It may not make them shorter, but Kelowna residents will get their say sooner at public hearings before council.
“Moving forward we will allow staff to present, then the applicant and then we’ll go right to the public,” explained Mayor Tom Dyas.
“Then the applicant will be allowed 10 minutes to address public questions, then council can ask questions.”
Up until now, the public hearing process allowed city staff and the applicant to make their presentations, with council being able to ask questions of both. The public would have to wait until that process was complete before making comment.
“It’s just going to clean up that process a little bit and let the public be heard in a timely fashion,” added Dyas.
The motion was brought forward by the mayor and did not require a vote of council.
Coun. Mohini Singh asked her colleagues their thoughts about late meetings, as many previous public hearings have gone late into the evening or the early morning hours.
City Clerk Stephen Flemming said that issue has been flagged by staff and options to amend council procedure bylaw will be coming by early January.
Staff also told council public hearings, usually held on Tuesday evenings, will be scheduled once a month, following the relaxation of provincial regulations. However, those meetings can be added to the schedule as needed.