By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
Lethbridge County is looking to formalize methods for advertising public notices in Lethbridge County and will be holding a public hearing on May 18 to hear input on the proposed bylaw.
Bylaw 23-013 passed first reading during the April 6 regular meeting of Lethbridge County Council. According to the report presented to Council, the proposed bylaw “reflects current practices in County advertising and public notifications.”
As per the Municipal Governance Act, a municipality must advertise certain matters in a local newspaper for two consecutive weeks or mail notices directly to affected landowners. The MGA stipulates announcements may be advertised via alternative methods including electronically such as websites, emailed notices, social media, apps, notice boards or newsletters. If passed, the bylaw would allow the County to use alternative means to advertise without the requirement to use a newspaper or mailed letter, “as long as the methods used could reach substantially all residents affected.”
According to the April 6 meeting, if the proposed bylaw is adopted, “it is not anticipated that current practices will change with regards to advertising, it would simply give the county flexibility in advertising public notices, particularly in extenuating circumstances, such as a disruption in mail or newspaper service,” explained the County’s communications coordinator, Mattie Watson.
Watson told council, “having a bylaw in place also provides transparency to citizens, business and stakeholders and gives (the) County flexibility in advertising public notices, if traditional methods are not available.”
Administration’s recommendation to pass first reading of Bylaw 23-013 cited potential delays due to mail and/or newspaper disruptions and that decisions on important matters could be delayed due to circumstances beyond the County’s control, but the County will continue to follow a multi-pronged communications strategy, including mailed out letters and newspaper advertisements when required,
Interim Chief Operating Officer, Larry Randle confirmed, “The County recognizes and values the importance of the use of traditional methods to communicate with its citizens,” and added, “The county has no intention whatsoever, of altering its current public notice strategy in the future.”
Coun. John Kuerbis moved the recommendation for bylaw to be read for the first time, and passed first reading. Coun. Van Essen and Coun. Zeinstra voted in opposition to the motion. The public hearing is scheduled for May 18 at 10 a.m. The County will consider written comments and feedback on the matter until May 2 at 4 p.m.