Minutes from confidential meetings surrounding the broken Halifax sewage treatment plant could be made public today, but only if Halifax councillors go against the advice of their own lawyer.
Many of the Halifax Regional Council meetings dealing with the Harbour Solutions Project were held in camera. No one outside of councillors and staff could be present and minutes were never made public.
Some councillors think that should change. Northwest Arm – South End Coun. Sue Uteck proposed releasing the minutes but top city lawyer Mary Ellen Donovan warned not to in case the municipality ends up in court against the plant construction companies.
But Uteck said yesterday she will bring the issue up today at council and call on Donovan to give a good reason why the minutes shouldn’t be released.
“You give me a specific example of why you don’t want these minutes released, and then I can agree or not agree,” Uteck said. “I’m not understanding what is there that the public can’t see.”
Eastern Shore – Musquodoboit Valley Coun. Steve Streatch said he understands why some meetings are held in camera, but there would have to be a very good reason to keep these minutes private.
“(Releasing the documents) has to happen ASAP,” he said. “That has to happen to bring about public confidence that we have lost over the last months.”
If the motion makes it onto the agenda, council will likely discuss the issue with Donovan in camera.
Mayor Peter Kelly said the first priority is to protect the taxpayers, adding he supports releasing as much information as possible that doesn’t put the public at risk.
“We have to protect the public at all costs. Their investment cannot be jeopardized,” Kelly said.