|Chilliwack Public Hearings Proceed via Zoom||June 4, 2020|
Chilliwack, BC: On Tuesday, June 2, City Council approved a new public hearing process that will allow public participation through the video conferencing platform Zoom. The BC Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, has issued Ministerial Order M139 under the State of Provincial Emergency, which allows municipalities to conduct public hearings by means of electronic or other communication facilities.
Council meetings have been temporarily closed to public attendance since April, to prevent large gatherings and promote physical distancing. However, under the Local Government Act, the City is required to hold public hearings for any development applications requiring Official Community Plan (OCP) amendments or zoning bylaw amendments that are not consistent with the OCP. Due to limited space and the layout of Council Chambers, an online process has now been approved by Council and will come into effect at the June 16 meeting.
Anyone who deems that their interest in the property is affected by proposed amendment bylaws on an upcoming meeting agenda will have an opportunity to be heard. Members of the public can participate by mail, email, or live during the meeting via Zoom. Those participating during the meeting must call the Clerks Department once the hearing begins to register. Each person will be allowed to present once per public hearing and will be given 15 minutes to do so.
“It is important for us to find ways to safely continue the business of the City as we establish our new normal here in Chilliwack,” said Mayor Popove. “Many people rely on development for employment, and while this new process will be an adjustment, I am hopeful residents and developers will be patient and learn with us.”
Since April, residents have been encouraged to watch live or recorded Council meetings online at chilliwack.com/live from their homes. An alternate procedure to receive public feedback by written submission for development applications that are compliant with the Official Community Plan was established at this time and will continue.
For more information about the new public hearing process, visit chilliwack.com/ph.
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