Centre Wellington to hold spot for public meetings once a month

ELORA – Centre Wellington will set aside one day a month for public meetings next year.

At the Nov. 18 committee of the whole meeting, staff presented the 2020 council and committee meeting schedule, which includes public meetings on the last Wednesday of every month.

“What staff is proposing is that we schedule public meetings under the Planning Act each month to assist developers and staff to schedule them when people submit applications,” said deputy clerk Lisa Miller.

“It’s much easier when they know what the dates are in order to meet the deadlines as opposed to trying to schedule the meetings.”

If there are no applications requiring a public meeting the meeting will be cancelled for the month.

CAO Andy Goldie said the hope is that scheduled public meetings will be a benefit to the community and developers.

“We get a lot of times where they didn’t even know it was on the agenda from the public,” Goldie said.

Managing director of planning and development Brett Salmon said that a change to the More Homes, More Choice Act (Bill 108) means an applicant can appeal a zoning amendment for a non-decision after 90 days; previously it was 120 days.

“We thought for us to receive an application, review it, meet the deadlines, 90 days is pretty tough,” Salmon said.

“And I don’t think we’re going to get many appeals, but clearly the direction is that we’re supposed to try to get a decision quicker.

“So … [this] will make it far easier for staff to schedule and then it will be outside a regular council night and we’ll get business done faster.”

Councillor Steven VanLeewuen confirmed there would be no public meetings before council meetings in the new year.

“It means another evening to staff and for councillors if it’s necessary,” Linton said.