Phunding a Phony Phantom?

Another Private Society?

We are all familiar with the Lady Minto’s annual Phantom Ball fund raiser. However, it appears they now have local competition.

The latest set of questions which have arisen for the embattled Salt Spring Island Trustees, George Ehring and Christine Torgrimson, revolve around their funding of what appears to a non-existent society.

At the October 6, 2011 Local Trust Committee (LTC) Meeting, Trustees George Ehring and Christine Torgrimson moved and seconded and passed a resolution to provide the Salt Spring Island Housing Council Society with $4,000.

As was the case with the funding for the Water Council Society on Sept. 1, 2011, the Salt Spring Island Housing Council Society funding “request” was not on the LTC Agenda, and, came forward, side-by-side, with the $4,000 funding for the Salt Spring Island Climate Action Council Society.

However, a search of the Provincial Society Registry indicates no such entity as the Salt Spring Housing Council Society (or Salt Spring Island Housing Council Society) currently exists.

Given the Trustees have admitted they co-founded two other private societies (the Salt Spring Island Climate Action Council Society and the Salt Spring Island Water Council Society) is it possible they jumped the funding gun and dedicated money to an as yet to be created private society?

The questions which flow from this are:

1. What is the Phantom Salt Spring Housing Council Society?

2. Who are the founding and current Directors?

3. When was it founded?

4. Where is the written funding request from the Phantom Society to the Local Trust Committee and, who signed the funding request?

5. If the Society is not yet established, were the Trustees aware of that fact when they passed the resolution?

6. Did the two Trustees meet, outside of the public eye, to discuss this funding request prior to the LTC meeting, since it was not on the October 6, 2011, Agenda? (see – http://www.islandstrust.bc.ca/ltc/ss/pdf/ssagendaoct062011cov.pdf )

7. Has a cheque for the $4,000 been issued by the Islands Trust and/or cashed  by the Phantom Salt Spring Housing Council Society, and if so, into what bank account and under whose signing authority?

8. What are the Bylaws of the Phantom Society, and are the minutes of the Society’s meetings freely available to the public?

9. What are the Membership requirements of the Phantom Society?

10. Has the Phantom Society hired a phantom paid Coordinator, and, if so, when?

To provide balanced reporting, I will interweave answers from the LTC with the above questions when they are received. To that end, I have forwarded a list of questions to the LTC’s Chair, Trustee Sheila Malcolmson, which should help to begin unmasking this Phantom.

Update October 22nd – I have now reviewed the video of the Oct 6 LTC meeting and will be posting a new blog with the verbatim transcript and link to the video later today.

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3 Responses to Phunding a Phony Phantom?

  1. bix milix says:

    The source of the Phantom…………..

    Trust launches housing plan

    By Sean McIntyre – Gulf Islands Driftwood
    Published: May 11, 2011 10:00 AM
    Updated: May 11, 2011 10:20 AM

    Last week’s Salt Spring Local Trust Committee meeting celebrated the release of an action plan to help address the island’s affordable housing crisis.

    The next step identified in the 33-page Salt Spring Island Community Affordable Housing Strategy is creation of a volunteer-driven housing council linked to the Capital Regional District to oversee and implement dozens of recommendations outlined in the new document.

    “I’m very very pleased that we will not have another document that sits on the shelf, that we are moving right ahead into implementation by establishing a housing council,” said trustee Christine Torgrimson during Thursday afternoon’s LTC meeting. “I’m firmly committed to that and really pleased to see that happening.”

    Torgrimson chaired a five-member steering committee that brought together representatives from the Trust and Capital Regional District in conjunction with consultant Janis Gauthier. The latest stage of the island’s housing strategy draws on research and community input between 2005 and 2011.

    “The ‘housing council’ will initially be structured as a B.C. non-profit society, and we are exploring a possible ongoing, formal relationship with the Capital Regional District,” said Salt Spring Island CRD director Garth Hendren in a statement released late last week. “Partnerships will be key to the council’s success, with due care taken to avoid duplication of efforts and/or competition with the existing community groups for scarce resources.”

    Volunteers are needed to participate on the council.

    • Kol Ayre says:

      And it’s no accident that Janis Gauthier – the housing “consultant”, just happens to be another of those 300 ardent Ehring and Torgrimson supporters who proclaimed that support in the Driftwood ad. at the last election.

      How many others in the Housing Council Society are names from that ad.?

  2. Editor’s Note:

    The Driftwood article above ( http://www.bclocalnews.com/vancouver_island_south/saltspringislanddriftwood/news/121644224.html ) gives some hints to potential answers to the questions I have posed, but, to the best of my knowledge, nothing further about the references to the proposed “housing council,” or “housing society,” or requests for “volunteers..needed to participate on the council” has been published or advertised since this article – May 11th – 5 months before the Phantom appeared, unannounced on the Agenda, at the LTC meeting on October 6th. (A Google search for the term “Salt Spring Housing Council” results in 3 hits – all of them referencing this blog’s articles.)

    Given Trustee Torgrimson’s comment that “….we are moving right ahead into implementation by establishing a housing council….I’m firmly committed to that and really pleased to see that happening.” can we assume she, Trustee Ehring, CRD Director Hendren and others have “gone ahead,” without further public involvement, behind closed doors, and decided how to have the LTC fund the Phantom Society, before its actual creation…possibly for startup costs of yet another, new, private, society of which they are Directors and one of them Chairs?

    I will update when I learn more.

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