The review was ordered in August 2016 after allegations of a possible conflict were raised when it became public that the home, located on Dewdney Trunk Road close to city hall, had been purchased by Lynett Stuckey-Mack, and was being leased back to WJS Canada to house Conway.
Stuckey-Mack is a manager with WJS Canada, which was awarded the housing contract from Community Living BC (CLBC).
Stuckey-Mack’s home address is also the same as Anne Nikon, a board member, shareholder, and an executive director with WJS Canada.
Mission Mayor Randy Hawes said he can’t understand why it took a three-month review to figure out there was a conflict.
“It was pretty obvious, so the fact that they had to go to a third party to ask says that they don’t really understand conflict.”
In a written statement to the media, CLBC said, according to the review, “WJS staff indicated they viewed the purchase of the home by a private investor as a more stable residential option than entering into another rental/lease arrangement.”
It went on to say, “However, the identity of the owner was not appropriately disclosed to CLBC nor was the relationship with the employee managing services and the homeowner. WJS Canada has agreed the purchase in fact violated its own conflict-of-interest policies.”
The statement says that CLBC will not approve a renewal of the lease with the current owner beyond the first year, and has determined the home ownership must be changed by then.
That means the home must be sold by August 2017, or a new lease will not be signed.
Hawes doesn’t think that response is good enough.
“CLBC should immediately give them notice that they are cancelling the lease, as fast as they can find a new location for this guy.”
He said waiting until the lease expires in August just allows the homeowner to collect payments for housing Conway.
“How much are those lease payments? I’m betting that they are very significant, significantly higher than market.
“They cannot continue to be rewarded for their behaviour.”
Hawes also said finding a buyer for the house is unlikely, considering the District of Mission has already filed a lawsuit against the use of the home.
The suit claims the house is zoned as a single-family residence and that the “principal use of the residential home is not being used as a single-family dwelling.”
It also says the home “is being used as a for-profit commercial use to detain, supervise, monitor, provide treatment, counselling services and/or other services, care and /or assistance to James William Conway.”
The district believes a business licence is needed to provide that kind of service and that a different type of zoning is required to operate the residence in this manner.
“I don’t see a buyer leaping in to take on the lawsuit,” said Hawes.
He believes the auditor general needs to step in and perform a complete, independent audit of WJS.
At the beginning of August 2016, Conway moved from Abbotsford to Mission after a long series of protests by residents to have him removed from a neighbourhood in that community.
Conway, who is developmentally disabled, has a long criminal history, including three sexual offences against children, as well as sexual interference of a person under 16, sexual assault and arson.
He has also breached the conditions of his release at least twice.
On his arrival to Mission, protests began again, this time by concerned Mission parents who want to see him removed from the community.