Lister Block

Release Lister Report: Dickson

By Ryan McGreal
Published February 14, 2008

Kieran Dickson, a Hamilton-based lawyer and social advocate, has submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for provincial documents related to the Lister Block.

In May 2006, before City Council voted on whether to approve a request by LIUNA to demolish the building, Councillor Brian McHattie asked Caroline Di Cocco, the Ontario Minister of Culture, to intervene and declare the Lister a provincial heritage building.

Di Cocco asked the Ontario Heritage Trust to prepare a report on the Lister's heritage value. The report was never released publicly, but it still spurred a last minute compromise between LIUNA, City Council and Di Cocco, which established an ad hoc committee to find a compromise solution to the impasse.

(The compromise solution, a hybrid restoration funded in part with $7 million in provincial money, has since fallen through, though a last-ditch intervention by Mayor Eisenberger is still in progress.)

Despite multiple requests by McHattie, the Ministry of Culture never released the report. Nor did it actually declare the Lister a provincial heritage building.

Dickson has asked the Ministry to release the following documents:

The province argues that the report falls under subsection 13(1) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which allows exemptions on disclosure for:

advice or recommendations of a public servant, any other person employed in the service of an institution or a consultant retained by the institution.

Dickson counters that this exemption is subject to subsection 13(2) of the Act, which excludes from this exemption:

a record that contains a report of a committee, counsel or other body which is attached to an institution and has been established for the purpose of undertaking inquiries and making reports or recommendations to the institution.

More to come once the Ministry replies to Dickson's letter.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By CitiJoe (anonymous) | Posted February 16, 2008 at 00:16:06

I don't know if this is more depressing or astonishing? Why all the secrecy?

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