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TBM council finds compromise on request for housing corp. video

Board chair promises to start discussion with housing corporation about improving public access to meeting recordings
BMAHC at meeting
Blue Mountains Attainable Housing Corporation Executive Director Jennifer Bisley speaks to The Blue Mountains council on August 18.

The Blue Mountains council reached a compromise on a request from Coun. Paula Hope to receive a copy of a video recording of a recent meeting of the Blue Mountains Attainable Housing Corporation (BMAHC) board of directors.

Hope did get a transcript of the meeting and the chair of the BMAHC has promised to start a discussion at the next board meeting about making meeting recordings available to the public. In turn, Hope is going back to the editing desk to hone her request further by bringing back another motion on Aug. 29. 

Before a compromise was reached, however, there was some debate about Hope's request for the video.

Hope brought a resolution requesting the video from BMAHC to council’s special meeting held on Aug. 18 after incorrect information about how she voted on council’s decision to transfer land at 171 King Street to the corporation was shared by Coun. Rob Sampson (chair of the board) and Mayor Alar Soever with the rest of the board on July 7. Hope requested the recording, but to date has received just a transcript of the proceedings.

“A fundamental democratic principle is at stake here,” said Hope, noting that the town funds BMAHC. “Council funds that organization and council is asking for a copy of that recording.”

BMAHC Executive Director Jennifer Bisley spoke briefly to council before the debate on the motion and observed the discussion from the public gallery.

Sampson said BMAHC is a separate entity from the town, consisting of elected officials and private citizens, that operates under different regulations. He said Hope’s motion was too vague.

“What is the intended use of that information? We need to be clear,” he said. “If it’s for the purposes of viewing the recording it should be clear in the motion.”

The debate consumed a considerable amount of time during the meeting and at several points both CAO Shawn Everitt and Clerk Corrina Giles interjected to say the resolution needed more clarity. Everitt said the resolution should be clear about what it was asking in terms of whether the video recording was to be shared with council only or the public at large.

“We need clear direction of what we’re going to be doing,” said Everitt.

After considerable back-and-forth discussion, the compromise was reached when Sampson committed to take the issue to the next board meeting during the first week of September to have a discussion about making the meeting recordings available for viewing.

“Let’s get on with it so we can get something done,” said Sampson. “I don’t think we’ll go further than what the down does, which allows people to view (meeting videos).”

In an interview after the meeting, Hope said she was pleased by how the debate ended.

“I’m very happy with the results of this discussion,” she said. “We came up with a solution that was better than my request. I’m very pleased about that.”