REPORTING · 12th August 2014
A problem with closed meetings and information which is in camera is it keeps information which the public should know away from the public. At the Regional District Meeting on Friday August 8th, the RDKS members of the board talked about a potential referendum to ask the region if they should retain the property of MK Bay Marina.
While they could not speak openly about information which is in camera, several did speak as if the marina had already been sold or given away.
The Regional District of Kitimat Stikine had a motion to put forth by Director Doug McLeod on Friday, August 8th to hold the following referendum during the general election: “Are you in favour of the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine retaining ownership of the MK Bay Marina.” McLeod wanted the vote on this motion to be recorded, meaning the vote would not be done by a show of hands; it would done by roll-call.
RDKS Chair Bruce Bidgood reminded the member of the Regional District: “I will remind the members of the board that any specific reference on this issue is dealt with In Camera and we’ll keep our comments confined to the generic nature of the motion at hand.”
McLeod was told he would be speaking to the motion last.
Director Nyce explained the MK Bay was a business and the Regional District was not running a business. He said he was miles away from the marina and focus on issues which affect them as a region.
“MK Bay, I think, is one that is teetering to some extent, one of the things we need to focus on is policy,” said Nyce. “I think so far, that this as a business, is more suited to a corporation to deal just with this business. We have great staff here and we deal with it a lot. I’m not sure it is fair for the other stuff we put on our agenda.”
Director Ramsey stated he found it difficult to vote on this in good conscious so long as a part of it is in camera. He wanted to vote on the big picture.
“These are incredibly expensive recreations. They are not something that is open and available to everybody in the community because not everybody can afford a boat, not everybody can afford the fees. It really boils down to government, if they are involved in this, it should be for social purposes. The taxpayers are subsidizing a business which is there to generate revenue and we spend a significant amount of staff time, not only money, but staff time and I don’t think it is in the best interest of the Regional District to stay in business with something like this,” said Director Tyers
Director Germuth stated that he was not in favour of the referendum, but the RDKS needed public input.
“The public input needs to be there before we go and do something and we can’t go back on. This is a huge public asset and I do agree with the spirit of having some public input in this when we get there, but I don’t think we’re at the point where we need a referendum,” said Germuth.
McLeod expressed they cannot discuss it because it is in camera. This is why he stated it has to go to the public. They have been out of the debate for 30 years because everything has been going on behind the scenes while the public owns the facility.
He pointed out members of the board have not been there to see the public facility. “The only access to the sea which is available to the public of Kitimat. There are children down there fishing off the dock. There are no tax dollars paid to that facility since 1995...” said McLeod.
Bidgood cut him off because the topic had to be kept on the referendum. McLeod expressed he was bringing the topics back to the people who made them.
“Director Nyce said it takes up a lot of time, I rather it did. [The] Service review has not yet been released to the public so it is still in camera,” said McLeod. “The people who paid for that survey can’t see it.”
He stated it was a very important facility and the Regional District 101 states the Regional Districts do what the members and the public agree they should do. They need to have consent of the member municipalities. The Constituents have had no opportunity to speak to the issue and the public should be able to participate in the debate and tell the RDKS whether it the marina should be maintained or sold.
Bidgood thanked them for keeping to the topic and pointed out there was no referendum to establish the marina. There was no public input on the decision and there is no requirement to have a referendum on this issue.
“It falls completely in the mandate of the regional district,” said Bidgood.
The motion was called and defeated.
Later in the meeting, Director Phil Germuth put forward a notice of motion that the people of Kitimat be consulted on the future of the marina. However, the board thought this relevant information could not be presented to the public because of it’s in camera nature.
Electoral Area E Voter
Comment by C. Sandecki on 22nd August 2014
THe happenings at this meeting as reported concern me for two main reasons:
1. The maker of a motion has the option to speak before and after everyone else has put in his or her two bits worth. It is not sufficient to presume by making the motion the member has stated his argument for his motion.
To restrict the maker of a motion to speaking only afterward is against the rules of order, whether using Robert's Rules of Order or the antiquated rules (from 1884) that the Regional District follows.
2. Too much business is dealt with in-camera and remains in camera. Minutes report only Carried or Defeated. Nothing more.
The Provincial Ombudsman has stated all business dealt with in-camera should following the meeting be shared fully with the public.
This the RDKS fails to do consistently.
The board is dealing with our business, making decisions we have to live with and pay for. We deserve to know how our elected and acclaimed representatives argued the question in-camera.
MK Bay Marina
Comment by Larry Walker on 18th August 2014
Why doesn't DOK just purchase it for the citizens of Kitimat?
And you have to actually live in Kitimat to have moorage or launch your boat. This would solve the parking problem I am sure. Tourists could still avail themselves of the fishing by hiring LOCAL GUIDES.