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 the land use bylaw.
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 public hearing.
Those who choose to speak during the public hearing are given up to 5 minutes to speak.
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.
Public Hearing Submissions
After a public hearing date is set by Council, and before the adjournment of the hearing, any person may submit comments. Written comments must be sent to the Municipal Clerk:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- In person or by mail: Town of High River, Attn: Municipal Clerk, 309B Macleod Trail SW, High River AB T1V IZ5
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 Virtual Council Meeting form.
What to expect at a public hearing:
- The Mayor will call the hearing to order.
- The Municipal Clerk 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 Municipal Clerk 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
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.
What is a Public Hearing?
Public hearings provide an opportunity for members of the public to speak to Council on specific matters. Public hearings are formal hearings that must follow rules set out in legislation. Comments may be submitted in writing or verbally during the hearing, and Council can ask questions of the people who are present. Anyone may speak during a Public hearing provided that they comply with the processes established by Council.
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.
How do I Register to Speak?
To speak to Council at a virtual public hearing, you must complete the Request to Speak at a Virtual 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.
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: email@example.com 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.
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. All submissions become public documents, including any personal information contained within them.
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.
The public comments portion of the Council agenda is an opportunity for the public and stakeholders to share information, views, and concerns in relation to a matter that Council is making a decision on as part of that meeting.
The public and other stakeholders can share their public comments by speaking during the public comments portion of the Council meeting. Residents may not utilize the public comments portion to speak on an item that has or will be heard as part of a public hearing.
Those who choose to speak during the public comments section are given up to 5 minutes to speak.
What to expect when attending to give public comments
- The Mayor call the Council meeting to order.
- Council will then adopt the agenda and the previous meeting minutes.
- The Mayor will ask anyone who has public comments to speak. The individual who wishes to speak will need to state and spell their name and provide their municipal address for the record.
- Once public comments are concluded, Council will proceed with the balance of the agenda.
Where do Council Meetings Take Place?
Council meetings are held in Council Chambers, in Town Hall. 309B Macleod Trail SW, High River AB T1V IZ5. Virtual Council meetings can be viewed on the Town’s website. Members of the public are welcome to observe and participate where applicable.
How do I Register to Speak?
To speak to Council during a virtual Council meeting, you must complete the Request to Speak at a Virtual Council Meeting form. For in-person public comments, you may identify your desire to speak at the meeting. To ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to speak, presentation time is limited to five minutes.
What if I Cannot Attend the Meeting?
If you are unable to attend the meeting, you can participate in the process by completing the Authorization to Speak on Someone’s Behalf form in advance and arrange for somebody to share your comments with Council.
What Happens After Public Comments are Received?
Once public comments are received, Council will proceed to debate and decide upon the item at hand.