Renovate the Local Government, Land-Use
Public Hearing

Renovate: (verb):  to make over again; to restore to freshness or vigor; to renew.



A convener and catalyst

 We are developing a collaboration to pilot changes to the provincial local government land-use public hearing requirements as a means to enhance social justice, community-building and strengthen democratic culture

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In April 2022, we held a province-wide workshop.

Check out the related resources:

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Read the Discussion Guide

Read the Workshop Results


"When I think of the 10 worst days in my personal and professional life in the last 15 years, 7 of them were public hearing days."


Improve municipal efficiencies and increase trust in democracy by identifying evidence-based recommendations for revising the British Columbia's Local Government Act public hearing requirements to create stronger public engagement practices, supports for reconciliation, and more effective local government pre-development approval processes.


  1. Analyze existing legal frameworks, including relevant case law, and explore options for legal reform

  2. Increase understanding of how public hearings evolved and their effects

  3. Improve democratic decision-making by building stronger trauma-informed and culturally respectful relationships

  4. Pilot and evaluate alternative options for public input that meet the needs of local governments and communities

  5. Recommend evidence-based reforms to support more meaningful public input in land use decision making


What's Next?


We've received CMHC Housing Supply Challenge Stage 1 funding to develop the project, build collaborations and think through how we can identify evidence-based solutions.


3 Planned Streams of Work

Industrial City
Industrial City

1. Legal Review

B.C. Law Institute (BCLI) will prepare a scoping paper and lead consultation and drafting of report on the law and policy regarding local government public hearings.

2. Pilots

SCDI will co-create and pilot scalable alternative options for quasi-judicial public hearings in four local governments in B.C

3. Evaluations

Evaluate pilots and compare results to current public hearing procedures to identify best practices for building capacity, relationships and respectful engagement requirements for land use decision-making


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Project Activities


Completed 60 informal scoping interviews and reviewed more than 150 academic research articles and archive documents related to public hearings in BC and public engagement practices worldwide. Will conduct formal research to identify barriers and costs related to public hearings in BC.

BC Law Institute will lead a 70 page study paper on BC public hearing legislation and common law. They will then lead and advisory informed legal reform process to understand opportunities and implications for reform.

Legal Review


Over one year, the Centre will host and test alternatives to public hearing models in four local governments in British Columbia. Each pilot will build community members' capacity, develop toolkits and provide facilitation education to reduce barriers to community participation. 

Create and use a principles and values based rubric to evaluate pilot alternatives.  The evaluation will track opinions, emotions, and knowledge changes created during the pilots via ethnographic observation, surveys, and interviews. 


Validate Recommend-ations

Learning exchanges with pilot partners and deliberative dialogues with participants from all phases to workshop policy recommendations.

Create public facing communications via website, social media, opinion pieces and traditional media. Host dialogues, activities for high schools and seniors, and community events that celebrate public engagement and democracy to educate residents and build capacity in municipalities.  

Public Education