Rethinking public engagement in the development approvals process
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In a report published by the Provincial Government in 2019 public hearings were identified to be hindering the success of the development approvals process. However, public participation is not the issue, it is the systems in place that render it ineffective. Public participation should still be considered an essential part of development planning as it allows opportunities for the public to have a say in how their cities are built. This research aims to identify alternative and supplemental options to improve the public hearing process to better engage the public, while minimizing additional delays or costs. Results from interviews with local government planners and a literature review concluded that public hearings are flawed, but planners want to see them improved upon rather than removed all together. Nine recommendations, along with an Engagement Framework are presented as a deliverable for local government planners to implement improved public engagement.