Public Hearings

At the public hearing, all persons who believe that their interest in property is affected by the proposed bylaw must be afforded a reasonable opportunity to be heard or to present written submissions respecting matters contained in the bylaw that is the subject of the hearing.

It is an opportunity for members of the public to be heard by the Regional District Board and let their views be known. 

A public hearing is also a statutory requirement for Official Community Plan (OCP) Bylaw Amendments and is utilized for most Zoning Bylaws Amendments.

Members of the public can make representations about a proposed bylaw in writing or by speaking at the public hearing. 

How to participate in a public hearing

.1  Attend the public hearing 

(NOTE: Generally, the public can attend a public hearing in person.  However, during the Provincial State of Emergency, public hearings will be held electronically and physical attendance is not permitted).

  • The Chair will ask if anyone wishes to speak. 
  • When it is your turn to speak, begin by stating your name and address clearly for the record.
  • Depending on turn-out at the public hearing, you may be asked by the Chair to limit your comments to 5 minutes until everyone who wishes to speak has had an opportunity to do so.
  • You may speak additional times after everyone has had an opportunity to speak first.

.2  Provide written comments.

  • You can provide written representations at any time until the close of the public hearing.
  • You do not have to attend a public hearing to submit written comments; you can submit your comments in advance to the Regional District.
  • Written comments can be submitted in the following ways:
    • by email to planning@rdos.bc.ca
    • by mail to 101 Martin Street, Penticton, BC, V2A 5J9
    • in person at the RDOS office during office hours
    • at the public hearing, for in-person public hearings only (there will be a designated area for you to submit your comments)

What happens at a public hearing

  • The public hearing is run by the Chair;
  • The Chair will open the public hearing by making an address and ask Staff to briefly outline the proposal;
  • The Chair may ask that the applicant present their proposal;
  • The Chair will ask if anyone from the public wishes to speak.  This is an opportunity to state whether you support or are opposed to the bylaw(s) and the reasons why.  The public hearing is not meant as a venue for questions and answers or a forum in which to debate the merits of a proposal.
  • You will be asked to follow the protocol provided by the Chair at the start of the meeting.  Typically, you will be asked to:
    • State your name and address first, before you make your comments;
    • Stand at the designated speaker’s area when making your comments;
    • Form a queue behind the speaker’s area to wait for your opportunity to speak;
    • Restrict your speaking time to 5 minutes until everyone who wishes to speak has had an opportunity to do so; and
    • Be respectful of all participants (e.g. no applause or catcalls).
  • The Chair will ask three times if there is anyone who wishes to speak before closing the public hearing.
  • Information about the proposal is kept in a binder available at the public hearing for anyone to inspect.  This binder will include public submissions received and copies of the bylaw.

Where are public hearings held

On May 1, 2020, Ministerial Order M139 under the Emergency Program Act  enables local governments to hold a public hearing by means of electronic or other communication facilities. 

Until further notice, the RDOS will be holding all public hearings electronically in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The date, time and location of a public hearing will be provided in public notice for each public hearing.  The meeting “location” is a web address set for a specific public hearing.

If an in-person meeting can be held, public hearings are typically held at the RDOS office (101 Martin Street, Penticton) or at an alternate location when a public hearing is delegated.  Delegated public hearings are often held in the community affected by the bylaw.

What is different about electronic public hearings

The main difference between an in-person public hearing and an electronic public hearing is that an electronic public hearing has no physical location where the public can attend. 

The RDOS will be using a web-based meeting platform, Webex, for electronic public hearings and the public can attend by phone or computer to listen, observe or participate in the public hearing. 

Information about the proposal will be provided on the RDOS webpage for the proposed bylaw for public inspection.  This will include all the information that would typically be presented in a binder at an in-person public hearing, including public submissions and a copy of the bylaw.

Electronic public hearings will provide the same opportunity for interested parties to have their opinions heard. 

Since there is no physical location of the public hearing, it is highly recommended that written comments are submitted in advance of the public hearing.  We ask that any written submission provided during the public hearing be submitted to planning@rdos.bc.ca.

How to use WebEx to participate in a public hearing using a computer

.1     Find the meeting number on the current applications webpage for the file or on the notice or newspaper ad under “Location”.

.2     Open a web-page browser (e.g. Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome).

.3     Enter the text included at “Location” (above) into the web-page browser on your computer (https://webex.com)

.4     Type the meeting number into the box under “Join a Meeting” and press Enter.

.5     On the resulting web-page, enter your First Name, Last Name, email address and if you're asked for a meeting password please enter “RD@S” without the quotes.

.6     Click “Join Now” to use the WebEx app or click “Join by browser” to use your Internet browser;

.7     If you have clicked “Join Now”, you will be asked to Add Webex if it isn’t already downloaded on your computer.  Please select “Run temporary Application”

.8     Select how you want to hear the meeting (i.e. “use computer for audio”, “call me”, “call in”

.9     By default Computer Audio is selected.  To change the setting to use your phone, click on the “Use Computer for Audio” area shown above and select the “Call me” option from the   dropdown menu.  Please enter your phone number and click the blue check mark when done.

.10  In order to speak, click the “Hand” button in the Participants panel on the right hand side of your computer screen.

.11  If you do not see the participants side panel please select the Participants button.

.12  The public hearing Chair will invite participants with a hand raised to speak in turn.

.13  When you are done speaking, click the “Hand” button to “lower” your hand.

.14  To end and leave the meeting please select the “Red X”.

Detailed Instructions

 

How to use Webex to participate in a public hearing using a phone

  1. dial 250-490-4217 or Toll Free at 1-877-610-3737;
  2. when prompted, select your preferred language (i.e. enter "1" for English, followed by #);
  3. when prompted, enter the 9-digit meeting Code, followed by #, to enter the public hearing;
  4. to speak at the public hearing, press "*3" on your phone’s key pad to indicate to the Chair that you wish to participate. This will “raise your hand” in the meeting; 
  5. the public hearing Chair will invite participants with a hand raised to speak in turn; and
  6. when you have finished speaking, please press "*3" on your phone’s key pad to "lower your hand".

Helpful hints for electronic public hearings

  • If a meeting has not yet started, you can wait in the virtual lobby
  • If using a cell phone, please stay in one place where you have good signal
  • If you are using computer audio, make sure you have a microphone if you need to talk.  (If not, you can still watch the public hearing on your computer and use the call in option to listen/speak using your phone.
  • If you have audio or video problems, you can switch to the dial in option
  • You do not have to use the video function to participate in the meeting.  You are welcome to use audio only.
  • Materials that would normally be available at a public hearing will be provided on the proposal’s webpage.
  • Written comments can always be provided in advance of the public hearing.

What happens after a public hearing

  • No new submissions or information will to be received by the Board
  • The Board can, without further notice or hearing:
    • Adopt the bylaw
    • Defeat the bylaw
    • Alter then adopt the bylaw (only if the changes do not alter the use, increase the density, or decrease the density without owner consent)