Markham Ordered To Release Arena Docs

The city of Markham, Ontario, is being asked to make public some of the details of a failed $325 million arena project.


The province’s privacy commissioner, Stella Ball, recently issued a report calling for the release of paperwork the city had claimed was protected by closed meeting laws and solicitor-client privilege, according to documents obtained by the Toronto Star.

“The adjudicator orders disclosure of one record, with the exception of some personal information,” Ball wrote. “The city is ordered to reconsider all other discretionary exemption claims and may disclose the record to the appellant, if it decides to.” Markham’s bid to build an NHL-sized arena fell through in 2013 and some local officials have since been trying to get their hands on documents surrounding the failed deal.

City Councilor Karen Rea filed a complaint after repeated attempts to obtain the documents were denied. She told the Star she’ll bring up Ball’s report at the next meeting in efforts to get the council to release the documents before an order is issued. “We have the option here to release these reports without waiting for the privacy commissioner to force our hand,” she said. Ball’s report also notes that the city should take public interest into consideration over the matter.

“I find that the city failed to take into account a relevant consideration in exercising its discretion; specifically, the possible public interest. On this basis alone, I would have required the city to re-exercise its discretion,” she said.