A new date for a Public Hearing about the proposed change to bylaws on Spring Bank Avenue has been set, after staff admitted an error at the previous meeting.

Due to the current order not allowing any members of the public to attend meetings in-person, city staff allowed the community extra time to make submissions for the initial March 23rd public meeting on the subject. Traditionally, submissions must be made the Friday before the meeting, though in this special case, the deadline was extended until the Monday prior.

Though this extension gave the public more time to provide their input, it put city staff on more of a time crunch to process the information, as well as for the public to ensure that their submission was properly recorded amongst the pack of submissions.

As such, some submissions were not recorded and presented at the initial Public Hearing. Under the Local Government Act, all people who believe their interest in land is affected must be able to make submissions prior to third reading.

Due to these confusions, city staff brought forward to council at the April 6 regular meeting that the third reading of the bylaw change be repealed, and brought forward again at a later date. Previous submissions that were not included in the initial package will be presented at the new Public Hearing, while new submissions by the public are also welcome.

The resolution passed with all in favour.

The change to the bylaw on Spring Bank Avenue from ‘future development’ to ‘residential’ was approved through a third reading by a 4-3 vote initially. Councillors Melvina White, Mike Bhangu, and Adam Etchart were opposed.

The Public Hearing is scheduled for Tues. April 20. Written or electronic submissions can be made prior to Fri. April 16 at 12p.m.

For future Public Hearings, staff intends to return permanently to the Friday submission deadline to ensure that this situation does not arise again.

A copy of the proposed Bylaw amendments may be viewed Monday to Friday 10:00am to 12:00pm from April 7th to April 20th, 2021 at City Hall, 2185 Voght Street, Merritt BC, or online at any time at www.merritt.ca .