1,300-page document now available on Rocky View website
Transcripts from a two-day public hearing held in Rocky View County council chambers late last year are now available to read on the municipality’s website.
On Feb. 26, council unanimously agreed to publish the 1,300-page document from the Oct. 30 and Nov. 1 Bingham Crossing hearing.
“Following the Bingham Crossing public hearing, the County received a number of requests for audio recordings,” explained Nona Housenga, legislative manager for the County.
She said since litigation began against the County, lawyers inquired about obtaining a transcript of the audio recording.
Members of Springbank, including the Springbank Community Planning Association, are taking Rocky View to court, asking for a judicial review of the County’s approval process of the Bingham Crossing development. The review is scheduled to be heard on April 26 at the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in Calgary.
“The discussion now is whether to consider the transcript as public record, without going through an access of information request,” said Housenga, adding this form of information is new to the County.
The cost to transcribe the hearing came in just over $8,000. The transcript is now available for free on the County website . People looking for a paper copy would have to pay 25 cents a page.
“Why, for a mere 25 cents a page would we hand this over to people trying to sue us?” questioned Earl Solberg, who was initially against approving the request. “I say we give them an audio recording and get them to pay to transcribe their written copy.”
Councillor Margaret Bahcheli, a lawyer, said if a document is used in litigation, it’s required to be disclosed to both parties.
“If we’re playing the conspiracy theory … I’m not that sensitized by it being a plaintiff-driven thing,” she said.
Housenga said the other lawyers have already been given the document.
“I’m not opposed to making this available,” said Councillor Lois Habberfield. “If someone wants to read 1,300 pages of a public hearing, let them have a go at it.”
Deputy Reeve Paul McLean said he would support the motion, but added he would like to look at the opportunity to stream all of council’s meetings online.
“I think that is important … Some people aren’t interested in this one though some are. Let’s be completely transparent and completely open to our people. Even our church now does live streaming. It’s a great opportunity for people unable to attend,” he said.
Housenga said live streaming is an option staff plan to look at in the future but said at this time, the County does not have the proper equipment.