In preparation for my new role, I conjured up some Freedom of Information requests I thought would help give insight into some issues that have been discussed at council over the last two months.
First, in relation to a financing deal that enabled the construction of the Centennial Park Soccer Dome, I filed a request on Sept. 4 for:
"Any records related to the deal reached between Guelph Community Sports and the City of Guelph regarding financing the construction and operation of the indoor soccer facility at Centennial Sports Park in Guelph, Ontario."
The city replied that my request would take three hours of staff time to search for and prepare, consist of 222 pages of documents, and cost $135 to deliver.
In comparison, the University of Guelph's agreement with the Hamilton Tiger Cats, allowing them to play at Alumni Stadium, was somewhere around 30 pages in length.
But it gets better.
A second FOI I filed to obtain a copy of a report the City of Guelph paid consultants to write about how to best redevelop the Baker and Wyndham Street area was denied, because "the information is soon to be published" according to city staff.
Legislation allows public organizations to deny FOIs if the information is slated to be released within 90 days of when the request is made.
I will continue filing FOIs but Mercury readers should take note, it's a hit and miss exercise at best.