The Public Hearing on May 24, 2016, ended abruptly when four City Councillors walked out in protest during Item #3, a controversial project at 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue, for Cressey Development. The City of Vancouver issued an information bulletin this evening, the contents of which are copied below. We also add related reading below the statement from the City.
It is important to note that an outside legal expert suggested it was not necessary to start again with a new Public Hearing. But the ruling party (Vision Vancouver) has decided to do exactly that — start again. This suggests that the main tactic here was to give the party a majority of votes to approve the development application — for one of its major political donors). A date is yet to be announced.
City of Vancouver
June 1, 2016
Update on May 24th Public Hearing
The circumstances that arose at the May 24th 2016 Public Hearing have been reviewed by City staff, working with Legal Services. There was no vote on Item 3 (Rezoning: 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue) as a result of the adjournment of the Public Hearing, due to the loss of quorum of the Committee of the Whole prior to a decision being made on that Item.
At its meeting on May 31, 2016, City Council passed a resolution to void the Public Hearing held on May 24, 2016 for Item 3 and refer the application to a new Public Hearing.
Given the procedural uncertainties that have resulted from the loss of the quorum at the Public Hearing, staff had recommended that Item 3 be referred to a new Public Hearing to ensure the process accords with requirements contained in the Vancouver Charter and the Procedure By-law.
Since the now voided Public Hearing was not adjourned to a specific time and date, the City must provide new notice requirements respecting the new Public Hearing that will be held.
Once a date for the new Public Hearing has been set, the notice of the new Public Hearing will be publicly posted and staff will communicate to the public the procedures for speaking and providing comments. Written comments received to date will be retained and forwarded to the new Public Hearing. Because Item 3 of the May 24th Public Hearing has been voided, persons who spoke on May 24th, who wish to have their views considered by Council will need to speak again at the new Public Hearing, and new speakers can also be heard.
The video stream of item 3 of the May 24th Public Hearing can be found at: http://civic.neulion.com/cityofvancouver/index.php?clipid=3494907,001
Items 1 and 2 on the agenda were appropriately dealt with and decided upon and were unaffected by the loss of quorum.
- Is the City following its own policies? Letters on Cedar Cottage rezoning (East 18th Avenue). Public Hearing Tuesday May 24th (CityHallWatch quoting Eye on Norquay)
- Vancouver to scrap contentious public hearing, hold it again with full council (Vancouver Sun, 31-May-2016). Excerpt: With no decision registered, the city had to decide whether to restart the public hearing or to scrap it altogether. Raymond Young, a veteran municipal lawyer, said the city could likely restart the hearing without ramifications since the councillors had already heard from members of the public. He suggested it would be unnecessary to scrap and rehear the proposal.
- Councillors object to Vision Vancouver treatment, walk out of public hearing (Vancouver Sun, Jeff Lee, 25-May-2016)
- “Gong Show”: Eyewitness report of Public Hearing of May 24, 2016 (3365 Commercial Drive) (Eye on Norquay)
- Transcript of the Final Minutes of 24 May 2016 Public Hearing on 3365 Commercial (Eye on Norquay)
Statements by Councillor Adriane Carr
- Media release by Green Party of Vancouver: Opposition Councillors walk out as Vision Vancouver mires public hearing in bad process (May 25, 2016):
- What happened at the Public Hearing of May 24? (Detailed account of what happened at the May 24 Public Hearing) (Published May 27, 2016)
- Full text of motion by Adriane Carr, adopted unanimously 31-May-2016. It is expected that City staff will report back to City Council before the next Public Hearing. Clarifying Procedural Rules and Ensuring Fairness in Rulings at Public Hearings. http://www.vangreens.ca/public_hearing_clarity
- Former City Councillor Tim Louis’ observations:
- Public hearings are covered in the Procedures Bylaw:
- First proposed for Feb 28, 2012, but carried over for speaker on Feb 29. Report, video: http://council.vancouver.ca/20120229/ptec20120222ag.htm
- Entered into force here (27-March-2012). http://council.vancouver.ca/20120327/regu20120327ag.htm
(Only Adriane Carr opposed the bylaw changes. See video and minutes.)