It has been nearly a year since this blog has been updated. It is not because “no news is good news”. However, there has not yet been a significant event that the writer considers significant enough to write about. Until Now.
The year 2016 at Huntly Wynd started with a promise of new and exciting things to come only to experience a “hurricane” in August.
Greater objectivity and understanding are essential to resolving “growing issues” in this community.
- Prior to the year-end 2015, an owner presented a motion/resolution to terminate the services of Scott Unger and Bayside Property Management Company.
- The then ruling strata council (2015) caused the motion to be defeated.
- A new council as well as new officers was formed in 2016.
- Before the end of the 1st quarter of 2016, the new council voted to allow Bayside’s contract to terminate and not renewed.
- Property Management transition for April 1, 2016 was announced on its Council Minutes of March 15, 2016.
- The new council worked feverishly to address many issues in the community.
- For the first time in years, owners were provided an update of events through its Community Updater, published monthly or as frequently as seen necessary.
- It introduced a “working session with owners” through a community gathering on March 4, 2016
- The new council president ended her updater with the following: “Council is better informed as to the wishes of members of our community”.
- On August 10, 2016, council announced a “Community Conversation” to take place August 26, 2016 to discuss several issues needing resolutions.
- Between April and July, an owner instigated a “revolt” against council by first circulating a long harshly written email to his neighbors, alleging misdeeds by the council, inferring a “dictatorial” nature of the March 4 “working session” (in 6.b above). The owner proceeded to make his case to any owner he met and illicitly added their names to his “petition” without actually having them affix their signatures to a written document.
- The “community conversation” of August 26, 2016 became a disgraceful and illegitimate confrontation led by that particular owner against the new council, demeaning and sabotaging all the efforts of the new council to govern the strata as efficiently as it endeavored.
- Consequently, the new council is plagued with discontent and there is a brewing unsavory and seedy environment at Huntly Wynd.
- A 1st International Festival on September 5, 2016 saved the community from having a year full of negativity.
- Finally, a website (https://huntlywynd.org) was formally established.
A PROGNOSIS of Current Events
Until the sequences of events above are understood and acknowledged, the strata council will have bleak chances of reversing a destructive trend that could worsen the situation for the community for the following year 2017.
What made the events of August 26, 2016 illegitimate?
Under Part 4 – Strata Corporation Governance of the Strata Property Act, sec 34.1 provides for handling of a problem or complaints by an owner, or group of owners.
The owner initiating the “revolt” against council did not follow legal procedures that required that:
- Any alleged conflicts or serious issues pertaining to “governance” of the strata corporation must be made in writing requesting a council hearing [Sec 34.1 (1)] to handle, arbitrate, manage, and resolve complaints.
- The owner presented his document (at the Aug 26 meeting) that did not contain original signatures of his co-petitioners.
- A few of the owners whose names appeared on the “petition” indicated that they have no knowledge of what was contained in that document.
Part of the problem is a complete lack of knowledge (by owners) of the Strata Property Act, in particular, the section that deals with GOVERNANCE.
It is clear from an evaluation of all the relevant events of 2016 that the brewing discontent at HW has to do with GOVERNANCE by the current strata council. This is either due to:
- lack of appreciation for the genuine effort of council members to serve their community voluntarily
- lack of understanding of administrative strategies it employed (study groups at the March meeting)
- lack of credit (to the new council) for handling a challenging year of property management transition
- prevailing general poor attitude of some owners against strata council management, regardless of serving members
- lack of understanding of “legal resources” to handle complaints or crisis
HOW COULD ALL THIS BE RESOLVED?
The new council continues to handle the pressure of governance by seeking volunteers pertaining to:
BYLAWS and RULES
GROUNDS and GARDENS
CLUBHOUSE and GUEST SUITE
All who may volunteer to serve in any of these committees may need to have a vision of what would constitute
- a community that is efficiently managed
- a Strata Council that is appreciated and empowered to function well
- a system of handling questions, requests for maintenance and services, conflict resolutions and follow ups
In particular, the BYLAWS and RULES committee must refer itself to the Strata Corporation Governance section of the Strata Property Act (Part 4). It must be prevented from proposing new bylaws that overrule, duplicates, or supersede the act; or anything that undermines the ability of a council to act judiciously. It must be able to distinguish between what constitute a “general governance” provision or article against a “specific rule” relating to common property or its use.
There are numerous significant issues that could very well take time to be resolved. Perhaps the most important factor that could help alleviate the general malaise has already started since the new council took office – EDUCATION and INFORMATION.
The Community Updater is essential in keeping every owner informed. The Web Page should be expanded to enable social interaction and exchange of information and ideas.