28.3 C
Niagara Falls
Friday, June 21, 2024
Letter: Who will pay to maintain Rand’s heritage features long-term?
Letter. Supplied

Dear editor:

I would like to remark on one concern that appeared to have been brushed over at the special council meeting held at the community centre to deal with the latest requests from Solmar.

This is the question of who is going to maintain all of the preserved heritage features after the development has been sold off and the developer moves on.

It is SORE’s position that because of the significant cultural value of the site that all the heritage features should be restored and preserved by the developer even though age and neglect has already taken its toll.

If that is the case then maintaining them after they are restored becomes extremely important.

To the question “Who will maintain the heritage features after the units are sold off?” that was posed by a councillor, a Solmar representative responded by saying the condo corporation would take over the maintenance of the heritage features as well as all the other common areas.

The councillor seemed to be satisfied with that answer and asked no further questions.

Having been on a condo board in Toronto for 18 years and also having worked for a developer, I was not satisfied with that answer and alarm bells went off for me. 

I would be asking:

“If these features are so important in terms of cultural heritage, then will the developer write into the condo documents that there be a continuing legal obligation on the condo board to maintain the heritage features to a certain standard and shouldn’t the town want to make sure that there is?”

I say this because this is an example of how developers wipe their hands of key features that they use to sell their projects in the first place and then the condo board is stuck with the additional expense of trying to maintain them. 

The greater the ratio is of additional features to the number of properties that will be sharing the expense, the higher will be the expense per owner until it is no longer economically viable.

(That could be one reason that Solmar is trying to squeeze so many units onto the site and will not support SORE’s plan, which is less dense).

Then what happens? Either the condo board has to start cutting corners on the maintenance of the special features or it has to start using them to generate additional funds.

To me it seems like a bit of a conundrum and I don’t know how to solve it but I urge the town not to shrug it off. Address it now because maintenance fees are a huge issue. 

Naturally, the developer will use the restored heritage features to pitch the project but developers usually underestimate their maintenance fees to buyers.

By the time the new owners realize just how much it will actually cost them to maintain those features the developer will be out of the picture.

The quality of the condo board and the owners becomes crucially important.

In this case, all these heritage features will be openly accessible to the rest of the community but only the new owners will be paying to maintain them.

They will ask themselves “Is that fundamentally fair?”

In my experience that will become an issue.

Jackie Bonic


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