Evelina H-B slams closed doors

Re: “Richmond politician slams ‘closed-door’ Garden City deal,” Province, March 12, 2010.

In the Garden City Lands agreement that will end when Richmond buys the property, the city had a right of first offer if the high-density development did not go ahead. Thus, when the Agricultural Land Commission put a stop to that atrocity, the natural step was negotiation toward a city purchase. If we assume that Coun. Evelina Halsey-Brandt ever read and understood the agreement (“the MOU”), she could have informed people about that.

However, Richmond councillors were legally required to keep the negotiation details confidential because it’s foolish to give away one’s strategy to other parties trying to get the better of you. Evelina Halsey-Brandt has been on council long enough to have caught on that council meetings to negotiate land deals need to be closed to the public.

Fortunately, the Garden City deal became public knowledge because the vote to provide funding from the Community Legacy for Land Replacement Reserve did not require confidentiality. Unfortunately, the meeting was secretively called with no warning on the afternoon of Monday, March 8. If the matter had been announced that day and addressed at a council meeting on the evening of the next Monday, the council chambers would have been filled with vocal citizens. Of course, the public would have supported the purchase in principle and made very clear it should be for ALR-permissible uses.

It’s hard on a city when council members “slam” confidentiality that they know to be required and then take no action to enable public knowledge and input.

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