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FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST

IN THE REGIONAL DISTRICT OF CENTRAL OKANAGAN

North Westside Road Communities Association

Request for Access to Records

COMMENT FORM AT THE BOTTOM

Blue Divider Line

You can click on each document on this webpage to read larger print.

This is a very long story trying to get information out of the Regional District of Central Okanagan through email and then through the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. 

The emails started before July 2, 2008 when the complainant requested financial information from the Regional District of Central Okanagan in regards to the NOWESI (Sugar Loaf) transfer station but was not getting anywhere.  The complainant felt the Regional District Communications Coordinator was incompetent not to be able to communicate the information to staff.  RDCO's Communications Co-ordinator was most likely tired of the complainant asking for the information and the communications co-ordinator suggested in so many emails that the complainant use the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act.  The complainant unsuspectingly thought that was a great idea since getting nowhere with RDCO's Communications Co-ordinator.  So on July 2, 2008 the complainant requested through the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act the account information for the NOWESI (Sugar Loaf) transfer station.

It is no wonder people don't even bother to ask the Regional District for information, its because it is so very difficult to get.

The complainant was blocked from emailing the Regional District of Central Okanagan and told to send all correspondence in the mail eventually.  Read the story!!!

Blue Divider Line

Asking the Regional District of Central Okanagan for NOWESI (Sugar Loaf) transfer station account information was the initial start of the La Casa and then the North Westside Communities Association Correspondence through Freedom of Information and Privacy Act requests, which you will read about here.

 

The complainant tried to find out NOWESI account information through a second Freedom of Information request asking for La Casa information as shown in this FOI request below and hoping to discover more information in the process.

 

 

Here is the information the complainant asked for in the Oct. 13, 2008 La Casa request which wasn't received until received Dec 17, 2008 in the La Casa FOI request.

The complainant found it strange that there was not one piece of correspondence in the Oct 13, 2008 La Casa request which was to and from the Regional District and the North Westside Communities Association (NWCA).  The North Westside Communities Association had been in discussion with the Regional District of Central Okanagan at a meeting held at the Killiney Beach Hall where the NWCA spoke with Carol Suhan saying that a business in the area was proposing to donate land is all Carol Suhan was permitted to tell the complainant is what Carol Suhan said and that the NWCA didn't want the complainant to know anything more than that.  The complainant tried to go to the meeting but when arrived the complainant was not permitted in the meeting, as Carol Suhan said that the NWCA wouldn't hold the meeting if the complainant was permitted in the meeting so could the complainant go home instead.  Carol Suhan had said she didn't see why the complainant couldn't go to the NWCA meeting held at Killiney Hall over the proposal of a new transfer station at La Casa Lakeside Cottage Resort which the complainant found out later was the business proposing to donate land to place the transfer station.  But this is another Freedom of Information Act story that just may just be posted later.  The Freedom of Information Act request asking for NWCA correspondence was sent to the Regional District of Central Okanagan on December 24, 2008 and we haven't received any correspondence as of April 11, 2009.  The complainant spoke with Mary Jane Drouin on the phone on March 27, 2009 whom said it would take 6 weeks to retrieve NWCA correspondence records.   Imagine, just what it costs taxpayers each day to have RDCO employees look information up for staff.  Maybe the complainant needs a tour of the records office to see how the record keeping is done so that the complainant can believe it takes so long to retrieve records and that there are that many records??  So guess what?

 

 

Subject: RE: FW: FOI January 7, 2009
From : Lyla Lindsay
Date: January 22, 2009 10:16 AM
To North Westsider
Cc: Mary Jane Drouin, Bruce Smith

Dear North Westsider:

All departments in the Regional District have been asked to provide an estimate of staff time and number of photocopies required to meet your request. In accordance with the Act you will be given a cost estimate and a deposit will be required before we proceed to provide the requested records.

Thank you.
Lyla Lindsay, CRM
Risk Management Coordinator
Finance and Administration
Regional District of Central Okanagan
E-mail: lyla.lindsay [at] cord.bc.ca
Phone: 250-469-6208
Fax: 250-763-7497
Website: www.regionaldistrict.com

 

 

$4,290 ... WHAT????  Shiver me timbers!!!

 

Subject: NWCA correspondence
From : North Westsider
Date: Feb 05, 2009 10:08 PM
To: Bruce Smith and Harold Reay

To Bruce Smith and Harold Reay:

I didn't realize that it would cost $4,290 for the FOI regarding correspondence with the North Westside Communities Association. I would rather make the trip into the office to see the documents instead as it won't cost me any money except gas that way.

Please let me know when I can come down to RDCO to view the documents instead.

Thank you,
North Westsider

 

30 days had gone by and the complainant did not hear a word from the Regional District of Central Okanagan in regards to the email sent Feb 5, 2009, so the complainant sent a letter in the mail on March 5, 2009 to the Regional District of Central Okanagan, because by now the complainant was blocked from sending emails to the Regional District as of Feb 24, 2009, and blocked without notice.

 

From complainant

March 5, 2009

To: Regional District of Central Okanagan

Dec 24, 2008 I requested through the Freedom of Information Act any and all correspondence to and from RDCO and the North Westside Communities Association or any of its affiliates in the years 2002-2008

In a letter dated Feb 2, 2009 you gave me an estimate of $4,290 to receive copies.

I sent an email Feb 5, 2009 saying I wish to come down to RDCO and see all the documents instead, as I cannot afford $4,290.

I have yet to receive notice of when I may be able to come down to see the documents. When will I be receiving notice that I can come down to look at the documents?

I would also like to know why the Regional District of Central Okanagan is rezoning the proposed transfer station land already if the ILMB website is correct and the ILMB has not made a decision as yet on La Casa Strata KAS2428 purchasing the land.

Is it true that the Ministry of Environment has concerns about placing a transfer station at the La Casa proposed site?

Thank you
North Westsider

P.S. Here is the email I sent you Feb 5, 2008 in regards to this request.

----------------------------------------------------------

Subject: NWCA correspondence
Date: Thu, 05 Feb 2009 22:08:24 -0800
From: North Westsider
To: Bruce Smith and Harold Reay

To Bruce Smith and Harold Reay:

I didn't realize that it would cost $4,290 for the FOI regarding correspondence with the North Westside Communities Association. I would rather make the trip into the office to see the documents instead as it won't cost me any money except gas that way.

Please let me know when I can come down to RDCO to view the documents instead.

Thank you
North Westsider

 

After speaking with Mary Jane Drouin on the telephone on Friday March 27, 2009, Mary Jane sent the complainant a reply letter dated Thursday March 26, 2009 in an envelope post marked Thursday April 2, 2009.

 

The complainant did receive correspondence between La Casa and the Regional District of Central Okanagan, but no correspondence in regards to the NWCA?

 

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner replied after some time and started processing the initial July 2, 2008 complaint on Feb 6, 2009 as you can see in the letter below.

 

Subject: Jump in Revenue for garbage collection fees.
From: North Westsider
Date: Feb 16, 2009 10:16 PM
To: Bruce Smith

To Bruce Smith:

How many emails does it take to get a direct answer out of Bruce Smith? Sounds like a joke doesn't it? And then you wonder why you get so many emails ... how many emails and how months does it take to get the appropriate response I wonder?

This is your previous answer to the question I had, and its 8 months later and your answer still does not explain and show me exactly where in the account this jump in revenue is. Would it be possible to get a direct and appropriate answer instead of the vague answer you gave me?

Here is the vague answer you gave me.

Where does this extra Revenue come from??
These users as you know, are charged a combination of parcel taxes (which pay for all Solid Waste Management functions including Regional Waste Reduction Office and Westside Sanitary Landfill etc) and user fees through utility billing. The costs of the North Westside Transfer station are covered through a combination of revenue from the above, both parcel tax and utility billing.

If you can't explain it, maybe you could send me details of the "Garbage Collection Fees" account, details of Solid Waste Management account and details of the Westside Sanitary landfill where it shows the exact amounts going in and out of the account for the Sugar Loaf transfer station as well as the Westside Sanitary Landfill and any other details of accounts for the Sugar Loaf transfer station which I asked for previously and only got the totals of these accounts.

I don't know how many times I am going to have to ask you, but I need the details of the accounts and the figures going in and out and not the totals of the accounts. Maybe you didn't understand, but hopefully you will now with me explaining in more detail so that you will understand.

Thank you
North Westsider

 

Subject: How many days does it take Bruce Smith to answer his emails
From: North Westsider
Date: Feb 20, 2009 6:13 PM
To: Bruce Smith

To Bruce Smith:

I have waited for two days now for a reply ... do you not work there anymore? Now I guess I have to wait the weekend too. I think you need some help down there if you can't answer the same day in a timely manner.

North Westsider

 

Bruce Smith's last reply email was dated Feb 17, 2009 when he answered about other information requested by email in regards to water meters, etc., and we wonder why Bruce Smith hasn't answered over the past few days?

 

Feb 21, 2009

To OIPC:

Re: OIPC File # F08-00000 / plus please open a new file?

I submitted two different Freedom of Information Request’s to the Regional District of Central Okanagan. In both requests the Regional District’s answers have not been satisfactory to me and I feel that RDCO has been avoiding answering my question by answering indirectly plus I believe withholding information from me on purpose. It’s a long story.

I currently have one OIPC file #F08-00000 that the information contained in this envelope package is for, plus this same information contained in this envelope package belongs to a new file if the OIPC opens another file.

I sent a second FOI request to RDCO hoping to find answers to my first FOI request to no avail.

I have been trying for a very long time to have RDCO answer my one burning question through either email or these two Freedom of Information request contained in this package. My question to RDCO has always been why a jump in revenue for “Garbage Collection Fees” at the N.O.W.E.S.I. transfer station between 2006 – 2007?

I am tired of asking and never getting a direct answer. As I understand it, Regional Districts are to only charge residents for the service if they actually receive the service. At that time I didn’t see any drastic jump in the amount of new homes being occupied and contributing to the N.O.W.E.S.I. transfer station to come to that amount of revenue jump for garbage collection fees. I suspect that RDCO took the money from some other area who did not receive the NOWESI service. RDCO should be able to show that the money came from residents whom receive the service and then the money went to the operation and maintenance of the same NOWESI transfer station service that those residents use, but I haven’t seen that detailed transaction yet. The same with these other accounts listed in my second FOI request to RDCO dated Sept 25, 2008

I received the latest email from RDCO Bruce Smith on Feb 16, 2009 saying that RDCO can’t give me the information I am seeking. I get every answer but the answer I am seeking, why the jump in revenue. RDCO should be able to supply that information to me but they don’t.

I am just wondering how many emails and freedom of information act requests this will take to have my question finally answered. I am really sick of these people down at RDCO. I feel they are just laughing at me and trying to waste my time on purpose! I truly believe these people do this on purpose….and I am not joking! I really do feel that way because this is not the only problems I have had with RDCO. I am sure this won’t be the last story!

Government has driven me crazy! Honestly! And then government wonders why I am crazy. Go figure! I just want the answer that’s all!

Thank you,
North Westsider

 

This email below to Bruce Smith dated Feb 19, 2009 came attached to the letter dated February 24, 2009 banning the complainant from emailing the Regional District anymore.

 

This email (below) that the complainant sent Bruce Smith asking about other information he was not answering, was attached with the letter above.

Subject: Bruce needs help
From: North Westsider
Date: Feb 19, 2009 7:50 PM
To: Bruce Smith

To Bruce Smith:

I sent you some emails yesterday (it was actually over the last few days) which one question was not hard to answer. I take it that you didn't have time to look at your email today Bruce or maybe you would have answered. It seems that lately you can't seem to answer your email the following day after receiving it. It looks to me like RDCO needs to hire someone to answer emails as the current employee can't seem to keep up in a timely manner. The question I asked in my email yesterday was such a simple question asking for the date Bruce Smith posted the water system study for Lower Fintry Feasibility and if Bruce Smith had time to answer his emails then maybe I would have replied to the questions I asked by now.

Thank you
North Westsider

-----------------------

These are two of the emails that the complainant was referring to that Bruce Smith had not answered.

Subject: Re: $17,500 water system report
From: North Westsider
Sent: Feb 18, 2009 4:15 AM
To: Bruce Smith

To Bruce Smith:

I just noticed a new report on the water studies webpage - April 2008 report from the consultant on Preliminary Groundwater Feasibility Assessment. When did that report get posted to RDCO's website?

Thank you
North Westsider

-----------------------------

Subject: Water Meter Bills
From: North Westsider
Sent: Feb 19, 2009 3:37 AM
To: Bruce Smith

To Bruce Smith:

In the Regional District for the water supply systems for residential customers. What was the figure for the most expensive residential water meter bill in each month over the last year and what was the figure for the least expensive water meter bill?

Thank you
North Westsider

-----------------------------

Bruce Smith had stopped replying to emails the complainant sent after Feb 17, 2009 so the email sent to Bruce on Feb 18, 2009 was not answered nor the email on Feb 19, 2009 and emails were still not answered on Feb 20, 2009

 

The reason why the complainant was interested in the date that the water system study was posted to RDCO's website was because the date of the report was June 2008 and it wasn't posted to RDCO's website until just before the water system was to be voted on.

 

Without notice to the complainant, the complainant was then blocked from sending email to the Regional District on Feb 24, 2009

 

Subject: Testicle
From: North Westsider
Date: September 25, 2009 12:26 PM
To: info [at] cord.bc.ca

To RDCO:

Why was my email blocked?

Thank you
North Westsider

BLOCKED AGAIN

 

Subject: Testicle
From: North Westsider
Date: September 25, 2009 4:41 PM
To: Bruce Smith

Does your email work yet

Nope ... still blocked!

 

Here you will find the NOWESI (Sugar Loaf) transfer station Freedom of Information request and reply along with some financial documents belonging to the Sugar Loaf Transfer Station and the Traders Cover Transfer Station by the looks of these financial records.  It looks like the residents whom pay for Sugar Loaf transfer station are also paying for snow and ice removal at Traders Cover transfer station.

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