Port Alberni Port Authority skirts FOI request

The PAPA regional transportation committee is up to a lot behind closed doors but the public will never find out what, reader says.

To the Editor,

I filed a Freedom of Information request in August with the Port Alberni Port Authority.  My request was:

“for all past and current records of the Regional Transportation Committee chaired by the port authority including agenda, minutes and documents produced or distributed for committee members.”

The port authority officially responded 30 days later saying their lawyers did not consider the RTC to be subject to the Access to Information Act so they had no obligation to complete my request.

I was given a copy of the latest report on the Horne Lake Connector.

Due to this refusal to disclose what should be public information, I have lodged an official complaint with the Information Commissioner in Ottawa.

I submitted the request, and the subsequent complaint, because I believe it to be abnormal and inappropriate that while the RTC is composed of mainly publicly elected or appointed representatives, their meetings have been totally closed to the public.

The PAPA is now talking about developing a “transportation infrastructure strategy” yet members of the committee have expressed their utmost preference for one development, the highway.

Should the public not know what due diligence the RTC has done to come to those conclusions and develop this strategy?

With reports from the Lower Mainland about Liberal insiders using hospital expansions to win votes it has never been more important to ensure that all decisions, big and small, be done in the most transparent manner possible.

I strongly and respectfully urge the RTC and PAPA to open the meetings of this committee to the public, publish its previous agenda and minutes and allow us all to participate and debate directly to build the future of transportation in the Alberni Valley.

Chris Alemany,

Port Alberni