What is the difference between a public open house and a public hearing?
Public Open Houses/ Public Information Meetings
It is common practice of local governments to require an applicant to host a public information meeting, usually for complex and large proposed projects. Although this category of meeting is not statutory requirement in relation to development applications, it can be a useful tool to distribute information and accommodate a two-way discussion of issues unlike “public hearings.” There are a few legal snares that can occur in a public information meeting particularly with respect to elected officials mindfulness of the “amenable to persuasion” rule that has its basis in case law. This ensures application processes maintain their legal integrity.

It should be noted that proponents of a proposed project are free to hold public information meetings on their own accord with or without local government involvement. It is relatively common for proponents to host one or more such meeting for large or complex projects to gauge community support and resolve identified issues with the community in advance of a development application.

Public Hearings
Public hearings are required by the Local Government Act in cases where local governments are considering bylaws to adopt an official community plan or zoning bylaw amendment. The Act public hearings must be held after first reading of the proposed bylaw and before third reading. The purpose of a hearing is to permit individuals who believe their interest in property is affected by the proposed bylaw to make written or verbal representations to the elected officials in relation to matters contained in the bylaw. This type of formal meeting does not permit two-way discussions with the primary obligation of the elected officials being to simply “hear” the information presented to them.

At a public hearing, elected officials are required under common law to be amenable to persuasion, though they may hold strong views on the matter. Once a public hearing has been concluded, elected officials are not permitted to receive any new information. That said, it is possible for additional public hearings should important new information be identified that is central to the decision-making process.

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1. Does the CVRD have plans to hold a public information meeting to discuss the proposed project?
2. What is the difference between a public open house and a public hearing?
3. Do CVRD zoning regulations still apply to the Bamberton lands?
4. What does the Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw state about LNG operations on the Bamberton lands?
5. Has Malahat LNG Inc. applied for a development permit or zoning or any other permits for the project?
6. If a development application is submitted to the CVRD for an LNG facility, what is the process and will there be an opportunity for community input?
7. What are the Board’s recent Resolutions relating to LNG?
8. Are elected officials free to hold and express their opinion on LNG or other land use proposals in the Cowichan Valley?
9. Has CVRD staff met with Malahat LNG Inc. or Malahat Nation about a potential LNG project on the Bamberton lands?
10. What are the associated bylaws?
11. Is the CVRD required to accept and consider an application for an Official Community Plan or Zoning Bylaw amendment for the purpose of seeking approval to develop an LNG facility at Bamberton?