Chilliwack/Victoria – (City of Chilliwack Media Release) – Under the new requirements of provincial Bill 44, the Housing Statutes (Residential Development) Amendment Act, the City of Chilliwack is not permitted to hold public hearings for residential development rezoning applications that align with the 2040 Official Community Plan. Council gave first, second, and third reading to amendments to the Public Hearing/Public Information Meeting Procedural Bylaw to implement new zoning procedures on February 6, 2024, in alignment with provincial legislation.
While public hearings may no longer be held for residential development rezoning applications (including mixed use development with at least 50% residential) when they are consistent with the Official Community Plan, appropriate public notice of these rezoning applications will continue, including signage on the affected property, advertisements in the local paper, and mailed notices to neighbours within 30 metres of the subject property.
“In the past, the City of Chilliwack has received community input through public hearings and still been one of the fastest-growing municipalities in Canada, so it is difficult to understand the Province’s decision to prohibit this kind of public participation,” said Mayor Popove. “Every community in BC needs more housing, but this provincial one-size-fits-all approach to public hearings is a disservice to local residents who want to be involved in their neighbourhoods.”
Under this provincial legislation, municipalities may only hold public hearings for temporary use permits, development variance permits, and rezoning applications that do not align with the Official Community Plan. Each municipality’s Official Community Plan must also be updated by December 31, 2025.