An incoming board of directors set to take the reins of the embattled Portland Hotel Society is heavy on ties to Vancouver Coastal Health.
On a list of eight names expected to take over PHS are Patty Daly, VCH chief medical health officer, Sandra Heath, a VCH board member, and Ida Goodreau, former VCH CEO.
Today (March 19) PHS announced that members of its current board of directors were resigning following an ultimatum from the provincial government related to alleged misspending. PHS executive director Mark Townsend has defended the organization’s conduct.
The board resignations come a little more than a year after PHS was involved in a public dispute with VCH over funding for a women’s program at the Rainier Hotel. While taking millions in government contracts, PHS has repeatedly attracted the ire of the provincial government for advocacy work related to housing and health issues that its members have engaged in.
In addition to Daly, Heath, and Goodreau, the list of incoming board members obtained by the Straight includes Craig Crawford, vice president of operations at B.C. Housing, and Faye Wightman, former head of the Vancouver Foundation.
The names of Robert Broderick, James Eugene O'Dea, and Glenn McCurdy also appear on the list.
PHS is best-known for operating Insite, North America's first and only legal supervised injection facility. The non-profit has led the way on a number of harm reduction initiatives in Vancouver, including methadone programs and needle distribution services.
Members of PHS’s management team including Townsend, Liz Evans, Dan Small, and Kerstin Stuerzbecher have also said that they are resigning, and will sever official ties with PHS before the end of the month.
A new PHS board will officially be appointed at the next annual general meeting.
In an interview conducted before the names of incoming board members were known to the Straight, Townsend said that his priority as outgoing executive director would be to facilitate a smooth transition for the new team.
“Hopefully, for the people on the ground that really matter, nothing will change."