Evolution of thought

My non-compliant veranda

The recent Ventana Woods AGM is over and I have a disappointment. The Board was peppered with questions that it wasn’t given a chance to respond to. Probably just as well. There wasn’t enough time. Due to the high level of emotion, there wasn’t anyone that was going to change their position anyway.

The question came up regarding my support of the veranda decorations on unit XX. The photo above is my rear veranda before I joined the board. The reason I joined the board is the owner of unit XX knocked on our door and told my wife that the board is going to take make us take down our decorations. If we supported them, they would make sure that doesn’t happen. I thought I better get involved. I wrote a letter to the board supporting temporary seasonal veranda decorations. The complex needs to encourage residents to decorate. It adds joy to the property.

Veranda after joining the board

I joined the board. After joining the board and going over the bylaws with the board and the management company I realized that my décor was in violation of our bylaws. I felt I couldn’t represent owners when I was in violation of the bylaws. I removed everything non-compliant. This included a gate, lattice panels and Shepard’s hooks clamped to the railings. I was a little embarrassed. I had never received a complaint and really didn’t know I wasn’t complying with bylaws. That inspired me to become board secretary and bylaw committee chair. There was communication needed to inform residents of bylaws and policies to clarify community expectations. More on these topics in other posts.

The first snowfall I asked the owner of unit XX when their decorations coming down for winter. That was the first confrontation with the Board President and the unit owner. I put together an online survey to gauge community support for new bylaws required to meet Alberta’s new Condominium Property Act (CPA). I had put a lot of work into building a survey for the community. The Board President took exception to my questions and motivations in the survey. This was the evening before the Board meeting to approve the survey. I was ready to resign. I was taken off guard by the aggressive profanity directed at me. That night I reworked the survey. I felt it was watered down but happy to get something to the community.

I had been through this process before. Rewriting bylaws for the association I belong to and advising the government on changes to the regulations governing my industry. Far more challenging projects but working with grownups is much easier. I have a thoughtful letter framed on my wall from the Minister of Service Alberta thanking me for my service on that project. Far different outcome than volunteer condo work.

The owner had transitioned the decorations into Christmas décor as I had suggested. I just wanted to buy some time with the community as we worked to resolve the complaints regarding this unit. I used the same survey platform to gauge community support for the unit owner. The holiday decoration contest was a great distraction but also showed very little support for unit XX decorations. They placed a distant 3 as voted by other residents.

Christmas Time at Ventana Woods

My time on the board was starting to get bumpy. The President and unit owner had declared war on me. There was a board meeting where the President produced an old letter suggesting board could audit the entire community before proceeding with any action against unit owner XX. Suddenly it struck me. The previous board wasn’t going to take my decorations away. If unit XX owner couldn’t have their decorations then their position was no one can have decorations.

This is completed the evolution of my position on this matter. I felt I had been mislead. First, the decorations in question were not temporary summer decorations that I supported. They were a permanent installation permanently changing the front of the unit. Unit XX owner should read before assuming support. Second, the board wasn’t trying to take my decorations away. Unit XX owner was. Third, the unit owner admits their decorations are in violation of the bylaws but is going to fight anyway. This completed the evolution of my stance on this. Yes, a director is allowed to change their position on a matter as they discover all the facts.

My compliant front veranda