What happens at Public Hearings

At Public Hearings, City Council's role is to listen to you when it decides on a rezoning application or heritage designation.

During each agenda item


Item summary

The city clerk summarizes the agenda item and written correspondence received for it.


Staff presentation

City planning staff explain the application and their recommendation.


Applicant presentation

The applicant may add further explanation or reasons why the application should be approved, and may comment on the staff recommendation.


Public presentations

The mayor calls on public speakers in the order they registered.

  • Council will hear all registered speakers. If many people have signed up to speak, you may have to attend more than one meeting until it's your turn.
  • Your presentation can only address the merits of the application – be concise. Get tips to prepare your talk
  • After you finish, Council may ask you or staff questions to understand what you said. Council doesn't debate or challenge your comments. You don't have to respond to Council's questions.
  • After the last speaker, the mayor will call three times for anyone else who wishes to address Council on the application. The applicant and staff can make a brief summary comment at this time.


Council discussion

Council discusses and decides on the application.

  • The discussion begins with a Council motion to approve, approve with amendments, or refuse the application.
  • Council members may comment on the application and explain why they agree or disagree with the motion. Members may ask for clarification or technical advice from staff.
  • Council may adjourn if it needs more time to consider the application, and will discuss and decide at a later date, usually the next regular Council meeting.


Council vote

The mayor calls for a vote on the motion after Council members have spoken.

  • If the motion fails, other motions are often put forward and voted on.
  • If Council refuses the application, a similar application may not be submitted for one calendar year. Council can make an exception if it decides that circumstances have changed for the new application.
  • If Council approves the application (with or without amendments), the approval usually comes with conditions that the applicant has to meet before Council enacts the changed zoning bylaw.
  • In the period between Council approval and enactment of the bylaw, Council members attending can't discuss the application with the applicant or the public. This is to prevent Council receiving information that would otherwise be unavailable to either the applicant or the public.