(Update at top with new information from City of Vancouver Corporate Communications)
(Update at bottom regarding agenda for Sep 18 Public Hearing)
6-Sep-2018. At noon today we received an e-mail from Jag Sandhu, Corporate Communications, regarding this post. The actual text is provided at the bottom of this post. The gist is that
(1) the extra Public Hearing dates were cancelled “as staff are confident that the scheduled items can be heard on the already scheduled dates,” and
(2) amendments to the Procedure Bylaw were not yet ready so will not be coming forward on September 18, but instead going to the new Council [which comes in after the Oct 20 election]. They will include “several administrative amendments to clarify and improve on existing language throughout the bylaw” plus a few substantive amendments such as adding “procedures for electronic meetings and procedures to improve conduct at meetings.” More details will be available in the coming weeks.
As of today, the City of Vancouver meetings web page shows three cancelled (Sep 14, 17, 27) Public Hearing nights during September, leaving just two remaining during the current regime at City Hall (Sep 5 and Sep 18). Earlier, a Sep 6 Public Hearing night had been slated as well. It has disappeared. Why were all these nights added originally, and why they have been cancelled?
There appear to be secret plans to change the rules that govern Public Hearings.
In the morning of September 18, Regular Council might change Public Hearing rules, which could go into effect immediately, for Public Hearing that very night. What surprises could be in store?
On July 24, the Council agenda included the following public notice, but the City has rejected FOI requests by citizens asking specifically what changes to the governing Vancouver Charter are being planned:
PUBLIC NOTICE – Pursuant to Section 164.1(2) of the Vancouver Charter, public notice is hereby given that Council will give consideration to amend Procedure By-law No. 9756 at the Regular Council meeting on September 18, 2018.
The Procedure By-law, among other things, governs how Public Hearings are conducted.
Is it possible the outgoing Vision Vancouver regime plans to change the rules to weaken the role of Public Hearings and public input that day and after the October 20 civic election? Is that perhaps why the rash of Public Hearings that were slated for September have been cancelled? Does Vision plan to cut off the speakers list at Public Hearings? Reduce the time allotted to each speaker? Or eliminate speakers entirely?
The answers to these questions might only be known on September 18.
Revised here: The topics for the September 18 Public Hearing are available in print in the Vancouver Courier as of September 6. RS zone (single family) mass rezoning is definitely on the table. The City may have backup nights reserved after September 18, but we haven’t confirmed that. See image below for agenda. Continue reading