Wheres Sherlock When You Need Him?

sherlock-holmesWe need Sherlock Holmes and we need him now. You see over in Adelaide there is an incredible mystery unfolding. The mystery is the sale of 262.  Now we were led to believe that Townsend House want to sell 262 and are desperately seeking a buyer. You see, its services arm, Deaf Can Do, is going belly up. Townsend House inherited Deaf Can Do when they agreed to help save what was the old Royal South Australian Deaf Society. Despite injecting many hundreds of thousands of dollars into Deaf Can Do it is still running at a loss. Townsend House want to recoup their investment. The answer? Sell the spiritual and cultural home of the Deaf community so that they can get back their ill thought out investment.

Regular readers of The Rebuttal have been following this saga avidly. Indeed it has become the most popular series of articles that The Rebuttal has ever produced. Mysteriously I awoke on Sunday Morning to find an email informing me that there is a buyer for 262. The buyer is Healing Life Ministries. It seems they are an arm of the Baptist church. They are familiar with 262 because they hire  it regularly for churchy things. They heal people apparently. Ironically they heal deaf people too. I guess that’s one way to put the final nail in the coffin of Deaf Can Do. Heal all the deaf people of South Australia so that Deaf Can Do becomes redundant.

Anyway Healing Life Ministries have told their members that they have an opportunity to purchase the Deaf Centre at 262. They are asking their members to show the support of the effort to purchase 262 by donating money into their bank account. Sounds a bit suss doesn’t it? What is more curious is that 262 is not yet on the open market even though Townsend House have made it clear they desire to sell 262, and quickly. Despite the apparent urgency of a sale there is no information on the Internet that hints that 262 is on the market at all.

Despite this Healing Life Ministries have made the extraordinary claim that they have an opportunity to purchase 262. How has this become so? Have there been negotiations going on unbeknown to anyone in the Deaf community? Is this the reason why Townsend House have refused the approach of the Community Housing group that offered to take over the maintenance of 262 in exchange to be able to build apartments on vacant land? Even though 262 is apparently not yet up for sale the appearance of Healing Life Ministries as a serious buyer suggests some intensive negotiations have been happening. Have Townsend House been fully transparent about their efforts to sell 262? Come in Sherlock, we need you!

It is becoming quite bizarre. Two weeks or so back Townsend House released a video explaining why they needed to sell 262 and why they had rejected the offer of the Community Housing group. In the video there was a woman speaking while an Auslan interpreter translated what she was saying. I received an email indicating that this woman was from an external Public Relations firm. The firm were hired to make the announcement because apparently the Townsend House CEO is being stalked by a “mad deaf man”.  I am quoting directly from the email here. SHEEEERRRRRLOOOCKKK COMMMMEEE INNNNNN!

It gets worse. There are accusations and allegations that there is someone associated with the Baptist church who is closely associated with Townsend House. Of course the Baptist church that the Healing Life Ministries are part of has many streams. It may well be that this allegation is unfounded but something very strange is happening here.

It is clear that Townsend House is not being fully transparent about what is happening. Of course they will claim that they could not say anything because negotiations were “Commercial and In Confidence.” Well this is not the case now because Healing Life Ministries have publicly asked their members to donate so that they can follow through on the purchase of 262. It’s not confidential any more so perhaps Townsend House might like to take the opportunity to be fully truthful about what is going on.

The sad thing here is that the Deaf community of South Australia are being treated shabbily and disrespectfully. This has to be one of the most shameful episodes of mistreatment of a minority group that has ever occurred. And we don’t need Sherlock to deduce that for us!

The Rebuttal calls on Townsend House to stop this farce now! Come forward and be fully transparent with the South Australian Deaf community.  They deserve that much at least!

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4 thoughts on “Wheres Sherlock When You Need Him?

  1. Hi Gary,

    There’s been a fair few assumptions made here that are designed to whip up the deaf community in SA and Australia in a frenzy – such as TH ‘secretly’ dealing with Hearing Life Ministries to buy 262. Why not assume the Hearing Life Ministries found out about the ‘potential’ sale of 262 via the Save 262 page on FB, or DSRSA’s own updates regarding this situation – anyone would know 262 is potentially going to be for sale just from visiting either page on FB. We can also assume that Hearing Life Ministries, through their use of 262 for church gatherings, may have caught wind of the situation this way. Instead, you want to go with the assumption that is most likely to draw an angry response from the deaf community, and it is a good tactic that can backfire very easily.

    You might get a gig at the Herald Sun if you keep up this sort of journalism, sensationalist journalism!

    • In my defence Bryn I can only say that these questions have been raised by the Community themselves at the Save 262 Facebook page. The community is already angry on its own accord and rightly so. I am more than happy to raise these questions at The Rebuttal and more than happy o cop the criticism as well. You make some valid points so I am glad that you have raised them.

      Alas for the journalist gig … Does it pay well … A rival to the esteemed Mr Bolt perhaps? 😀

  2. Totally agree with Bryn. What makes you assume there is some big conspiracy at work? It just seems like a sad but necessary business decision – closing a large heritage building (with many areas empty) in favour of a more cost effective modern building for the Deaf Community to use. Didn’t there AUSLAN video say they are buying somewhere new? It is sad to say goodbye to the building yes, but it is the same as has happened in every other capital city.

    • Three things Christine:

      I will support what you say if:

      1) the Deaf community receive a fair share of proceeds of any sale of 262 that will allow them to establish themselves independently of an organisation such as Townsend House and its services arm of Deaf Can Do.
      2) that people accept that the current service model of Deaf Can Do is not viable and further investment in it cease. In this sense proceeds from any sale of 262 should not be thrown at something that is clearly not viable.
      3) that the Deaf community be able to dictate what services they see as relevant and do what ever is necessary to generate income streams. Even if it means competing with Townsend House.

      In short it’s time to cut the apron strings and put the Deaf community in full control of its destiny.

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