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Employee housing homeowners take RMOW to court

Barnfield subdivision residents challenge price restriction covenants



Barnfield residents are taking the municipality to court because they say the rules that govern the resale price of their homes are unclear.

The owners of 16 homes in the 23-lot employee housing neighbourhood are asking the court to decide if the price restrictions on their properties are legally enforceable. If the court decides they aren’t, the residents would be allowed to sell the properties at market value or use the equity built up in the property.

Some residents, 24 of whom are named in the petition, were reluctant to speak to Pique Newsmagazine this week to explain their position.

They did, however, forward a group statement on Wednesday morning.

"After much careful consideration the Barnfield Homeowner’s Association, comprised of the majority of the homeowners in Barnfield, have commenced legal action against the RMOW… The residents of Barnfield have tried without success for the past eight years to resolve many issues that relate to the care and keeping of our homes as well as other issues raised by the employee housing covenant. We had hoped that these issues could have been resolved without having to initiate such action."

Those named in the court document are: Dagmar Roth, Mike Knapton, Sharon Card Iles, Glen Iles, Bernadette Lalor-Morton, Robert Morton, Sean Bondaroff, Eric Berger, David Krasny, Lisa Krasny, Simon Kelly, Tegan Ross-Kelly, Scott Patterson, Jennifer Patterson, Duane Kercher, Sandra Makarewicz, Alex Kleinman, Rod Cochrane, Louisa Cochrane, Tim Brooksbank, Jackie Brooksbank, Jose Picard, Dave Sharpe and Shelley Sharpe.

The homeowners’ petition was filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Nov. 4.

Along with the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the residents are also taking legal action against the Whistler Housing Authority.

Municipal spokesperson Diana Waltmann said council was made aware of the lawsuit immediately. She said the RMOW would defend its employee housing covenants in the courts.

"We will vigorously defend our program… so that we can continue to provide and maintain our resident housing," she said.

The Barnfield development dates back to 1997 when 23 lots were put into a lottery and names were drawn to see who had the chance to buy a price-restricted piece of land in Whistler.

The lots were deemed "affordable" and cost roughly $78,000 each, along with $12,000 for servicing costs.

The homeowners were allowed to build their own homes on these lots and were then asked to produce receipts for all their costs of construction so that a "base cost" could be established.

Disputes arose over the costs of construction.

An ad in Pique Newsmagazine dating back to October 1996 calls on employees to apply for the lottery and states: "The lots will be subject to a housing covenant which restricts resale prices."

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