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VANOC files remain secret

BOB MACKIN, QMI AGENCY

The legacy of VANOC secrecy will last until 2025.

A contract between the 2010 Winter Olympics organizing committee, Canadian Olympic Committee and Vancouver city hall, released after a QMI Freedom of Information request, said all board and committee minutes, policies and resolutions, financial statements, legal correspondence, ledgers and journals will remain sealed for 15 years in the city archives. Contracts and leases will stay sealed for 20 years, but can be opened sooner if third parties permit release.

The Archival Material Agreement's restriction period to protect third-party interests began Sept. 30, 2010. City manager Penny Ballem signed the contract Nov. 9, 2010. Ballem is also a city-appointed VANOC director.

NPA Coun. Suzanne Anton said the contract was never discussed by city council.

"Now that it's over, there is no reason to be secret," Anton said.

VANOC was shielded from Freedom of Information laws and refused to open board meetings to the media. City of Vancouver, which must adhere to FOI, is the designated repository of VANOC artifacts and records.

Freedom of Information and Privacy Association of B.C. policy director Vince Gogolek said the agreement may be illegal.

"You can't contract out of the act, that's the basic principle," Gogolek said.