Respectful debate-Public Hearing requires participation

Respectful debate.


ROUND 2 of the public hearing for Onni Group’s redevelopment proposal for the Safeway site at 13th Street and Lonsdale Avenue is set for Monday night.

The city’s Mayor Darrell Mussatto hopes that the hearing will conclude tomorrow and that debate on the second reading of the bylaws will be able to proceed the same evening. But in case the hearing attracts a similar number of speakers as the last one did, the city is prepared to extend the hearing to Tuesday night.

We suspect that will not be necessary. Presentations and petitions presented at the previous hearing will form part of the public record for the new hearing and, as processes lengthen, the less ardent supporters and detractors tend to drift away.

A new beginning should help many to forget the unseemly and overblown rhetoric that flew in the wake of the last hearing.

Nor will the perception of manipulation hover over Monday night’s events. The city has moved to address criticism of its public hearing sign-up process and will more tightly control its speaker lists.

Unfortunately, this hearing will still proceed in advance of the city’s review of its ill-defined density bonusing policy and, despite the impressive list of amenities attached to this proposal, questions remain as to whether the city is getting reasonable compensation for a massive break with existing official community plan density limits.

Still, the purpose of this editorial is to encourage city residents to attend and have their say. A public hearing requires the participation of the public.

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