Secrets of the City

Voices comment:  Some residents in the City of North Van have been increasingly concerned about the amount of business conducted out of the public eye (closed meetings).  

Posted yesterday by Bill Bell was an article by Kerry Morris concerning Mr Tollstam and the CNV’s culture of secrecy:

Posted today by Guy Heywood on his blog is this article that talks to recent comments and controversy about shared policing costs and a government that “would prefer to do some of that work in secret”:

I wrote an earlier blog ( that talked about the way in which policing costs will increase as a result of the City government`s wish to define a distinct official community within its boundary. This is pretty important since policing is the biggest single line item on most local government`s budgets. I had missed it in most of the analyses that I had been doing up to that point in time.

The issues only came to my attention because of a letter written by the Mayor of the District on behalf of his Council, along with a number of attachments that I had not seen before. The letter was a complaint about statements made by the City Manager regarding shared policing costs and the attachments supported the complaints. Neither the letter from the Mayor of the District nor the transmittal email from the Mayor of the City identified the letter and attachments as confidential.

I was not informed of the outcome of the complaint during the balance of my term on Council and took an opportunity to bring it up at a public input session at the beginning of the January 12th Council meeting. At the same time I posted the letter and attachments as part of a longer blog that same day. 

On January 23rd Mr. Tollstam,  the City Manager, wrote the attached letter saying that I had breached duties and demanding that I remove the documents from my website. I received his letter on January 29th. I do not believe that I have breached any duties or that the documents should be kept secret. I have responded with a request for clarification (also below).  

Since I do not intend to hire a lawyer to deal with this matter. If after receiving my clarification the City and its lawyers insist that the demand is within the rights of the City, I will remove the documents. 

My only motivation has been, and continues to be, to advocate for rational and transparent government that serves and is shaped by the community. The one we have now appears to feel it should be doing the shaping to suit its own purposes and would prefer to do some of that work in secret.

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