Earlier this year, the government concluded wildfire preparedness and suppression-related correspondence between municipalities and the province's senior elected and unelected forests ministry officials wasn't a matter of public interest. As a result, it refused to waive a $160 fee for those records. This, despite the fact funding for preparedness activities was restricted just months before British Columbia was hit by another catastrophic forest fire season. Asked about the decision last night on Voice of BC, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell said, "You know, I thought Public Eye Online was actually doing better than that. I thought the 160 bucks was probably something he'd be willing to commit to. But I'll tell you what, Sean - just come and see me. I'll get what you need. You know you can always count on me if you're looking for me. So come down to my office and I'll look after you." The following is a complete copy of the government's fee waiver denial.
September 24, 2010