I have now received another tranche of hitherto confidential memos and reports on Glenway. These fill in some of the blanks but do not change my earlier narrative setting out what really happened.
Last year, I submitted a Freedom of Information request for sight of key documents which would help me understand how decisions were made by staff and councillors at Mulock Drive. My request was refused on 8 October 2014. A couple of months ago, I re-submitted the same FoI request and I am now told some material (see below) is being released
“due to public interest in the matter and that the legal proceedings are now complete…”
So, what does the new material tell me?
On 3 April 2014, the outside consultant, Ruth Victor, recommended that councillors should approve the final “without prejudice” offer from the developer, Marianneville, which would increase the number of housing units by 12. She explains that relocation of easements and so on had led to a more efficient use of land “resulting in additional units”.
The confidential memo dated 4 April 2014 from Jason Unger, the Assistant Director of Planning, explains the key differences between the “without prejudice” offer and the earlier ones. There is an increase in park area. Earlier confidential reports are provided as background and are attached to Unger’s memo. The one dated 6 June 2013 on “strategic property acquisition” shows the Council’s interest in acquiring some of Marianneville lands for parks and open space. The 15 February 2013 confidential memo reminds councillors that they considered and rejected the purchase of the Glenway lands after hearing a verbal report from the Town’s Chief Administrative Officer, Bob Shelton in March 2008.
Councillors decided by consensus (ie without a vote) that the Town was “not in the golf course business”.
The confidential minutes of the closed session meeting of the Committee of the Whole on 7 April 2014 tell us that Councillor Tom Vegh proposed accepting the Marianneville without prejudice offer (giving 742 housing units). This was seconded by Dave Kerwin.
We now wait to see what the Town will do with the “Glenway Lessons Learned” report that has, apparently, now been delivered to Mulock Drive by the professional facilitator, Glenn Pothier. Personally, I would like to see councillors debate the report in public and at length, taking the opportunity to tell us what they have learned. Staff, who are key players in this drama, should also be invited to contribute.
It seems to me our senior paid employees have as much to learn as the rest of us.
You can read the now declassified former confidential reports by opening “Documents” in the panel top left. Navigate to Glenway and open the relevant documents.
The response to my FoI request, received on 23 July 2015, reads:
This letter is in response to your request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Act) for access to:
1. Committee of the Whole Minutes (Closed Session) 7 Apr 2014
2. Confidential memo dated 3 Apr 2014 from Ruth Victor
3. Confidential memo dated 3 Apr 2014 from Mary Bull.
4. Confidential memo dated 3 Apr 2014 from Asst. Director of Planning re: Marianneville dev.
These records may be considered exempt from disclosure under section 6(1) (b) of the Act. Section 6(1) (b) of the Act provides that “a head may refuse to disclose a record that reveals the substance of deliberations of a meeting of a council, board, commission or other body or a committee of one of them if a statute authorizes holding that meeting in the absence of the public”. However due to public interest in the matter and that the legal proceedings are now complete we are releasing documents 2 and 4 (as listed above) and those portions of document 1 (the Committee of the Whole Minutes (Closed Session) of April 7, 2014) related to the Glenway lands and proposed development.
Item 3 the Confidential Memorandum dated April 3, 2014 from Mary Bull and Johanna Shapira is exempt under section 6(1) (b) and section 12 of the Act. Section 12 provides that “a head may refuse to disclose a record that is subject to solicitor-client privilege or that was prepared by or for counsel employed or retained by an institution for use in giving legal advice or in contemplation of or for use in litigation”. This record contains legal advice provided by counsel employed by the Town for use in litigation matters; as such we will not be disclosing this memo.