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Friday, December 1, 2023

Letter to the Editor – Steve Christensen

August 28, 2023


Tony Gregson

Denman Works

Denman Is, BC


RE: Mike Van Santvoord, The Grapevine & The Misuse of Public Funds


I’m writing to you regarding recent actions taken by Denman Works to cancel the maintenance contract with Mike Van Santvoord for visitdenmanisland.ca and to remove Mike from the Denman Works volunteer board.  It’s been reported the reason for these decisions was due to your charge that Mike had brought “disrepute” to Denman Works.

I’m a taxpayer and 10 year resident and property owner on Denman Island and as such I am requesting an explanation from you for these actions, specifically I want answers to the questions below.  I also urge you to consider the following point.  There has been criticism of the Grapevine for publishing the contents of what was assumed to be a private letter from Bronwyn Schuster.  Bronwyn admitted she threatened, in the letter, to withhold funding from the Grapevine for ads/content unless the paper stopped printing content she didn’t like.  While Bronwyn may have intended the letter to be private, by discussing decisions related to disbursement of public funds, she automatically made this letter public.  And so, Mike and the Grapevine were not only justified in reporting on the matter, but I would also argue they had a duty to do so (and really, why wouldn’t a newspaper report on an attempt to use public funds to influence the papers content)!

The questions I would like answered are:

1. What exactly did Mike do to bring disrepute to Denman Works (Mike has brought this to public attention so his dismissal is now a public matter)?
2. When were the decisions made to end the maintenance contract and remove Mike from the advisory board?
3. Were the decisions made by you who then asked the board for support or did the board come to a mutual decision after discussing?
4. Was there dissent on the board?
5. Did you or the board consider the consequences for Denman Works or the impact on delivery of services provided should the charge of disrepute against Mike prove to be legally invalid (in my opinion, if it is shown that Mike did not bring disrepute to Denman Works then there are grounds for legal action with respect to breach of contract, defamation and failure to obey the bylaws under which Denman Works operates).

I expect and await your response and welcome and encourage it to be public.


Steve Christensen

Author: TIG

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