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South Cowichan Zoning Bylaw No. 3520 The Bamberton lands on the east side of the Trans Canada Highway have a number of different zoning designations. These include Heavy Industrial 2 (I-2), Bamberton Light Industrial 1A Zone (I-1A), Rural Resource 1 (RUR-1) and Rural Resource (RUR-2). The water surface of the Saanich Inlet adjacent to the Bamberton Lands is zoned Heavy Industrial (I-2) and Marine Conservation 1 (W-1). None of the zones that apply to the Bamberton Lands or the water surface adjacent to the Bamberton Lands permit the storage and distribution of liquefied natural gas.
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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 HearingsPublic 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.
For more information, feel free to review the Rezoning Development Guide.
2. March 9, 2016 Board:#16-156 While the Board of the CVRD has expressed its opposition and lack of support for future Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) projects in the Cowichan Valley, the Board is aware of its responsibilities to give appropriate consideration to any land use application that might be made to the Regional District in accordance with the Local Government Act.
The manner of free expression is shaped somewhat by the legal obligations associated with a pending or an actual development application that is to be considered by the elected body. In this case, although an elected official is free to express their view on any given subject, it is considered prudent to ensure any view expressed respects the legal obligation of the elected official to maintain an “open mind” or be amenable to persuasive arguments either in favour or in opposition to a proposed bylaw. This helps ensure an elected official is not perceived to have prejudged the merits of any application, whether or not it happens to be consistent with an official community plan or zoning bylaw or any other consideration. Applications for official community plan and rezoning amendments are common components of local government business.
The requirements of procedural of fairness inherent in the rezoning process, as set out in case law, require elected officials to maintain an open mind. So, although they are entitled to hold and express opinions about issues of concern to the community, they must be prepared to listen to and weigh the arguments made both in favour of and in opposition to an application.
The Courts have stated that elected officials must be prepared to change their views based on the information presented by an applicant, including information presented at a public hearing. It is important to note that a Board or Council functions as a quasi-judicial body, with all associated responsibilities for procedural integrity, in the consideration of development applications. Otherwise, if a court finds an elected official had a closed mind, and was not prepared to change their views, no matter what information was presented, the elected official risks being disqualified from voting on the matter.