Truthiness and public records — do public records matter?

Truthiness

Before the OCP public hearing minutes (from March 24, 2015) were adopted, I expressed concerns to council about the content, accuracy and context of the draft minute attributed to me on behalf of the Moody Centre Community Association, and requested an amendment to ensure a more complete and accurate public record.

I did not receive a response or acknowledgment, and the draft minutes were adopted on April 14th.

At public input on April 28th, I re-iterated my concerns.

I was told by Mayor Clay the minutes “are what they are” and council chose to adopt them as a fair and accurate summary. (The minute in question happened to be 31 words in total, 17 once the introduction is removed, quite possibly the briefest summary in recent years. While not typical, minute summaries of 200+ words do happen).

It begs the question: are public engagement, public input, and public records important?

The Local Government Act says so (section 890). The Community Charter says so (section 148).

Another curiosity: for some reason, the public hearing minutes no longer list written submissions. On March 24th there were several written submissions, but no mention was made of them in the official minutes — yet the public is invited to make written and/or in-person comments. So anyone reading the minutes may not be aware of the additional comments.

Below is what appeared on the official public record as a summary of what I said.

From the official minutes of the March 24, 2015 OCP public hearing:

“Hazel Mason, Port Moody, spoke on behalf of the Moody Centre Community Association and raised concerns about the lack of community consultation, the lack of cost-benefit analyses, inconsistencies, weak language, etc.” [31 words, 17 starting at “raised concerns …”]

A more accurate summary would be something like this:

“Hazel Mason, Port Moody, spoke on behalf of the Moody Centre Community Association and raised concerns about the lack of community consultation, specifically the Moody Centre neighbourhood most affected by the OCP, and suggested the process felt more like a public relations exercise of putting out fires. She raised further concerns including the lack of cost-benefit analyses, employment projections, inconsistencies within the document and with GVRD and Port Moody maps, policies for public land, weak language, how density bonusing is defined, measurement tools, how a 6-storey building adjacent to single-family is akin to a giant monster home, and noted that MoneySense ranked Moody Centre as #1 in the Lower Mainland in part for its tree-lined streets, backyards and sense of community. She said if the plan is adopted as is corrective measures are still required.” [133 words, 119 starting at “raised concerns …”]

The original speaking notes contained 512 words including the introduction and thank you.

The full text of my speaking notes can be viewed here.

Hazel Mason, President
Moody Centre Community Association (MCCA)

No comment necessary

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