Have your say on reforming public engagement on land-use bylaws
December 19, 2023
BY Kevin Zakreski
The British Columbia Law Institute has launched a public consultation on improving BC’s legislation that governs public engagement when a local government is enacting a land-use bylaw. The centrepiece of this consultation is the Consultation Paper on Renovating the Public Hearing, which gives readers information on the current law, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and a range of options for reform.
We note that the province has just adopted Bill 44, a new law that limits the use of public hearings. In this consultation, we hope to hear from all members of the public, and look forward to receiving comments that will assist the BCLI Renovate the Public Hearing Project Committee in developing its final recommendations for reform.
Public hearings have been a feature of BC’s land-use legislation for local governments for about 100 years. Recently, critics have questioned whether public hearings are serving the purpose of providing a deliberative forum to assist local governments in making decisions on land-use planning. The Renovate the Public Hearing Project provides an opportunity to think about public engagement on land use from first principles, consider new insights into group deliberation, and create a better way for local governments to engage the public.
Copies of the consultation paper, a short backgrounder summarizing its contents, and a link to our survey are all available at the project webpage. The consultation is open until 15 March 2024.