Despite a last-ditch effort to move the date into next year, the public hearing for the proposed Gospel Rock neighbourhood plan will go ahead next month.
At Tuesday’s Gibsons committee-of-the-whole meeting, council voted three to two to set the public hearing date for Oct. 11.
The recommendation to council followed a failed attempt by Coun. Dan Bouman to postpone the hearing until March 18, 2013 — “the day after St. Paddy’s Day,” Bouman said — which had the support of only Coun. LeeAnn Johnson.
Bouman, citing a recent judgment in a case involving the city of Prince George, warned the Town could be putting itself at legal risk because, under the Local Government Act, a bylaw must be consistent with a municipality’s official community plan (OCP).
In the case of Gospel Rock, “there are parts of the plan that just do not meet the goals and objectives of the Town’s OCP,” Bouman said.
“When the community is split, the reasonable thing to do is resolve the issues, rather than impose something that may or may not be legal,” he said.
The question of whether the bylaw amendment was inconsistent with Gibsons’ OCP was addressed during a closed meeting before Bouman was elected to council, said Mayor Wayne Rowe.
“There was a legal opinion on it … and we will make it available to you,” Rowe told Bouman.
Subject to council ratification, the public hearing will take place on Thursday, Oct. 11, at Elphinstone Secondary School, starting at 6 p.m. If necessary, the hearing will continue on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 1 p.m.