Public Hearing set for a Wednesday (December 2). Does it break the Procedure By-law?

The City of Vancouver posted an agenda for a Public Hearing on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Yes, on a Wednesday. Is there anything unusual here? The answer is yes.

Watchers of City Hall might have noticed that Public Hearings always begin on either a Tuesday or a Thursday. There’s a good reason for that.

The document that governs meetings of Council, the Procedure By-law, specifically stipulates the following:

2.3 (2) Public hearings may be commenced, as required, at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, except during the month of August

Is it not reasonable for people to expect that the City Manager, City Clerk, and indeed City Council, will observe the Procedure Bylaw?

Back in September of 2019, City Council published an 2020 Council Meetings Schedule. This schedule has been amended several times, including on September 15, 2020. That amended schedule added additional dates:

AND FURTHER THAT
Council / Public Hearing Reserves be added on the following new dates and times:
• Thursday, November 5, 2020, starting at 3 pm;
• Wednesday, December 2, 2020, starting at 3 pm; and
• Thursday, December 3, 2020, starting at 3 pm.

It’s worth noting that the additions were to be a reserve dates for either a Council meeting or a public hearing. Given that December 2 is a Wednesday, this date should only be permitted as a Council reserve date. Otherwise it would conflict with the Procedure Bylaw. The dates November 5th and December 3rd are fine for Public Hearings, provided the meetings start at 6 pm, as these days are both Thursdays.

We’ll do an analysis of the items at the upcoming Public Hearing in a future post.

Reproduced below is the agenda for December 2:

https://council.vancouver.ca/20201202/ph20201202.htm
PDF snapshot on November 24, 2020

Date and location

Wednesday, December 2, 2020  6pm

Council Chamber, Third Floor, City Hall

Please note:

  • This Public Hearing is to be convened by electronic means as authorized by Ministerial Order No. M192, “Local Government Meetings and Bylaw Process (COVID-19) Order No. 3 ”.
  • Members of the public may attend City Hall to hear and watch the meeting proceedings, but are strongly urged to listen and watch the proceedings via the City’s website or follow Twitter @VanCityClerk.
  • Due to COVID-19, it is recommended that speakers participate by telephone or provide written submissions; however, limited space will be made available at City Hall to accommodate those who are unable to participate by telephone.
  • To participate in the public hearing process, you can register to speak in person or by telephone at the Public Hearing:
  • by going to the Council meeting page on the City’s website and selecting the meeting date, meeting type and agenda item(s) and specifying whether you will participate in person or by telephone; or
  • by calling 604.829.4238 and specifying which meeting date, meeting type and agenda item(s) you wish to speak to and whether you will address Council by telephone or in person.
  • If you want to participate by telephone then you must have access to a telephone, provide a telephone number that can be used to contact you, and an email address where instructions on when and how to call into the public hearing can be provided to you.
  • You can also register by telephone, on the day of the public hearing, between 5:30 pm and 6 pm, or 30 minutes before the hearing starts, at City Hall. For more information, visit vancouver.ca/publichearings
  • Send your comments to Council at https://vancouver.ca/your-government/contact-council-public-hearing.aspx.
  • Get live updates on the meeting at http:vancouver.ca/speaker-wait-times or follow Twitter @VanCityClerk.
  • Watch the meeting live here

Get involved and stay informed

Tip: Send your comments by the day before the meeting so Council has time to review them.

Send comments to Council

Sign up to speak about an agenda item:

  • Register by phone at 604-829-4238 between 5:30pm and 6pm on the day of the public hearing, or 30 minutes before the hearing starts at City Hall. Find out more
  • Online by 5:00pm on the day of meeting
  • In-person from 5:30pm to 6:00pm on the day of the meeting

If you miss the deadline, listen to the livestream of the meeting and follow the Chairs phone in instructions, or attend in person, and raise your hand, when the meeting Chair calls three times for any other speakers after all registered speakers are heard.

Request to speak

Watch the live broadcast  Get updates on Twitter

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