First things first, I agree with everything stated in your letter to MLA Plecas.

One thing that comes to mind, that I don’t think you have raised, is the useless nature of a Public Hearing – as the City of Abbotsford uses them.  There is not, and cannot be, any communication or discussion in the process.  People who oppose a zoning amendment can state their opposition at a Hearing – IF they are brave enough to stand in the Council presence; in front of a daunting array of Councillors and a Mayor; in front of about 10 to 15 city staffers; and in front of the developer and his/her support team; in front of the public peers; and in front of numerous press members.  The person raising opposition is situated in a position lower than the overbearing Council, like a criminal in front of a Judge and Jury.  Staff MAY be asked to respond to the opposition, but if their views contain erroneous information, the Presenter is NOT allowed to correct them. The system does not allow any discussion, pro or con, by Council.  The Presenter has no way whatsoever to determine if he/she has been heard.  What’s the point of a Hearing where no-one is heard??  Abbotsford Public Hearings are a perfect example of “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind’s made up”!

An important issue affecting a large number of citizen SHOULD be the subject of a Public Meeting, held locally at a neutral venue, with a minimum number of Council present – where reasons, and rationale, and options, and concerns, and opinions, and values etcetera can be openly shared.  No judgement!  No attitudes!  No preconceived decisions!  But the process has to be formal enough to allow Minutes to be taken and presented to Council members or local land owners not present at the Public Meeting. Then at a Public Hearing, values presented at the Public Meeting, and heard by Council, can be included in the introduction to the Hearing.