Esquimalt resident demands online council agenda packages

The municipality says it's keeping with Canada's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Every Friday, Muriel Dunn heads over to Esquimalt Municipal Hall to pick up a thick bundle of staff reports and building plans that will be discussed at the following Monday night’s council meeting.

Her attendance is near perfect, but when she recently missed a meeting and went to access the reports online, Dunn told council all she found was frustration.

“I was away and I wanted to get (the information) on the Internet,” said Dunn, who has lived in Esquimalt for more than 50 years. “Of course, what good is our agenda on the Internet (when) we can’t get any reports? I was flabbergasted.”

The issue of posting the entire information package, available to the public in council chambers on meeting nights, was addressed in 2009 when council decided staff should only post the agenda outlines on the township’s website prior to meetings.

That decision doesn’t make sense to Dunn.

“We don’t need to know what is on the agenda if we can’t read and look at the reports,” she said.

The decision was made amid concerns over disclosing residents’ personal information, such as detailed building plans and telephone numbers and email addresses.

That personal data is blacked out in the paper agenda packages.

Council said its decision is in keeping with Canada’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which says personal information in a public body’s custody and control must only be stored and accessed in Canada. If packages were posted online, the information could be accessed from anywhere in the world.

But Dunn said that policy has already been contradicted. An Internet search of her name reveals electronic versions of numerous council minutes featuring her name and address, she said.

“It’s already on the Internet,” she said.

Victoria, Sooke, Colwood, Langford, Metchosin, Highlands and Saanich post their agenda packages online, whereas Oak Bay and View Royal only post their agenda outlines.

Just Posted

The Capital Regional District has approved its plan that aims to reduce its total waste by about a third by 2030. (Black Press Media file photo)
CRD board approves plan aimed at cutting waste by a third by 2030

Solid Waste Management Plan to start tackling Greater Victoria’s largest waste sources

Comedy balloon artist Mike Dada of Sidney hands two-year-old Mila Yiau a balloon flower as she holds the hand of her mother Hannah Liao at Sunday’s street market in Sidney. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney Street Market parks in temporary location for 2021

Market open Sundays at Mary Winspear parking through Oct. 10

The Oak Bay fire training tower came down May 10 after it was previously deemed not up to standard for modern training use. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Condemned fire training tower comes down in Oak Bay

Infrastructure taken down won’t hamper firefighter training

New changes are being proposed to four streets in James Bay to allow better access for cyclists. Residents have until June 11 to provide feedback. (Black Press Media file photo)
New revisions to James Bay bike lanes open for feedback

Routes on Government and Montreal streets planned for 2022

An elderly man having a medical emergency in Mount Douglas Park on May 13 was rescued by firefighters and paramedics with the help of ATVs. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Rescue team uses ATVs get man in medical distress out of Saanich park and to hospital

Cedarhill Road closed as firefighters, paramedics rescue man in Mount Douglas Park

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 11

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Canada’s demo Hornet soars over the Strait of Georgia near Comox. The F-18 demo team is returning to the Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Sgt. Robert Bottrill/DND
F-18 flight demo team returning to Vancouver Island for spring training

The team will be in the Comox Valley area from May 16 to 24

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Bow-legged bear returns to Ladysmith, has an appointment with the vet

Brown Drive Park closed as conservation officers search for her after she returned from relocation

Most Read