Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for January 24, 2013

Project may live on: condo corporation

A court order halting the construction of an apartment building doesn’t mean the project can’t go ahead at some point, says the president of the Whitehorse Condominium Corporation No. 95.

By Chuck Tobin on January 24, 2013 at 3:48 pm

photo

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

LAY DOWN YOUR TOOLS – The Yukon Supreme Court has ordered the builders of the apartment structure (right) to halt their work.

A court order halting the construction of an apartment building doesn’t mean the project can’t go ahead at some point, says the president of the Whitehorse Condominium Corporation No. 95.

Helen Booth said Wednesday the order means the developer must go through the process of meeting with Falcon Ridge condominium owners to explain the project, and seek approval from the owners for the apartment building.

The order, she insisted, does not mean the project is dead, though she also acknowledged there are no guarantees it will be approved.

“The condominium owners are pretty reasonable people,” Booth told the Star.

She said the driving force behind the court action was not the project itself, but the fact 37724 Yukon Inc. and company president Brian Little did not go through the process of obtaining consent from the owners, as required by law.

Construction of the apartment building began in July 2012, and the third storey is already on. Available city records estimate the value of construction at $2.65 million.

The existing neighbourhood is made up of 75 single-detached homes, six duplexes and 10 homes 37724 Yukon has not sold yet.

The order to halt construction by Justice Ron Veale of the Yukon Supreme Court was issued Tuesday, following last month’s hearing.

Veale describes his 50-page decision as “a cautionary tale for condo developers, condo corporations and condo owners.”

Veale was also critical of Little’s conduct through the whole affair.

Little and the company’s lawyer declined comment Wednesday.

The Falcon Ridge condominium corporation, as it is commonly referred to, filed a legal action against 37724 Yukon in late November.

It argued the developer failed to obtain approval from individual condominium owners who control the parcel of land in question because it’s attached to their condominium package.

Veale agreed permission was required from each owner under the Yukon Condominium Act, and ordered construction to cease.

Not only does he act require permission from each owner, but also any banks that hold mortgages, the judge pointed out.

His decision also says the company is prohibited from using the land for any buildings or construction without the written consent of the condo owners.

“We are pleased with the judgment, of course,” said the condo president.

“But what we are hoping is 37724 Yukon Inc. comes back and requests an amendment to the declaration. Just follow the process that is laid out in the act.

“It’s a very clear process to deal with these types of situations.”

Booth said the condo owners have valid concerns and questions they want to see addressed.

“We asked them to do this a number of times and they decided to go another route, and that led us to try and get them to the table through this injunction,” she said.

“They need to approach the condo corporation and ask for an amendment, and that will give the owners a chance to have their say, as they are allowed under the act.”

Evidence put before the judge at December’s hearing indicated increased traffic, density and maintenance costs, shadowing on neighbouring properties, and the obstruction of natural views were among the concerns raised by Falcon Ridge residents.

Booth said it’s her understanding the consent of each property owner is required, though the Condominium Act also allows a developer to seek a court order to proceed if he obtains permission from some condo owners but not all.

It would then be up to the court to decide if the objection from the opposing condo owners was valid, she said.

Booth said as she reads the act and Veale’s decision, consent is required from 100 per cent of condo owners and the banks holding the mortgages.

The requirement to receive approval from all owners and encumbrances – the body which holds the mortgage – comes down to the value of the asset, Booth suspects.

If a bank holds a mortgage for $330,000 and somebody is proposing a development which will devalue the property, she said, the bank will want and has a say in the matter.

In his decision, Veale found that Little and 37724 Yukon proceeded with construction knowing they needed approval from the condo owners but did not have it.

He ordered 37724 Yukon to pay the legal costs incurred by the Falcon Ridge condo corporation.

Meanwhile, a $2-million lawsuit was filed early this month against 37724 Yukon for unpaid condo fees and late charges going back to 2005.

As an owner in the condominium development, 37724 Yukon is obligated to pay its fair share of condo fees but has not, the lawsuit maintains.

Booth said Tuesday’s decision does not affect the lawsuit over condo fees, as it is a separate matter.

CommentsAdd a comment

flyingfur

Jan 24, 2013 at 4:50 pm

I know somebody who lives there.  If it was me, there is no way in hell I would give my permission as a condo owner there to proceed…at the very least, until they finished with the roads and landscaping on the existing houses/condos.  This place is an absolute mess and they went ahead with construction on the apartment building before finishing the nearby condos.

Adrian Bisson

Jan 24, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Flyingfur: You clearly have a personal vendetta against the developers.  Does it make sense to pave everything and then ruin it all with construction vehicles and material being moved around etc?  This is the third and final phase of development.  The finishing touches were intended to be put on once the buildings were done.  And landscaping in the winter isn’t logical.  The crew there has worked diligently to address drainage issues and to make life as easy as possible for existing residents.  The developers have millions, this will not impact them long-term. The only ones being affected are the hard-working crew members and their families.  The crew has fully committed to cleaning everything up and putting the final touches on the whole project, unfortunately now they are all trying to file for unemployment.

Yukon_Guy

Jan 25, 2013 at 12:59 am

I live there at the Falcon Ridge Condos. Tear that apartment building down because we don’t want it there.

flyingfur

Jan 25, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Adrian:  I would not go so far as to call it a vendetta but the press has quite clearly shown the citizens of Whitehorse how this developer behaved and I have a problem with that.  I am not suggesting they do landscaping in the winter but they had the summer and fall to do some of that and did not.  So it’s nothing personal although I wonder what your perspective is since you seem to rush to their defence.

martin oreste

Jan 25, 2013 at 6:08 pm

I agree with flyingfur. That place looks awful. It remains me of a mine camp. The developers have done nothing for the buyers…...... and this now? I hope they get to be compensated accordingly

Matt

Jan 25, 2013 at 9:13 pm

It does not make sense to do landscaping in the winter time so it makes lots of sense to do landscaping and paving in the spring and summer time. All places in Canada makes sure that the streets and parking lots are paved before they begin the construction. Right now the construction site is a mess and so muddy in the summer and it’s almost unsuitable for living. A few people have lost their shoes in the mud. We don’t care about who has money or what, we just want people to make ethical and good moral decisions. Do it right or get out of the business. Also, your workers don’t work hard and there has been many construction issues with the condos. In addition, your construction supplies are left outside in the snow to warp and rot then use them for construction. The way you guys work is a joke!!

Whitehorse Resident

Jan 25, 2013 at 11:17 pm

It is clear from Justice Veale’s comments that the developer disregarded the rights of the condo owners for the developer’s own interest. The construction of the apartment building was clearly against the law. It is my understanding that the developer intended to build not just one but three four-story apartment buildings in the limited space available. It is also my understanding that space would be needed for about 105 cars. The condo owners bought their units believing they would be part of a single family condo ‘community’ as existed when the purchase was made. They did not know that the developer would attempt to turn the area into a ‘high density’ apartment complex community that would likely adversely affect the value of their condo and the quality of their lives. Tear the unsightly apartment building down immediately and build the single family units that are the only units that may currently be legally built.

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