City of Courtenay will listen to virtual public hearings starting Dec. 14.

City of Courtenay will listen to virtual public hearings starting Dec. 14.

City of Courtenay initiates virtual public hearings

Public hearings in the City of Courtenay are going virtual in response to COVID-19.

Several options are available to safely have your say on proposed bylaws for topics such as zoning changes and amendments to the Official Community Plan.

Options to participate include live by Zoom webinar or phone conferencing, and watching the live-streamed public hearing via www.youtube.com/CityofCourtenayBC.

As always, written comments may be submitted by email to planning@courtenay.ca or mailed to Development Services, 830 Cliffe Ave., Courtenay B.C. V9N 2J7. Written submissions must be received by 2 p.m. on the day of the public hearing to be considered.

“Public hearings are an important part of the democratic process for local governments,” said Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells. “They’re an opportunity for those who would be affected by a proposed change to share their views with council so we can make well-rounded decisions with the best possible information. We’ve adapted our usual process to offer these virtually so we can keep the public hearing process inclusive and accessible, while keeping participants and our staff safe during the pandemic.”

The first virtual public hearings are scheduled on Dec. 14 and 16 at 5 p.m. for a number of proposed bylaws. Visit www.courtenay.ca/publichearings for more information, including webinar and phone conferencing details.

Anyone who believes they are affected by a proposed bylaw must have a reasonable opportunity to be heard. Upcoming virtual public hearings are posted in advance on the city website, in the newspaper, on social media, and through notices mailed to surrounding property owners and occupants.

The typical in-person public hearing process at City Hall was suspended in the spring due to COVID-19, in response to mandatory restrictions on gatherings and physical distancing.