Board of Vancouver’s safe injection site resigns in battle over funding

The board and senior managers of Vancouver’s groundbreaking safe injection site have resigned amid concerns over spending by the non-profit group behind the initiative.

VANCOUVER — The board and senior managers of Vancouver’s groundbreaking safe injection site have resigned amid concerns over spending by the non-profit group behind the initiative.

Mark Townsend, executive director for the Portland Hotel Society, says the provincial government presented an ultimatum demanding senior society officials leave their posts or risk the loss of funding and contracts.

Townsend says rather than jeopardize programs, he and the others will step aside by the end of the month and that the society has assurances that there will be no cuts or changes as the new board takes over.

The society spearheads housing programs, dental and health clinics and other outreach services, as well as Insite, North America’s only safe injection site.

The province hired an independent accounting firm to check the society’s books last fall after B.C. Housing, which oversees the society, found irregularities in spending.

Housing Minister Rich Coleman said earlier this month that two audits have been done after significant concerns were raised about how the society manages taxpayers’ money.

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