Resort Municipality of Whistler pledged $350,000 for asphalt plant upgrades 

Community Charter states local government cannot give assistance to private businesses

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The municipality also committed in the Agreement to prepare a land survey of the Relocation Site. The $3,700 survey has been completed.

RMOW Administrator Bill Barratt denied in an interview that the agreement violates the Community Charter. He said the Relocation Agreement is a legal settlement and that costs relating to the baghouse and other components amount to "legal costs."

"Legal costs could be legal fees, could be costs associated with a settlement, that's why it was called legal costs," he said. "No mystery."

The agreement, however, is moot at this point since Council failed to move forward with the zoning for Alpine Paving in September.

But the agreement also isn't labeled a settlement. When released to Bonn, Shannon Story, the RMOW's head of Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy, called it a "contract" and the agreement contains no signatures or stamps of approval from either a lawyer or a court registrar.

The agreement states that the parties have "mutual claims" but Barratt denied that Alpine Paving has ever brought a lawsuit against the municipality. He pointed to Schedule E of the agreement to support his claim that it was a legal settlement.

"It was a settlement agreement because it eliminated any future obligations of the municipality," he said. "We couldn't force Alpine Paving to relocate, we had to work cooperatively, so really the agreement, that was a result of us working with Alpine to come up with an upgrade and move the plant and make a financial contribution to the project."

Obtaining the Relocation Agreement itself was a challenge for Whistler residents who filed Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to get it.

Bonn originally filed her application on July 4, 2010, requesting the "Agreement between Alpine Paving (owner) Frank Silveri and RMOW signed in May 2010 regarding the 150m relocation of the asphalt plant." Koshul also filed a request for the agreement.

Both were initially denied their request. And according to Barratt, that's because the agreement was subject to a zoning application and the zoning hadn't yet come to council.

"That's our legal advice, as advised by our lawyers, and they're quite familiar with FOI," he said. "I'm not an expert on the FOI."

Zoning, however, isn't a ground upon which to deny a Freedom of Information request. British Columbia's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act allows public bodies various grounds upon which to refuse a request. Among other things, that includes drafts of resolutions and bylaws or the substance of an in camera meeting. It can also refuse to release information subject to solicitor-client privilege.

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