By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
Seven months after the original targeted release date, the city has released nearly 7,000 pages of documents related to the controversial 2013 works depot land purchase.
The documents were released on March 29, two days before the promised delivery date of March 31, 2019.
The release was originally supposed to happen in late-August 2018.
However, former city clerk Andrew Brouwer said the magnitude of preparing the documents was much more considerable than originally anticipated.
Brouwer also stated preparing for last fall’s municipal election had eaten up a great deal of staff resources at the time.
The release includes all “available electronic records from 2001 to 2014 on the city clerks services corporate file server.”
Also released were records on a computer drive given to municipal investigator George Rust D’Eye, who performed a review of the city’s purchase of the land at 199 Wentworth Street East in 2013.
Additonally, records related to the purchase of the works depot previously released through Freedom of Information requests were made available.
A 2013 report by former city auditor Ron Foster where he alleged the city had overpaid for the property by up to $1.5 million and the independence of his office had been compromised was previously released last summer.
City council eliminated the city auditor position a few months after the land purchase.
Over the past six years, a group of residents, including Jeff Davis, have been fighting for the release of the documents.
City clerk services staff have noted that in preparing the records, they had to ensure it did not include confidential information provided by third parties and personal information.
These exemptions in the records are under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
It is clear the release of the records hasn’t improved Davis’ opinion of the city’s handling of the situation.
“While this big release of ‘electronic records’ might look impressive, the city has admitted that they don’t have a proper definition of what a record is, they don’t have a proper system or process to retain records, search and reproduce records,” he said.
The records are available on the city’s website at www.oshawa.ca/FOIactivity
Due to the size and number of the files, time required to download documents may vary depending on computer Internet connections.
For a copy of the records on a USB or DVD, the fee is $10. One business day notice is required prior to pick up.
For more information, city clerks services can be contacted at 905-436-3311, email at email@example.com or in person during City Hall’s regular business hours.
The Oshawa Express will be reviewing the records and report on its findings in a future article.