Land Use and Planning - Public Hearings

Public Hearings

All Planning related Public Hearings willl be listed as a sub page, under this page, on the navigation bar to the left.

Public Hearings

A public hearing is also a statutory requirement for Official Community Plan Bylaw Amendments and is utilized for most Zoning Bylaws Amendments. It is an opportunity for members of the public to be heard by the Regional District Board and let their views be known.

At the public hearing, all persons who believe that their interest in property is affected by the proposed bylaw must be afforded a reasonable opportunity to be heard or to present written submissions respecting matters contained in the bylaw that is the subject of the hearing. Community participation in the public hearing processes is one of the most important actions in becoming involved in the community planning process.

 How to Participate in a Public Hearing

1.  Attend the public hearing

(NOTE: Generally, the public can attend a public hearing in person.  However, during the Provincial State of Emergency, public hearings will be held electronically and physical attendance will be limited).

The Chair will ask if anyone wishes to speak.

  • When it is your turn to speak, begin by stating your name and address clearly for the record.
  • Depending on turn-out at the public hearing, you may be asked by the Chair to limit your comments to 5 minutes until everyone who wishes to speak has had an opportunity to do so.
  • You may speak additional times after everyone has had an opportunity to speak first.

2.  Provide written comments.

  • You can provide written representations at any time until the close of the public hearing.
  • You do not have to attend a public hearing to submit written comments; you can submit your comments in advance to the Regional District.
  • Written comments can be submitted in the following ways:

-        by email to
-        by mail to Box 590, 202 Lakeside Drive, Nelson, BC V1L 5R4
-        in person at the RDCK office during office hours or
-        at the public hearing (for in-person public hearings only)

 What Happens at a Public Hearing

  • The public hearing is chaired by the local Electoral Area Director.
  • The Chair will open the public hearing by making an address and ask Staff to briefly outline the proposal.
  • The Chair may ask that the applicant present their proposal.
  • The Chair will ask if there are any questions for staff or the applicant (if present) and make a speakers list.
  • The Chair will ask if anyone from the public wishes to speak and make a speakers list.  This is an opportunity to state whether you support or are opposed to the bylaw(s) and the reasons why. 
  • The Chair will ask three times if there is anyone who wishes to speak before closing the public hearing.

Where are Public Hearings Held

On May 1, 2020, Ministerial Order M139 under the Emergency Program Act  enables local governments to hold a public hearing by means of electronic or other communication facilities.

Until further notice, the RDCK will be holding all public hearings electronically or via a hybrid model where public can attend the hearing remotely or in person in a modified manner. The intent is to ensure equitable access to the public process while offering remote and socially distant options to protect our community’s health. For more information, please refer to RDCK’s COVID-19 Public Hearing Policy.

The date, time and location of a public hearing will be provided in public notice for each public hearing.  The meeting “location” is a web address or telephone number or physical location set for a specific public hearing.

What is Different About Electronic Public Hearings

The main difference between an in-person public hearing and an electronic public hearing is that at an electronic public hearing the public can attend without physically attending a location.

The RDCK will be using a web-based meeting platform, Webex, for electronic public hearings and the public can attend by phone or computer to listen, observe or participate in the public hearing.

Information about the proposal will be provided on the RDCK Applications in Progress webpage for the proposed bylaw for public inspection.  This will include all the information that would typically be presented in a binder at an in-person public hearing, including public submissions and a copy of the bylaw.

Electronic public hearings will provide the same opportunity for interested parties to have their opinions heard.

It is highly recommended that written comments are submitted in advance of the public hearing. 

How to use WebEx to Participate in a Public Hearing Using a Computer

  1. Contact the applicable Planner listed on the Notice to be emailed an invite including the meeting link and click the link.


Open a web-page browser (e.g. Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome).

Enter into the web-page browser on your computer.

2.Type the meeting number into the box under “Join a Meeting” and press Enter.On the resulting web-page, enter your First Name, Last Name, email address and enter the password if prompted.

3.Click “Join Now” to use the WebEx app or click “Join by browser” to use your Internet browser.

4.If you have clicked “Join Now”, you will be asked to Add Webex if it isn’t already downloaded on your computer.  Please select “Run temporary Application”.

5.Select how you want to hear the meeting (i.e. “use computer for audio”, “call me”, “call in”.

6.By default Computer Audio is selected.  To change the setting to use your phone, click on the “Use Computer for Audio” area shown above and select the “Call me” option from the dropdown menu.  Please enter your phone number and click the blue check mark when done.

7.Place yourself on mute when not speaking by clicking the red microphone at the bottom of the page.

8.In order to speak, click the “Hand” button in the Participants panel on the right hand side of your computer screen.

9.If you do not see the participants side panel please select the Participants button.

10.The public Hearing Chair will invite participants with a hand raised to speak in turn.

11.When you are done speaking, click the “Hand” button to “lower” your hand and put yourself back on mute.

12.To end and leave the meeting please select the “Red X”.

  How to use Webex to participate in a public hearing using a phone

  1.  Telephone participants will not be able to see the shared screen but can access the same materials from the [RDCK Applications in Progress] webpage.
  2.  Dial the telephone number provided as “Location”.
  3. When prompted, select your preferred language (i.e. enter "1" for English, followed by #).
  4.  When prompted, enter the 9-digit meeting Access Code, followed by #, to enter the public hearing.
  5.  To speak at the public hearing, press "*3" on your phone’s key pad to indicate to the Chair that you wish to participate. This will “raise your hand” in the meeting.
  6.  The public hearing Chair will invite participants with a hand raised to speak in turn.
  7.  When you have finished speaking, please press "*3" on your phone’s key pad to "lower your hand".

 How to Participate in a Public Hearing at a Physical Location

  1.  RDCK encourages attendance by Webex or by advance written statement, if possible, to minimize those that may need to attend in person.
  2.  If you would like to attend in person, please try to limit the size of your party.
    1. Capacity will be limited to 1 person per 150 square feet in order to keep 2.0 m social distancing;
    2. In no circumstance will total attendance be greater than 50 people including the Chair and Staff;
    3. Should the number of attendees be greater than the safe capacity, an overflow area may be prepared outside the space;
    4. Hand sanitizer will be made available and required before entry;
    5. Attendees will be encouraged to wear masks;
    6. Staff will sign participants in to limit shared contact surfaces;
    7. Staff will retain the names and contact details of all participants for at least one month, and state clearly that their details will be shared with local public health authorities if any participant becomes ill with COVID-19. If you do not agree to this you cannot attend the public hearing;
    8. Individual paper public hearing packages will be provided to limit shared contact surfaces;
    9. Queues to enter the space and chairs within will be spaced 2.0 m apart; and,
    10. Windows and doors will be kept open as possible.

Helpful hints for electronic public hearings

  • If a meeting has not yet started, you can wait in the virtual lobby.
  • Keep yourself on mute when not speaking to avoid background noise.
  • Use headphones for better quality sound.
  • If using a cell phone, please stay in one place where you have good signal.
  • If you are using computer audio, make sure you have a microphone if you need to talk.  (If not, you can still watch the public hearing on your computer and use the call in option to listen/speak using your phone.
  • If you have audio or video problems, you can switch to the dial in option.
  • You do not have to use the video function to participate in the meeting.  You are welcome to use audio only.
  • Materials that would normally be available at a public hearing will be provided on the proposal’s webpage.
  • Written comments can always be provided in advance of the public hearing.

 What happens after a public hearing

  1. No new submissions or information will to be received by the Board
  2. The Board can, without further notice or hearing:
    • Adopt the bylaw
    • Defeat the bylaw
    • Alter then adopt the bylaw (only if the changes do not alter the use, increase the density, or decrease the density without owner consent)

The content on this page was last updated July 27 2020 at 9:52 AM