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FOIP coordinator could help the town avoid being FOIPed

It’s about this FOIP thing. FOIP stands for Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act so yer right, it’s easier to say FOIP.

It’s about this FOIP thing.

FOIP stands for Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act so yer right, it’s easier to say FOIP.

Basically it’s designed as a method to obtain information that various levels of government are reluctant to release.

Some levels of government use FOIP to hide information. They say they can’t release something and that such information would have to be FOIPed hoping that it never happens, and it often dies at that stage.

The provincial government is making a career out of releasing information prior to a FOIP action hoping if they control the answer it might be easier.

The whole thing is silly of course and if governments were open and transparent there would be no need for FOIP but that’s not the world we live in.

We asked readers for a few suggestions on issues that might be FOIPed and we’ve received a few. The donors will always remain anonymous of course because we’re far more interested in the facts than the personalities.

One question said a group has been trying to get information from the Town of Cochrane engineering department for the past 30 months and have received nothing as yet. Now there might be a real good reason why someone would have to wait two and one-half years to get information from an engineer but I can’t for the life of me think of one.

Another wanted to know the total final cost of the Ipsos Reid polls conducted on transit and open spaces.

The questioner said he’s asked town staff a few times but has yet to receive a reply.

Another query wanted to see the financial records for the Cochrane Sustainability Plan and how much it has received directly and indirectly from the town the past three years. Again, this reader apparently posed the question to town staff a few times and has yet to receive a reply.

So where do we go from here? I suppose the next step is to talk to Jackie Depper who is the FOIP coordinator for the Town of Cochrane.

Now that’s big time. I had no idea this wee village by the Bow had it’s very own FOIP coordinator. Next thing you know we’ll have buses.

But I digress.

So I phoned our FOIP coordinator and discovered her role is really a two-way street. She’ll do what she can to get the information but her role is also to protect our information.

The town of course has all sorts of details on its citizens and its businesses and one of her jobs is to make sure that info remains confidential.

If it comes to a FOIP situation there’s a form to fill out and a $25 fee but our coordinator says she will try and get the information required or put the questioner in contact with those with answers. Which would not only avoid a FOIP situation but would answer the question.

And we all win.

You’ll never need to FOIP Barb Higgins, you always know exactly where she’s coming from.

The former CFCN news anchor and Calgary mayoralty candidate is the guest speaker at the Cochrane Foundation dinner at GlenEagles, Friday, Oct.26 at 6:30 pm.

The good news is there’s still a few tickets left but very few. There’s no question Barb will have more than a few well-researched comments about life today.

And just to show what a good sport she really is, one of the live auction items during the evening is a lunch with Barb.