Despite calls for an investigation into the conduct of a former Hornby Island Islands trustee, the organization will not be investigating the behaviour of Tony Law.
Last month, Law, a longtime trustee with Islands Trust, announced his resignation, which stemmed from allegations of a personal nature.
“Given the allegations, trustee Law felt it would be best to step back from public life,” said Islands Trust council chair Peter Luckham in an October statement.
“It would be inappropriate for me or the Trust to comment on the resignation, except to say that our thoughts are with the people of Hornby Island as they work their way through this difficult time. These are not easy conversations to have but they must happen to ensure that all members of our community feel heard and valued.”
The announcement follows accusations of Law’s inappropriate behaviour and discussion on an online Hornby Island Facebook group.
When contacted on Oct.23, Islands Trust chair Peter Luckham told The Record he had not seen any formal complaints by residents sent to the trust about Law.
However, The Record has received two emails that were sent to Islands Trust concerning Law’s behaviour – one sent on April 25, 2018 questioning misrepresentation as a “local trustee and provincial parks employee to add credibility” to a listing Law had on a couch surfing website, and another sent on Oct. 21, 2018 concerning the behaviour noted on the Facebook group and asked for an investigation to be held into Law’s behaviour.
The email sent on Oct. 21 was received by Cassandra Rahmann, administrative assistant for Islands Trust, who noted it was passed on to the relevant personnel.
On Nov. 1, Andrew Templeton, communications specialist with Islands Trust replied to the sender: “the governance of the Islands Trust is regulated by the Community Charter and the Local Government Act (LGA). The Islands Trust is not authorized to investigate matters that are beyond the scope of its jurisdiction.”
According to a spokesperson at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Community Charter and Local Government Act outlines obligations of elected officials and prohibited behaviours in regards to the performance of their duties of office.
Local governments and the Islands Trust may also have codes of conduct or standards of behaviour that describe an elected official’s expected behaviour, including a review process in place if a complaint is to be made.
The spokesperson added if a member of the public feels that they have been treated unfairly by a local government (including the Islands Trust) they may bring this matter to the attention of the Office of the Ombudsperson.
“In any situation where individuals have concerns about potentially unlawful behaviour by elected officials, they should bring complaints to the police, who are equipped to investigate as appropriate.”
In an email to The Record, Templeton confirmed the governance of the Trust is regulated by the charter and LGA.
He also noted the Islands Trust is not in receipt of complaints regarding Mr. Law’s conduct while he was acting in his capacity as a trustee.
“…Consequently, the Islands Trust is not able to respond to matters of a personal nature.”
When asked about the email sent and on Oct. 21, Templeton added to the best of his knowledge, everyone who has contacted Islands Trust regarding this matter has been responded to.
Currently, The Islands Trust is seeking to appoint a chief elections officer following Law’s resignation. A byelection has not been set, but the election must take place within 80 days of the appointment of a chief elections officer.
Until the byelection is held, the Hornby Islands Local Trust Committee will continue to meet and perform its functions with Trustee Alex Allen and a chair appointed by the Islands Trust Chair.
At its first meeting Nov.8 since the local government elections in October, the Islands Trust Council re-elected Peter Luckham as chair, now severing his second term.