Why are Freedom of Information requests taking so long?

Rob Johnson of Ladysmith hasn't received any responses to his Freedom of Information requests to the Town of the Ladysmith.

Editor:

Re: Request to the Town of Ladysmith for information under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act states, “the purposes of this Act are to make public bodies more accountable to the public and to protect personal privacy by (a) giving the public a right of access to records…”

The act allows the town up to 30 working days to comply with my request.

Two months ago, on Nov. 15, I made a request under the FOI act for a list of all non-elected individuals who have attended any of the closed-door meetings of town council (executive sessions) for the year 2011. My request should not be an onerous task, as under the Community Charter subsection 91(3), “The minutes of a meeting or part of a meeting that is closed to the public must record the names of all person in attendance.”

It appears to me all that has to be done to comply with my request is to review some 24 or so sets of minutes and check the names of those in attendance and record any non-elected person in attendance. I assume that this would take no more that 15 minutes, a half hour at best.

As of Jan. 15, there have been 47 working days from the date of my request. I have yet to receive this information, but instead I was notified that, on Dec. 17, council [in an] in-camera meeting, adopted a motion to extend the deadline for response to this and my other enquiries by an additional 30 working days.

In fairness to the town, I did request on Nov. 28 a copy of a motion eliminating the fee for live-a-boards at the Ladysmith Maritime Society Community Marina. I would assume this would also be  a quick job to review existing minutes for the spring of 2012. I also asked for a breakdown of costs and revenue  for the trolley systems. On Dec. 2, I  asked for a copy of a motion regarding the application for a grant for the Spirit Square, which I also believe should be easy to locate by using an electronic search of past minutes.

The only request that I have made that may take more that an hour or an hour and a half was for a copy of the Development Cost Charges relating to any resent developments by a company called Brentwood Developments.

I have made five separate FOI requests spread over the better part of a month, but I haven’t received any information on any of my requests. Is the town stone walling?

It appears to me that there has been adequate time for them to comply with my requests under the Freedom of information Act, but  I have yet to see any information relating to these FOI requests.

Rob Johnson

Ladysmith