In the wake of a heated public hearing, a Kamloops city councillor wants to improve the process.
At city council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, Coun. Bill Sarai issued a notice of motion requesting the timeline for written public submissions on developments to be pushed back, in order to allow sufficient time to process the information.
Sarai told KTW that in a couple of instances, council has received late correspondence. The public, including applicants, and media receive it late, as well.
The cutoff time for written submissions, Sarai said, is 3 p.m. on the day of a public hearing. Council typically meets through the afternoon prior, which can result in a situation without sufficient time to digest the new information, Sarai said.
“You have no time to go through them [correspondence] and verify them or find out information and it’s not fair to the people that are putting the correspondence in and it’s not fair to the people that are putting the development permit in or the rezone,” Sarai said.
Sarai noted the recently quashed project at 992 Fernie Rd. in the West End, wherein rezoning was sought for a 16-unit townhouse development. The project was turned down by council earlier this month in a vote of six to three, with neighbourhood opposition chief among reasons cited by council.
“Fernie Road was a perfect example,” Sarai said.
“We got a big petition, a bunch of uproar at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday and the public hearing started at 7 p.m. Even the person doing the development wasn’t aware. On Tuesday at three o’clock, he thought there was no opposition to it. He wasn’t even prepared to come in and Zoom in to say how good it [development project] is because he didn’t think there was any opposition.”
The notice of motion calls for the cutoff for written submissions to be pushed back to Friday at noon, allowing the weekend to digest the information, investigate issues and verify claims, Sarai said. The public may still show up at public hearings and voice concerns, without first writing to the city.