Records Must Be Provided Immediately
Under the FOI Act, the City must provide requested records even if they don’t want to. The City will have a record of all payments and reimbursements made by the City. Certain critical payments regarding the 508 Helmcken land sale are not being provided and this is after they vowed to improve their records keeping. The City cannot have possibly lost these payment records and must produce them without further delay, no matter how inconvenient it may be. The residents of the City of Vancouver and the BC Privacy Commissioner are being treated as fools. It is time that the city provide the payment records concerning the appraiser they engaged to help write a report for them. And this was only needed because City staff were unable to find the original analysis that also went missing when in City care and custody.
In OIPC order 04-19, Adjudicator Francis wrote:
“Control is to be given a liberal and purposive meaning that promotes the objectives of British Columbia’s access and privacy legislation. The nature of requested records and all aspects of their generation and use must be assessed in relation to the public body’s mandate and functions. Records that are created or acquired by or for a public body as part of its mandate and functions will be under the public body’s control.” “The duty to provide access to records under the Act is not defined by the willingness of the public body or its staff, contractors or agents.”
April 15, 2015 – Council approved the rezoning of 508 Helmcken which was required in order for the land sale of City land to occur. City Real estate staff presented some of the conclusions from a report which City contractors completed on March 24, 2015.
Approval – April 14/15, 2015
2017 Email – Analysis Missing & Experts Hired to Produce Report for Hearing
The City Manager made it very clear in a 2017 email that City Real Estate Services had completed analysis; however “the records to support the analysis of the transaction could not be found in the file.” Therefore, the City engaged experts to do the job for them back in early 2015 “to complete independent analysis of the transaction before this matter went back to Council for the 2nd public hearing” Staff went on to say that “E&Y recommendations have been implemented in Real Estate Services so there is accountability regarding proper documentation for files”.
The Report – Completed on March 24, 2015 – 3 Weeks Prior to Hearing
Contract – February 23, 2015 – 7 Weeks Prior to Hearing
The City lawyer agreed that the City would pay the appraiser contractor which they demanded, and signed the legal document agreeing to pay the appraiser that completed much of the report. The report was immediately started, and complete within four weeks.
The City subcontractor/appraiser completed their work for the City.
The City appraiser/subcontractor completed the largest portion of the report used to finalize the land disposal and three pages of time records have been located and even some details of the exact time spent by the City appraiser/subcontractor.
Now in late February 2018, the City continues to be unhelpful. The City says they do not have, or cannot provide the invoices for their appraiser which they contracted although it is clear that the City demanded them to complete much of the report. The appraiser which the City demanded to complete the work was not only qualified to perform the analysis, but the E&Y “payment transaction specialists” do not even pretend to be experts in real estate valuation analysis. This FOI search has been going on for a long time and is not only a failure of accountability on the part of the City but an epic failure of integrity. It is time we got some better answers from Vancouver City Hall.