North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring says having public hearings in the evenings will begin in 2019. (File photo)

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring says having public hearings in the evenings will begin in 2019. (File photo)

North Cowichan will now hold public hearings in the evenings to allow more people to attend

Changing from afternoon hearings to allow more public input

North Cowichan’s council has decided to move the time for its public hearings to the evenings starting in 2019.

Council has been holding public hearings on development applications and land-use issues as part of its twice monthly council meetings, which usually occur on Wednesday afternoons beginning at 1:30 p.m., for years.

But Mayor Al Siebring said that, in an effort to make public hearings more accessible for people that work during the day, the plan is to try to hold them once a month in the evening.

RELATED STORY: NORTH COWICHAN’S NEW MAYOR READY TO BRING CHANGE

He said it’s expected they will be held on the Thursday in the week between the two monthly council meetings.

“The issue came up during the election campaign,” Siebring said.

“We are mandated to get public input into land-use issues before council makes any decisions on them, and it’s been determined that holding these meetings at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesdays is not the best way to facilitate the best public input.”

RELATED STORY: CITIZENS UPSET PROPOSAL CLOSES ACCESS TO NORTH COWICHAN COUNCILLORS

Siebring said that years ago, public hearings were held in the evenings separately from council meetings, but the market crash in 2008 saw land-use applications dry up for a time.

He said it was decided that public hearings for the rare applications that were received were best dealt with at council meetings as a time-saving measure, but the economy has changed since then and the municipality is now receiving enough development applications to warrant separate meetings again.

As for requests from the public to hold council meetings in the evenings as well, Siebring said that will be discussed by council during 2019.

He said the municipality is mandated by the province to schedule all council meetings for the upcoming year by Dec. 21 in the previous year, and that work is well advanced.

“We’ve only had two council meetings since the election, and we’ve been busy dealing with other issues,” Siebring said.

“If council wants to begin holding council meetings in the evenings beginning in 2020, then those discussions should begin by September of next year.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Duncan’s City Hall will get a seismic assessment this year. (File photo)
Duncan City Hall to get seismic assessment

City hopes grants will help pay for seismic upgrades

Vandals damaged a picnic table at Spectacle Lake Park with a chainsaw earlier this month. (Linda Mills photo)
Editorial: Vandals make victims of us all

It is infuriating when people target public property for vandalism.

Vees' Jack Barnes picked up his second goal of the season in the team's 5-0 win over Merritt on Saturday. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Cowichan Capitals in deadline dilemma with 20-year-old players

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

The latest homeless count in the Valley found 129 in a 24-hour period. (File photo)
Latest homeless count reveals 129 in the Cowichan Valley

But local officials believe number is higher

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Port of Nanaimo has signed a 50-year-agreement with DP World around short-sea shipping operations at Duke Point Terminal. (News Bulletin file photo)
Lease ‘important first step’ in $105-million Nanaimo port expansion project

Port of Nanaimo and DP World sign 50-year shipping operations agreement for Duke Point

A BC Ferries worker out of Swartz Bay has tested positive for COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Swartz Bay ferry worker confirmed to have COVID-19

Employees in direct contact with worker now isolating

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Most Read