The Referendum Procedure
The Québec government's Land Use Planning and Development Act gives residents the opportunity to express their opinions on certain Borough Council decisions concerning urban planning, by allowing them to file an application to take part in a referendum. This recourse applies when the following aspects of the urban planning by-law are amended:
- permitted uses
- land occupation density
- dimensions and volume of buildings
- authorized floor space
A draft by-law or draft resolution that contains a provision that is subject to referendum approval must proceed as follows:
- Notice of motion and adoption of the first draft
- Public notice of a public consultation meeting
- Public consultation meeting (at least seven days after the public notice is published)
- Adoption of the second draft
Public notice announcing the possibility of filing an application to take part in a referendum (opening of the register). All notices are published in a newspaper distributed throughout the territory and may also be consulted at the Borough Office and on the Internet site.
The notice specifies who may file an application as well as the zones concerned. In order for the application to be valid, at least 12 signatures must be obtained in a zone with more than 21 qualified voters or a majority of signatures in a zone with 21 or fewer voters.
The period for receiving applications at Borough Office to open a register (also known as the registration procedure for qualified voters) is eight days after the publication of the notice.
- Adoption of the by-law or resolution
- If valid applications are received, publication of a notice announcing the date and location where the register will be set up, during which time qualified voters may file an application to have a referendum poll held on the draft and a register set up (no earlier than five days after publication of the notice). The register must be set up no later than 45 days after the date of adoption of the by-law or resolution. The number of signatures required to allow a referendum poll to be held is determined by a mathematical formula provided for in the Act and is based on the number of qualified voters in the zone concerned by the register.
- Filing of the certificate at the next Council meeting
If the number of signatures required for holding a referendum poll is not reached, the draft is deemed to have been approved by the qualified voters.
If the required number of signatures is reached, Council must set the date of the referendum poll, no later than at the next meeting.
The referendum poll must be held within 120 days following the date of adoption of the resolution or by-law. It must be announced by a notice published no later than 10 days before the polling date.
- The referendum poll is conducted as a municipal election and must go through the same steps. Until such time as the notice of the poll has been published, Council may withdraw the draft and inform the parties concerned accordingly.
For any questions about a referendum process in the Borough of Lachine, contact the Borough Secretary.