Public hearings are an opportunity for people who are affected by projects or proposals to address Town of High River Council
Public Hearings Overview
Public hearings are an opportunity for people who are affected by projects or proposals to address Town of High River Council. Public hearings are required by the Municipal Government Act as part of the adoption or amendment process for statutory plans and bylaws.
- The public and other stakeholders can participate in the public hearing process by speaking in person during the public hearing, or by providing written comments on the subject matter.
- Written correspondence must be received by the Town of High River 7 days before the public hearing. Any correspondence received after the public hearing cannot be considered by Council, so it is important that concerned parties participate in the scheduled public hearing.
- Those who choose to speak during the public hearing are given up to 5 minutes to speak (this does not include the time it takes to answer questions from Council).
Public Hearing Governance
Public hearings are formal proceedings that follow rules set out by provincial and local legislation. The date and time of a public hearing is set by Council motion and advertised in accordance with the Municipal Government Act.
Where are Public Hearings Held?
Public hearings are held in Council Chambers, in Town Hall. 309B Macleod Trail SW, High River AB T1V IZ5. Virtual public hearings can be viewed on the Town’s website. Members of the public are welcome to observe and participate where applicable.
According to the Municipal Government Act, Council must hold a public hearing before the second reading of a bylaw, or before they vote on a resolution regarding matters, which include but are not limited to:
- Disposal of municipal and school reserve;
- Removal of municipal reserve designation;
- Change to environmental reserve use or boundaries;
- Land use planning bylaws;
- Land use bylaw and its amendments;
- Municipal development plan;
- Area structure plans;
- Area redevelopment plans;
- Intermunicipal development plans.
Council may also choose to hold a non-statutory public hearing for matters where it deems it necessary.
How to Participate in a Public Hearing
After a public hearing date is set by Council, and before the adjournment of the hearing, any person may submit comments.
- To speak to Council at a Virtual public hearing, you must complete the Request to Speak at a Council Meeting form.
- For in person Public hearings, you may identify your desire to speak at the meeting. To ensure everyone an equal opportunity to speak, presentation time is limited to five minutes.
- Anyone may speak during a Public hearing provided that they comply with the processes established by Council.
- Council may ask questions of the people who are present.
Submitting Written Comments
Comments may be submitted in writing or verbally during the hearing. All submissions to a public hearing must be received prior to, or during, a hearing. Submissions cannot be made following the conclusions of public representations.
Note: All submissions become public documents, including any personal information contained within them.
Written comments must be sent to the Manager of Legislative Services:
- Email: email@example.com
- In person or by mail: Town of High River, Attn: Manager of Legislative Services, 309B Macleod Trail SW, High River AB T1V IZ5
What if I Cannot Attend the Meeting?
- If you are unable to attend a public hearing, you can participate in the process by submitting your comments in writing to: firstname.lastname@example.org by the deadline set out in the advertisement.
- Alternatively, you may complete the Authorization to Speak on Someone's Behalf form in advance and arrange for somebody to share your comments with Council.
- Any person may make verbal comments at the public hearing, provided that they do not exceed 5 minutes. In order to make verbal comments during a virtual public hearing, please submit the Request to Speak at a Council Meeting form.
What to expect at a public hearing
- The Mayor will call the hearing to order.
- The Manager of Legislative Services will state the purpose of the public hearing, how it was advertised and notify Council regarding the number of submissions that have been received by the due date. Any submissions received after the due date but before the adjournment of the public hearing will be included in the meeting minutes, and their submissions will be included in the public hearing record.
- The Mayor will then invite Administration to provide context and background for the matter under consideration.
- If there is an applicant, that person or their agent will be asked by the Mayor to present the content of their request. This is the only opportunity for the applicant to speak, unless asked a question by Council.
- Council will have an opportunity to ask questions of Administration and the applicant.
- The Mayor will invite members of the public to speak. Typically, the Mayor will alternate between those in favour, those opposed, and those who are neutral. Speakers must confine their comments to five minutes, not including time for any questions from Council.
- The Mayor will give Administration an opportunity to provide closing comments.
- The Mayor will adjourn the public hearing. Council may not accept any further formal submissions after the hearing closes.
Public Hearing Records
After the public hearing adjourns, the Manager of Legislative Services will prepare a record of the public hearing that includes the minutes from the public hearing.
The minutes will record:
- The names of Administration and the applicant, or representatives of the applicant, who presented at the hearing; and
- The names of the members of the public and addresses who provided written and/or verbal submissions, along with a general indication of support, opposition, or neutrality, but not a summary of the presentations and/or a copy of any written materials provided in advance of the deadline.
The record of public submissions will include:
- The approved minutes;
- Written submissions received from administration, the applicant, and members of the public, and
- A copy of the recording of the meeting.
- Decisions Requiring a Public Hearing
What Happens After a Public Hearing?
Once a public hearing has been adjourned, Council may not consider any further public input. This means that any comments received after the hearing cannot be formally recognized by Council or become part of the public record. After the public hearing Council will decide to:
- Make amendments (if necessary) and pass the bylaw;
- Defeat the bylaw;
- Postpone consideration of the bylaw to another date; or
- Make a decision regarding passing a resolution or other action considered in relation to the public hearing.