City makes changes to public hearings

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The City of Kelowna has decided how it is moving forward with public hearings.

On Monday, Community Planning Supervisor Laura Bentley gave council two options.

“The first option would be to hold back to back public hearings in council chambers. This means having an individual public hearing scheduled for each item back to back on the same night,” said Bentley.

Option two suggested holding grouped public hearings at the community theatre.

This option posed some complications with the set up of live broadcasting and electronic attendance by council members.

Bentley said option one would also better maintain the 50 person limit.

“What this would look like is we would have several public hearings scheduled for one day, or council could choose to do it over a couple of days, but essentially we would have one application scheduled for the estimated amount of  time, followed by the subsequent applications.”

Council decided to go with option 1, which will allow for individuals to attend only the hearing for the item they are interested in.

City Clerk Stephen Flemming said the City has not yet looked into electronic participation of the public because it raises a whole list of issues.

“We've sort of jury rigged enabling council to participate until we have some better equipment in this room, so trying to open it up to an unknown number of the public and trying to monitor that, that could be quite challenging as well,” said Flemming.

Flemming added the Province will be announcing new public hearing procedures in coming weeks.

Modified hearings will begin Tuesday May 12th, 2020.

Hearings will be broadcast on the City's website and written submissions are encouraged.