The City of Kamloops will not release archeological assessments it conducted last year.
According to the city’s annual report, the city completed five archeological impact assessments on city-owned development sites in 2021. Last year, the city hired a staff archeologist at a cost of $100,000 per year.
Kamloops This Week filed a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act request for those assessments.
In a response, the city denied that request, citing harm to intergovernmental relations or negotiations, harm to the conservation of heritage sites and harm to the interests of an Indigenous people. KTW asked for clarification about how releasing the assessments would be harmful.
The city’s privacy officer, Stephanie Nichols, wrote that B.C.’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act states a public body must refuse to disclose information if the disclosure could reasonably be expected to harm the rights of an Indigenous people to maintain, control, protect or develop cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and/or manifestations of sciences, technologies or cultures.
“Public disclosure of information pertaining to sites that have heritage value or spiritual significance could reasonably be seen to harm Indigenous people’s ability to adequately protect and maintain those sites,” Nichols wrote in her response to KTW.