Coun. Colin Plant tweeted that there was no public in attendance by the end of the public hearing in Saanich on Tuesday evening. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Saanich council giggles through public-less public hearing

By the third item at Monday’s public hearing, council and staff were alone in chambers

“Do you hold a public hearing if no public is there?” asked Saanich Coun. Colin Plant on Twitter on Tuesday evening. As it turns out, the meeting proceeds as though there is an audience.

The Aug. 13 public hearing had three items on the agenda and according to Plant, by the time number three was on the floor, there was no one left in the audience.

The third agenda item focused on the rezoning of several park properties in the District. After staff spoke on the matter and councillors asked clarifying questions, Mayor Fred Haynes proceed with the public hearing format.

READ ALSO: Saanich council supports new bowling alley proposal for Uptown

Haynes joked about the lack of audience members before formally offering members of the public the opportunity to come forward and address the matter at hand. He explained the public hearing process to the empty gallery. Immediately after, he made a second and third call for public comments.

“Members of the public, we know you’re out there. If you’d like to come forward to address the matter on the floor to council, please give your name, your address and you have five minutes,” said Haynes while councillors giggled.

Haynes then closed the matter to the public. The councillors all voted to approve the motion and the meeting was adjourned.

Plant said that in over four years in local politics, he’s never been to a public hearing where there was no one in the gallery. Tuesday’s meeting started with about 50 residents in the gallery and by the time the second item was on the floor, there were only three people remaining and those folks left before the third item was introduced.

READ ALSO: Saanich resident calls for gas leaf blower ban

Some public hearings will draw a crowd of over 100 people, said Plant, but it depends on the controversy of the items on the agenda.

He did note that the live web-casting of all council meetings may encourage residents to watch from home rather than physically attend.

“In my opinion Saanich has a very healthy level of engagement in decision-making,” said Plant. “I have come to learn that Saanich has a very significant focus on public engagement and that our residents are engaged and their input is valued.”

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

Just Posted

Pandemic spurs egg-citement for backyard chickens in Greater Victoria

Fowl surge in popularity during COVID-19 pandemic

Saanich looks at allowing alcohol in parks after North Vancouver gives the green light

Bylaw allowing liquor in parks ‘a very positive idea,’ mayor says

Pandemic profiles: Passion at the heart of community businesses

Businesses rely on community support to stay open

Organizer, Victoria councillor, VicPD talk about upcoming rally for Black lives

‘It’s a simple ask’: Peace rally for Black lives organizer asks people to listen

George Floyd mural appears on Victoria street

Victoria artist Paul Archer painted the mural outside his shop on Fort Street

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

‘Alarmed’: Health critic calls for more data on COVID-19 in trucking industry

Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec said that level of detail is not being collected

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Most Read