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County Council defeats hybrid approach for public hearings

Posted on June 24, 2020 by 40 Mile Commentator

By Justin Seward


Cypress County council defeated the motion direct administration to implement a hybrid approach to allow members of the public to participate in public hearings in person at their June 16 meeting.
The hybrid approach would have meant the scenario of if there was a public hearing in the council chambers and what would it like for participants.
“Our requirement under the regulation is that the meetings have to be live streamed. But if we’re bringing those individuals to the council chambers and what about those people that don’t have that electronic availability to be able to stand outside the council meeting and listen?” said Kaylene Simpson, the county’s planning supervisor.
“So really trying to balance the needs of both sides.”
Municipalities have to make sure they’re consistent with the public hearing process for each bylaw that is received under the provincial regulations.
“Under previous council direction, that we already previously obtained, we had already gone on to advertise for the public hearing on July 7,” said Simpson.
“We had already detailed the mechanisms for individuals to participate. That’s process council wanted to follow with.
“I think there was also concerns to that if there is something that changes in the next few weeks with the province, if those restrictions on gatherings are put back into place, then what process would we follow then. We might be back to do electronic meetings once again. The other concern was if we had enough space in our council chambers to effectively to be able to allow all those individuals to participate, while maintaining that two-metre separations.
The possibility of a private venue came up, but due to those facilities having their own limitations or restrictions on gatherings and is not doable.
“I think all those collectively, resulted in council sticking with their previous motion,” said Simpson.
People can alternatively submit their concerns to those public hearings to an internal email inbox at the county office.
“During the public hearing, there is a way for people to engage the council and provide their comments during the public hearing,” she said.
“Individuals will be able to still write in their submissions in advance of the hearing as normal. But during the public hearing, rather than having the oral back and forth with council, they’ll have the opportunity to email in their comments throughout the meeting.”
Once the reeve closes the public hearing, there will be no other comments specific to that bylaw, she added.
People will be able to be able to participate in the public hearings through the live stream, where they can log on to and click on the video link next to the July 7 agenda.
There will be three public hearings that day including for the Reuben’s Veggies greenhouse land reclassification, Dunmore’s Gasoline Alley Area Structure Plan and a country residential proposal for JVP Enterprises.
Council briefs:
Speed limit survey:
Council directed administration to conduct an online survey to help with the decision to reduce the speed limit from 50 kilometres to 40 kilometres an hour in hamlets.
The survey can be done at July 31.
The information gathered will help in the desire for change.
Greenhouse waste
Council directed administration to research greenhouse waste and bring recommendation’s back when the Land-use bylaw and the Municipal Development Plan are being reviewed in the fall. The decision stemmed from a previous public hearing of reclassifying land from Agricultural District 2 “A-2 General Agriculture” to Agricultural District 4 “A-4 Greenhouse” and a concern came up of greenhouse waste.
Cat Control
Coun. Ernest Mudie moved the motion to direct Administration to “draft a Cat Bylaw applicable and enforceable in hamlets only and to research the costs associated with impounding lost or found cats as stated in the agenda package.

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