Alberni city councillor calls for more transparency

If city land is being sold or donated then more public discussion needs to take place, Port Alberni City Councillor Jack McLeman said.

If city land is being sold or donated then more public discussion needs to take place, Port Alberni City Councillor Jack McLeman said.

Councillors voted on May 14 that city owned property offered for sale, lease or donation be first considered at an open council meeting. They did not however discuss what form this would take.

The initiative was spearheaded and moved by McLeman, whose attempt at such a motion two years ago was defeated.

If you’re going to spend the public’s money or dispose of public assets, then the public has to be more informed, McLeman said.

“These should be publicly discussed first before we go in camera,” McLeman said.

The motion was vague about what kind of information would be released and how, but McLeman suggested some parameters.

“Any negotiations with an individual or business is private business and I understand that,” he said.

“We don’t have to name them, but just inform the public that this discussion is about to take place.”

Two experiences in the last couple of years prompted a second run at the motion, McLeman said.

He wouldn’t specify the first, except to say that something got debated in public then went back in camera. No policy was made.

The second matter involved Stirling Field, McLeman said. Councillors voted on bylaws in April, clearing the way for Van Isle Ford to move its Johnston Road operation to a portion of Stirling Field.

The transaction went according to the book, but it didn’t sit right with McLeman.

“I was uneasy about it because it stayed in-camera for so long,” he said.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com