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Public Hearings - Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Public Hearing?

Public Hearings are opportunities for the public to share their opinions and views on specific topics with Regional Council or Community Councils.

Public Hearings are:

  • Held on specific topics
  • Held as part of a Regional Council or Community Council meeting
  • Advertised in advance
  • Open for anyone to speak or submit written comments (before 3pm the day of the hearing)

Public Hearings are typically held to consider planning and development related matters, or to consider new By-Laws or changes to existing By-Laws.

Upcoming Public Hearings are advertised in The Chronicle Herald at least two weeks in advance (with the exception of By-Law N-200 Noise Exemption applications). The advertisement will include the date, time, and location of the Hearing.

Anyone may speak at the public hearing, or may submit their comments in writing to the Municipal Clerk’s Office before 3pm the day of the hearing.

How do I sign up to speak at a Public Hearing?

On the night of the public hearing, a sign-up sheet will be available, usually starting 30 minutes before the meeting. Anyone who would like to speak may add their name to the list.

You must:

  • Add your name in person (not via phone/email)
  • Add only your own name to the list – not the name of another person

What will happen during the Public Hearing?

Staff will give an overview of the topic and respond to questions of clarification from Council. The applicant (or designate) will then be given 10 minutes to present his/her proposal after which he/she will respond to questions of clarification from members of Council. Then, the Chair will call the names on the list of speakers in order. Each person may speak for a maximum of five (5) minutes.

If you don’t add your name to the list, there is still an opportunity to speak. After all the names on the list have been called, the Chair will call three times for any additional speakers. You can indicate your wish to speak at that time.

After the Public Hearing has been closed, Council may discuss the topic. They may make their decision at that time, or they may defer it to a future date. They will not hear any further speakers or accept any further written comments on the topic.

How do I submit written comments for a Public Hearing?

You may submit written comments for a Public Hearing to the Municipal Clerk's Office:

Municipal Clerk's Office
1841 Argyle Street (City Hall)
Main Floor
PO Box 1749
Halifax NS B3J 3A5

Fax: (902) 490-4208

Your comments must include at least your first initial and last name – anonymous submissions will not be distributed.

If your comments are more than three (3) pages long, you must provide copies to the Municipal Clerk's Office:

  • Regional Council - 30 copies
  • Community Council - 10 copies

Your comments must be received before 3:00 pm on the date of the public hearing. Comments received after this time will not be distributed. 

What will happen to my written comments?

Your written comments will be distributed to Members of Regional Council or the Community Council, as well as relevant staff. They will be kept on file as part of the official public record.

As part of the public record, your comments will be distributed to other members of the public on request. Your signature and contact information will be removed before your comments are distributed to the public; however, your full submission may be viewed by request in the Municipal Clerk's Office.

What will happen if there isn't enough time to hear all the speakers?

If the Public Hearing can’t be finished on the original date, Council will choose a date for a continuation. Only the people whose names are on the speakers list on the first day may speak at the continuation. For further information, please contact the Municipal Clerk's Office.

How can I learn more about a Public Hearing topic?

Public Hearings are included as part of Regional Council or Community Council meetings. Meeting agendas and reports are available online.


More Questions? 

If you have more questions about Public Hearings, please contact the Municipal Clerk's Office.