Public Hearings are your chance to share your opinions and views on specific topics with Regional Council or community councils.
Are you looking for information about Virtual Public Hearings?
Public Hearings are open for anyone to speak at or to submit written comments to.
Public hearings are typically held to discuss:
• planning and development related matters
• new by-laws or changes to existing by-laws
How will I know if an upcoming hearing is virtual or in-person?
Information about whether the hearing will be virtual or in-person will be included in the advertisement, and at the top of the meeting agenda.
How can I find out about upcoming in-person public hearings?
Upcoming public hearings for planning matters are advertised at least 7 days in advance. The advertisements can be found here.
Public Hearings for other matters are advertised at least 14 days in advance, typically in The Chronicle Herald (with the exception of By-Law N-200 Noise Exemption applications).
These advertisements will include the date and time of the hearing, whether the hearing is virtual or in-person, and deadlines for submitting written correspondence and registering as a speaker.
Advertisements on Halifax.ca will be placed on the information page for the Case. You can also check our public notices, summary of public hearings page, and the upcoming agendas, meetings and reports listing.
How do I sign up to speak at an in-person public hearing?
When registering you can only add your own name to the list and not the name of another person.
There are three opportunities to sign up as a speaker for an in-person public hearing:
- 1. Contact the Clerks Office by 4:30pm on the day of the Hearing.
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re signing up via email and you don’t receive a response from us within 1 business day, please phone our office at 902-490-4210 to confirm receipt. Please ensure you check your email’s junk/spam folder regularly.
- Call 902.490.4210 (Mon-Fri, 8:30am-4:30pm)
- Send a fax to the Clerk's Office at 902.490.4208 and include a call back phone number or email.
-The meeting body (e.g. Regional Council or Community Council) if you know it
-the topic, planning case number, or civic address
-your first and last name
-your community of residence
- 2. Sign up in-person on the night of the hearing
On the night of the public hearing, a sign-up sheet will be available at the meeting location, starting at least 30 minutes before the hearing. Anyone who would like to speak may add their name to the list in person.
- 3. During the meeting, add your name after speakers on the list have spoken
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. If you are present in the meeting room you can indicate your wish to speak at that time.
What happens if I sign-up in advance but miss my turn to speak?
If your name is called during the hearing and you aren’t present to speak, you will be given a second opportunity after all other names on the list have been called. Once the Public Hearing has been closed, there will be no further opportunities to speak.
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. Your comments must be received by 3:00p.m. on the public hearing date. Comments received after this time will not be distributed.
Your comments must include at least your first initial, last name and a contact method (e.g. email address). Anonymous submissions will not be distributed.
Email (email@example.com) is the preferred method, but submissions can also be sent via mail (please allow sufficient time for delivery) and fax.
Municipal Clerk’s Office
Halifax Regional Municipality
PO Box 1749
902.490.4208 (please include a call back phone number or email)
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 during the public hearing?
- Staff will begin the hearing by giving a presentation outlining the topic of the hearing, the process that has been undertaken to this point in the process, and an assessment against all relevant Municipal policies or by-laws.
- Staff will answer any questions members of Council or Community Council may have based on the presentation they just received.
- The public hearing will be open.
- The applicant (where applicable) will give their presentation.
- The applicant will answer any questions members of Council or Community Council may have based on the presentation they just received.
- Public Hearing speakers will then be called in the order they signed up. Speakers will have 5 minutes each to state their opinions on the proposed change which is the subject of the hearing. After all the names on the list have been called, the chair will call three times for any additional speakers.
- Once the last speaker has been heard, the applicant will be given an opportunity to briefly respond to comments made by the public at the hearing.
- The public hearing will close.
- Staff may be asked questions of clarification as a result of the hearing from members of Council or Community Council.
- Council or Community Council will deliberate. 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.
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 or Community 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 more 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.
If you have more questions about Public Hearings, please contact the Municipal Clerk's Office.