LETTERS: Lesson missed in FOI audit

LETTERS: Lesson missed in FOI audit

Editor: Re: City’s reaction to FOI audit catches mayor off-guard, Nov. 28.


Re: City’s reaction to FOI audit catches mayor off-guard, Nov. 28.

Despite receiving the desire-for-change message from the electorate, White Rock city staff still persist in treating the residents as the enemy – as they did before.

City manager Dan Bottrill had authorized a statement publicly designating residents’ FOI requests as “frivolous” and/or “vexatious,” and his only concession to change was limited to saying it should not have used those precise words in what I saw as an attempt to ignore the findings and gloss over city’s pattern of illegal behaviour (Audit criticism blames on ‘vexatious’ FOIs, Nov. 23). So, business as usual as far as Bottrill is concerned.

To add insult to injury, it’s not clear who wrote the first response statement posted on the city website that was subsequently modified after intervention by the new mayor, Darryl Walker. Even the second version leaves a lot to be desired, considering the findings of the audit.

The Audit & Compliance Program of the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner for BC (OIPC) last month highlighted that the City of White Rock failed to meet legislated timelines in 46 per cent of sampled files and effectively “punished” persistent residents with more lengthy delays than others.

Furthermore, White Rock took an average of 22 days longer to respond to requests by recurrent applicants; took an average of 13 business days to forward requests to city departments – a short walk down the hall – to begin the search for records; and did not retain all relevant documentation in 26 per cent of sampled files.

Clearly, the city has been found both guilty of contravention of B.C. law and wanting with respect to handling FOI requests.

The city needs to recognize its wilful culpability over the FOI affair and apologize to all its residents for its egregious behaviour towards its own citizens over the last eight years. The city needs to guarantee that FOI requests will treated fairly and fully in accordance with Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Some significant “spring cleaning” of city hall will be required to fulfil the pledges and promises made by the incoming mayor and council and the wishes of the electorate.

Keith Knightson, White Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

White Rock and Surrey RCMP – along with police forces across the province – have launched their holiday CounterAttack campaigns. (Contributed graphic)
White Rock, Surrey RCMP CounterAttack campaigns underway

Enforcement ramps up to remove impaired drivers from cities’ roadways

Statue of Lady Justice at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Judge finds Surrey RCMP breached two robbery suspects’ Charter rights

This was in connection with the robbery of the Ritecare Pharmacy in Surrey on Oct. 10, 2017

Janet Austin, the lieutenant-governor of British Columbia, not seen, swears in Premier John Horgan during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Horgan says he will look to fill gaps in the federal government’s sick-pay benefits program aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. premier says province prepared to patch holes in new federal sick-pay benefits

Horgan said workers should not be denied pay when they are preventing COVID-19’s spread

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

Photo by Dale Klippenstein
Suspect tries to thwart police in Abbotsford with false 911 call about men with guns

Man twice sped away from officers and then tried to throw them off his trail

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

Most Read