A City Council that works for everyone… not just a few.
The current Council routinely holds meetings that are closed to the Public – Council meetings, Finance and Audit Committee meetings, and Economic Investment Committee meetings – at the discretion of Council. However, closed meetings that exclude the Public are only required to be closed if the subject matter to be discussed is specifically listed under Section 90(2) of the Community Charter. The proceedings and minutes of in-camera (closed) meetings may be withheld from public disclosure, but it is not mandatory to keep them secret. This Council chooses to do our City business in secrecy.
Examples of discretionary closed meetings under Section 90(1) of the Community Charter include subject matter related to: labour relations or other employee relations; the security of the property of the municipality; and the acquisition, disposition or expropriation of land or improvements. The list of topics by which a Council can use its discretion to close a meeting contains 15 items.
Examples of mandatory closed meetings under Section 90(2) of the Community Charter include: a request under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) if the council is designated as head of the local public body for the purposes of that Act [Director of Administration is designated as the head of the City of White Rock for the purposes of FIPPA]; and a matter that is being investigated under the Ombudsperson Act. The list of topics by which a Council must, by law, close a meeting and exclude the Public contains only five items.
However, in the past, White Rock Council has used these closed meetings to conduct much City business including:
Decide to use contaminated well water (arsenic and manganese) instead of joining Metro Vancouver’s water supply.
Discontinue waste removal from multi-family dwellings and businesses, which represents more than 50% of White Rock’s population, without any Public consultation or warning;
Decide to embark upon a massive multi-million dollar spending program for the waterfront without Public consultation or approval;
Clear cut the area between East Beach and West Beach known as the “hump”, which required – but did not receive – an OCP amendment
Democracy Direct White Rock objectives:
Limit closed or secret meetings to only those specific situations that are mandated that the Public be excluded under Section 90 (2) of the Community Charter.
Disclose proceedings and meeting minutes for all closed meetings held under Section 90 of the Community Charter since 2011 (e.g., water utility purchase debate and discussion).