SODC Denies FOI Request

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Nov. 9, 2013

In the past, Squamish Oceanfront Development Corporation (SODC) has shown a single-minded determination to stop information about Oceanfront from getting into your hands.

Now, they are back at what they do best.

“A lot of development companies don’t want other development companies to know what they are bidding on.” Coun. Heintzman

SODC is refusing to release information on which other companies sent expressions of interest for the Oceanfront project.

SODC responded to the latest FOI request by the Squamish Reporter with unusual alacrity, sending a letter of denial within two days of filing that request. 

The FOI request was denied on grounds that the disclosure will be harmful to the financial or economic interests of a public body

The request was denied under Section 17 (i), which is disclosure harmful to the financial or economic interest of a public body, and Section 21 (i), which is disclosure harmful to business interest of a third party.

In June last year, the district hired Cushman & Wakefield to find the best developer for the Oceanfront Lands.

According to the district, there were seven expressions of interest in the project.

Both SODC and Mayor Rob Kirkham, however, have refused to reveal the names of other companies who sent expressions of interest, saying it was part of the terms and conditions associated with the bid.

Acting Mayor Patricia Heintzman said it’s not the district, but the proponents who asked for confidentiality.

“A lot of development companies don’t want other development companies to know what they are bidding on,” she said.

Mayor Kirkham reiterated her point, saying the part of an arrangement with the proponents was confidentiality about their proposals.

Heintzman said there could be a possibility that the names might be revealed later.

“We could ask permission, but we don’t want to yet, not until we know we can strike the deal,” she said.

In August last year, SODC demanded $4514.39 to provide answers for questions related to payments for its 120 consultants.