On Thursday the City council convened a brief Special Meeting that lasted all of 5:30 minutes before the council adjourned into closed session. Here’s a timeline and summary: northcoastreview.blogspot.ca/201 … ly-25.html
What the council discussed in the closed meeting may not be quite so private as they expected if anyone wants to take issue with their compliance with the Community Charter.
There is a list of topics under section 90 that can be considered in closed meetings bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws … #section90
For instance, “the acquisition, disposition or expropriation of land or improvements”, which can refer to Watson Island, has frequently appeared on the notice board and in the minutes as a reason for excluding the public.
However, to close a meeting the council must comply with section 92, which requires that in a public meeting they pass a resolution to close a meeting, which must also state the “basis” under section 90 for closing the meeting bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws … #section92
The council missed the second requirement. Their resolution stated: “That this meeting stand adjourned and that the council re-convene to an in-camera meeting”. They did not state a reason for closing the meeting.
A decision by the Information & Privacy Commission illustrates what can happen when procedural requirements are breached. The District of North Saanich held a closed meeting to consider solicitor-client advice, which is covered by section 90. A citizen asked for a copy of the minutes, was refused and then filed a complaint. The Adjudicator explained:
“ The District asserts that s. 90(1)(i) of the Community Charter authorized it to meet in camera to receive advice subject to solicitor-client privilege. While this may be so, the District nowhere points to a public resolution articulating this as the reason for closing the meeting to the public.The requirement to do so in s. 92 of the Community Charter is not merely a technical or procedural option. It is a mandatory provision that provides an important accountability and transparency mechanism for citizens under local government.”
The municipality was ordered to disclose the closed meeting minutes to the citizen. The order can be found by scrolling down to May 2, 2013 oipc.bc.ca/rulings/orders.aspx