Abbotsford City Hall

Dr. Bonnie Henry tells Abbotsford to stop holding in-person public hearings

Province had previously permitted the city to allow the public to present in person at hearings

An order by Dr. Bonnie Henry has forced an end to the City of Abbotsford’s in-person public hearings.

Since late April, the city has been allowing in-person participation in public hearings regarding proposed developments. Attendance had been restricted, while the size of Matsqui Centennial Auditorium and generally sparse attendance allowed for physical distancing to be maintained.

The hearings had the blessing of the province, but that permission came to an abrupt end recently.

Mayor Henry Braun said at last Monday’s council meeting that public health officials told the city on Dec. 4 that such hearings could no longer be held.

Braun said that message was sent at 5:30 p.m., leaving the city scrambling to figure out what to do about a hearing scheduled for Monday and the subjects to be discussed.

“That created some issues for us because it was too late to advertise anything for people who were expecting to come to the public hearing,” Braun said.

The hearings were cancelled – as are those that would otherwise be scheduled in two weeks. Instead, residents must submit any comments or feedback in writing to cityclerk@abbotsford.ca. They will have until Dec. 21 for those matters that would have appeared at Monday’s meeting.

All council meetings can be watched online at www.abbotsford.ca/watchcouncilonline.

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