and address.

4. Your comments must be specifically related to the subject of the bylaw and be directed to the Chair.

Members of Council may ask questions following a presentation to seek clarification on the points raised. However, the main function of a Public Hearing is to listen to points of view.

Debate

Council will not debate the merits of the proposed bylaw nor enter into dialogue with the public at the hearing.

Written Submissions

Written submissions will form part of the public record and cannot be received after the Public Hearing closes. Be sure to submit your letters or written comments before or during the hearing. Submissions form part of the public record. All documents received during the hearing are available to the public for review. Please speak with the Corporate Officer at the Public Hearing to review the document during the hearing.

The Hearing Process

The following is the usual order of business at a Public Hearing, but is subject to change.

1. OPENING THE HEARING - The Chair (The Mayor)

2. PLANNING DEPARTMENT - will provide an overview of the proposed amendments.

3. INDIVIDUAL APPLICATION - The Chair will call upon the following to speak:

a. Corporate Officer to introduce the bylaw and written submissions

b. Public comments

NOTE: Questions from the public or Council must be addressed to the Mayor.

4. The Chair will call three times for any further speakers and hearing none will declare the

5. Public Hearing closed.

If additional information or further public input is desired by Council, Council may recess the Public Hearing instead of closing the hearing. If Council recesses the Public Hearing to a specific date, time and place, no further advertising of the hearing is required.

After the Public Hearing is Closed

Council members are not permitted to receive further submissions or hear either a proponent or opponent to an application once the Public Hearing has been concluded. This is to ensure the public has access to the same information as Council, and has an opportunity to comment on all information that comes forward.

After concluding the Public Hearing, the related zoning or Official Community Plan bylaws to permit the proposed changes are then brought forward for consideration of third reading and adoption at a future open meeting at which time Council members discuss, express opinions and make a decision. Council may either:

a) adopt or defeat the bylaw;

b) alter then adopt the bylaw, provided that the alteration does not:

i. alter the use,

ii. increase the density, or

iii. without the owner's consent, decrease the density of any area from that originally specified in the bylaw.

Questions?

If you have questions on the Public Hearing process, please call the Corporate Officer at 250-632-8915.