The Town is committed to conducting business in an open, transparent and accountable manner. Pursuant to the Community Charter, municipal Councils must hold meetings that are open to the public, with exception of a few specific matters under section 90 of the Charter. Your Town Council values public engagement and is dedicated to advancing a strong and vibrant vision for the future of Sidney.
Every member of Council is responsible to participate in Council meetings and to consider the well-being and interests of the municipality and its community as a whole.
Council is also required to establish a Procedures Bylaw to regulate the proceedings of Council and its Committees.
Procedures for Public Participation during Meetings
At the beginning of every regular Council and Committee of the Whole meeting, the public is given the opportunity to speak to issues related strictly to municipal matters on community concerns. The public is encouraged to participate and provide their feedback, all the while maintaining the highest level of decorum and respect.
- A maximum of 20 minutes (4 minutes for each speaker) is allocated.
- Presentations will be brief and to the point.
- Those wishing to address Council will be asked to specify their name and address for identification and the topic involved before being granted permission to speak.
- Issues must relate strictly to municipal matters on community concerns. Individuals may speak to an agenda item or pose a question to Council.Note: at Committee of the Whole meetings individuals may only speak or ask questions on an item on the agenda.
- Questions shall be on topics which will not normally be dealt with by municipal staff as a matter of routine.
- Questions shall be addressed through the Chair and if the questions can be answered either by the Chair or through the Chair, Council will endeavour to do so. Otherwise, the questions will be referred to staff.
OCP Amendment, Rezoning, Development Permit, and Development Variance Permit Applications
An additional public participation opportunity is available at Council and Committee of the Whole Meetings for the public to provide feedback or ask questions of the applicant when an OCP Amendment Application, Rezoning Application, Development Permit Application, or Development Variance Permit application is first being presented to Council or Committee of the Whole.
Public Hearings for Official Community Plan Bylaw Amendments and Zoning Bylaw Amendments are held prior to regular business at Council meetings. Public Hearings are advertised in the local newspaper and on the Public Notices page. Notification is also delivered directly to the owners and occupants of surrounding properties. Background documentation regarding the proposal is available at Town Hall, during regular business hours, and on the Active Development Applications page.
Town Council welcomes input from residents and encourages the public to offer comments in person or in writing. Those who believe that their interest in property is affected by the proposed amendment shall be afforded a reasonable opportunity to be heard or to present written submissions. Please note that any correspondence submitted will form part of a public record and may be published in a meeting agenda. Copies of written submissions will be provided to Council, but will not be read aloud.
The public shall become familiar with the facts prior to the hearing. The hearing is an opportunity to express opinions pertaining to the facts, not to ask questions. Municipal staff are available, during regular working hours, to answer any questions regarding a potential proposal.
Council’s main role is to listen to the public and ask questions for clarification, not to debate or challenge what is being said.
During the Public Hearing, Council will:
- listen to all representatives;
- have an open mind;
- give an opportunity for the public to present all views; and
- ask questions for clarification.
During the Public Hearing, Council will not:
- make its own views known;
- disclose its deliberations;
- debate the merits or otherwise; and
- respond to questions.
Following the Public Hearing, Council will:
- debate the issue; and
- disclose its deliberations when the bylaw is brought forward for consideration.
- The Mayor will introduce the bylaw and state the procedures for the public hearing.
- The Chief Administrative Officer will read aloud the notice for the public hearing.
- The Mayor will call for public input a total of 3 times for those persons wishing to speak in favor or in opposition to the application.
- Those wishing to speak must come to the microphone, state their name and address for identification and then give their comments. Direct all comments and answers through the Mayor, who is addressed as the “Mayor” or “Your Worship”. Everyone will be given reasonable opportunity to be heard and no one will be, or should feel, discouraged, intimidated or prevented from making his or her views heard. We request that the dialogue remain respectful at all times in order to allow all views to be heard.
- Written submissions will not be read aloud. Correspondence will be copied and circulated to Council.
- Council, at any time, may ask questions of any presenter or of staff for clarification purposes.
- Once the call for public input has been given 3 times and there are no further speakers, the Mayor will official close the hearing and no further submissions from the public can be received.
- Once the Public Hearing is closed, Council may not receive any additional information other than to clarify issues raised at the Public Hearing.
- The bylaw will then be debated by Council later on in the Agenda, under the Bylaws section.