Column: Make your voice heard at public hearing, earn that miracle

Could the public be heeded at the next public hearing?

Yes, miracles can happen if we earn them.

article continues below

On Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m., council will hear the public on a new-house massing bylaw. The venue is the council chambers at Richmond City Hall.

At this point, the bylaw (which was supported by all councillors except Carol Day and Harold Steves) best serves the interests of developers and will lead to more mega homes.

The public hearing is a speed bump before the final rubber stamp. If you value neighbourhoods more than mega trophy houses, you will want the bylaw changed first.

For quick impact, go to the online form for public hearings and write “Please use the 3.7 metre ceiling height and the nine metre building height for all new houses.”

Those ample heights (over 12 feet and almost 30 feet) were set, but then fudged. Applied firmly, they’d help put a collar on rampant problems.

If you value trophy houses most, you could write “Please pass the bylaw as is.” I’d still respect you for taking part.

The rest of this column is a brief how-to manual for the public hearing. To check details, I discussed them with Richmond’s manager of legislative services. Thank you, Michelle Jansson!

For a start, get to know the Richmond.ca website. Click your way from the “City Hall” tab to “City Council” to “Watch Meetings Online” or “Public Hearings.”

On the “Send a Submission Online” form, use 9280 as the bylaw number. Or email MayorandCouncillors@Richmond.ca  with “9280 Public Hearing” as the subject.

Submissions are accepted up to the meeting time, 7 p.m. next Tuesday, but send your message much sooner if you can.

You can speak at the public hearing for up to 10 minutes. That applies even if you’ve sent input, but do more than repeat it.

After everyone has spoken, you can speak for three more minutes — with new information.

Speaking well will influence people, even if you’re brief. It’s fine to simply state what’s best in half a minute.

When you practise, visualize yourself at the speakers’ desk. View some of the online video of the July 27 council meeting. You’ll see citizens speak about the new-house massing bylaw in the “Committee of the Whole” part.

Then bring your speaking notes. That will help you recall your points, conserve time and have fun.

Come early. If need be, wait for seats to open up. The new-house bylaw is last on the agenda, and people who’ve come for earlier items will leave when they’re finished.

There will be a handout to pick up as you enter. There may also be a speakers’ list to sign.

Decorum is normal. It’s tacky to shout out, clap or chat during a hearing.

You’ll find more help on my blog. Just google “natural legacies versus waste” to get there.

After earning a miracle, sit back and see what happens.

Jim Wright is president of the Garden City Conservation Society.

Read Related Topics

© 2018 Richmond News

Comments

NOTE: To post a comment you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Richmond News welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

comments powered by Disqus

Firefighting services in Richmond POLL

Do you support a tax increase to hire more firefighters in Richmond?

or  view results

Popular Opinion