A West End watchdog known for criticizing city hall and Metro Vancouver is now taking aim at TransLink.
According to Randy Helten of West End Neighbours and MetroVanWatch, the regional transportation authority needs to provide greater oversight of how it amends the “articles” that set out the rules of procedure for the TransLink board of directors, meetings, and public input.
“The key issue may boil down to one word, ”˜confidential,’ in the amended TransLink Board Articles, but this word is the door to some very important issues for the public, with implications for decades and many billions of dollars in the future, and the very shape of our communities in the Metro Vancouver region,” Helten told TransLink corporate secretary Gigi Chen-Kuo in a May 11 email.
Helten told the Straight he disagrees with the section in the newly revised articles pertaining to who has authority to withhold confidential board information from TransLink’s website. Originally, Helten said, the proposed amendments gave both the board chair, Nancy Olewiler, and the corporate secretary that authority.
Helten emailed his displeasure that two individuals had that kind of oversight of information in the public interest. He learned that a corrected version would appear on the website.
“Your enquiry has led us to discover that an earlier draft of the proposed amendments to the Articles was inadvertently posted on our website,” Chen-Kuo wrote Helten on May 10. “As a result, we will be posting the corrected version shortly (copy attached). The proposed amendments will take effect on June 13, 2011.”
After consulting the corporate secretary’s office, TransLink spokesperson Ken Hardie clarified to the Straight that “only the chair” has the authority to withhold information deemed confidential. He added that anyone can file a freedom-of-information request if they want to test such a decision.