Letter: MOTI is hiding the facts regarding the Gabriola bridge feasibility study

Tuesday, March 8 2016

I continue to be astonished regarding the lack of transparency regarding the Gabriola bridge feasibility study. Some months ago, and prior to the final report being released, I requested through the FOI and Privacy Act a copy of the draft report prepared by CH2M Hill Canada Limited regarding the feasibility of a fixed link between Gabriola Island and Vancouver Island that was presented to the Ministry by CH2M Hill Canada Ltd. (the contractor). 

After receiving a letter or two from the FOI folks advising that they were extending their deadline for response to my request I received the following from government: “Please be advised the records you requested are withheld in their entirety pursuant to sections 13 (Policy advice or recommendations), 16 (Disclosure harmful to intergovernmental relations or negotiations), and 17 (Disclosure harmful to the financial or economic interests of a public body) of FOIPPA.” 

For the life of me I cannot understand how on earth withholding a document that should be very close in every way to the final report must be withheld because it will be harmful to the government. 

Unless of course the draft report was severely edited, which leads me to believe that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure or other government sources did co-opt the process. 

~ John Mallett, Mudge Island