DES issue continues to heat up
My wife and I recently purchased a unit in The Rise at Cheakamus Crossing. While our DES heat pump system appears to be functioning without obvious issues, I have significant and very legitimate concerns about the long-term maintenance costs. In particular, the potential high replacement cost of the premature failure of components and the apparent lack of devices that would serve to reduce such failures.
These concerns are not limited to our unit. They potentially affect all 60 units of The Rise. To date, some unfortunate owners have suffered undue financial hardship from failures that circumstantial evidence strongly suggests had their origins in the installation.
Documents I have obtained provide details of a number of requirements made of the contractor(s) who installed the DES heat pump systems in The Rise. These include, but are not limited to, the requirement to submit to the engineer at the completion of construction three sets of maintenance information covering the operation and maintenance of H.V.A.C. systems.
The information shall include a description of the operation of the H.V.A.C. system, approved balance report, copies of permits, tests reports, final inspection certificates and approvals, copies of all shop drawings, operating instructions for all equipment, maintenance schedules for all equipment and copies of all guarantees and names and addresses of contractors and suppliers.
More than simply being essential to the correct and energy efficient operation of the DES systems, the preceding information is critical to the maintenance and service required to minimize the likelihood of premature failures.
To the best of the writer's knowledge, copies of the aforementioned manual have not been made available to the owners of units in The Rise. That the absence of this vital information has contributed to the failures experienced in some units cannot be discounted. If these manuals have not been produced, and made available, the question that arises is who is responsible for this omission?
Most would reasonably assume that the responsibility lies with the municipality because the municipality required and issued the necessary permits.
But this assumption would be incorrect. The British Columbia Building Code is a de facto bylaw between the province and the registered owner, or owners, of a property. Under this provincial bylaw, the owner of the property under which work regulated by the Code is performed bears the sole responsibility to ensure compliance.
There is no provincial legislation that requires that local governments regulate construction. Section 694 (1) of the Local Government Act provides the authority for local governments to regulate the construction, alteration, repair, or demolition of buildings and structures by bylaw, if they so choose.
But they are not required to do so.
Should a local government choose to enact a building regulation bylaw, they are not required to adopt the entire Code, since it is already in effect throughout the province. Should a local government choose to enact a building bylaw they are not required to perform inspections. In choosing the content of their building bylaw a local government need only be able to argue that the content serves the health, safety and protection of persons and property.
The key is that local governments must disclose the conditions under which a permit is issued and that the owner is solely responsible for ensuring compliance.
In the case of a development like The Rise, the (registered) owner of the property pertains to the owner listed on the permit(s) issued for the development of the property.
This is the only party that has control of the hiring of contractors and trades. If work is not performed in accordance with regulations contained in the Code and the specifications of the documents forming part of the building permit, it is the owner who is ultimately responsible.
Given my background and technical capability, I am confident that I can eventually address any issues with my system. But the foundations of our world-class resort were not built on individualism, and individualism will not sustain it.
Whistler's honour and integrity are at stake. Those who are responsible for the financial hardship some have suffered need accept this responsibility and do the right thing.
Vote for education
We are currently facing two pivotal moments in public education in British Columbia.
Firstly, we have just ended a lengthy strike that will bring five years of labour stability and an opportunity to rebuild relationships and strengthen our education system.
Over the past several months there has been a focus on what was wrong with the system rather than what is right.
Now is the time to shift that focus back to what we all have in common — success for students. British Columbia has one of the best education systems in the world because of fabulous teachers, administrators and support staff.
Yes, there are still challenges to overcome. There will always be a need for increased funding and staffing. But our education system should not be defined by the challenges. It should be defined by our willingness and ability to work together to overcome them.
Success is a team effort and it is now time for us to once again work together as a team.
The second pivotal moment will occur on November 15, the date of local trustee and municipal elections in British Columbia.
On this day you will have an opportunity to elect the women and men who will lead and oversee public education in your community.
School trustees working in their communities with education partners and parents provide focus and direction to help realize the educational aspirations of students throughout the province.
Public education is everyone's business. It is the engine that will determine the success of our province. Our future employees, leaders, parents and citizens will come from today's classrooms.
November 15 is your opportunity to select the individuals in your community who will advocate for that future, and who will determine the directions to guide this critical public investment.
Public education is always exciting and challenging in British Columbia. When I see students in our classrooms supported by dedicated teachers, administrators support staff, and trustees, I see the future.
Working together with a clear focus on what is best for student ensures that the future will be bright.
President, British Columbia School Trustees Association
Towing policy needs to change
I am writing to you to add to the list of complaints that I have been told is a subject that your newspaper has written about before.
My wife and I have been timeshare owners for over 25 years, and this is the most offensive treatment we have been subjected to in that whole time.
We arrived (last week and) upon check-in we were advised both verbally and in written notice that we needed to be aware of the aggressive, car-towing policy instituted by the strata corporation.
We did everything required, including parking carefully between the lines, putting the parking pass on the front dash in plain sight.
Imagine our surprise and frustration when I discovered our new car was missing from the parking space when I went to get something from the car.
I called the Whistler office (of the timeshare) and (a staff member) promptly called the offending towing company.
(The staff member) called me back to confirm that our car (was) in (the) compound area. She said the reason was that, "the parking pass was on the dash, but the dates were not valid, therefore they towed it."
(The timeshare office) asked their maintenance person... to take us to the towing compound lot to retrieve our car.
Upon getting access to the car, we verified that the pass was properly placed and the dates were, in fact, correct.
I had to pay the towing fee anyway to get our car — $136.50!
We went directly to the Whistler (timeshare) office. The staff member immediately offered to refund the towing fee personally, which we gratefully accepted.
The shame of this event lies entirely with the aggressive policy of the strata, and the towing company that seems to only care about the money involved.
What I think is more important is the business relationship impact between owners like us, and all of the various shops and timeshare companies that bring us to visit beautiful Whistler.
We do not come here to be victimized and harassed by money-grabbing idiots!
Such stupid behavior risks the very efforts that most other companies have tried to attract visitors like us.
This event has spoiled our time here and we feel violated, therefore, we will not be spending our vacation money as we usually do in a place that promotes or tolerates such bad policies or behaviour.
Used book sale success
Once again, the Friends of the Whistler Public Library would like to thank everyone for making the Giant Used Book Sale a success. Thanks to all who came, perused, and took away some great winter reading, and to all the Whistler residents who so generously donated books. Over $3,700 was raised, all of which will be used to fund local library needs.
As always, super vollies Jessie Pendygrasse, Susan Annand, and Maureen Chaddock moved books, sorted books, and sold books. Their commitment is amazing. The rest of the book sorting crew was wonderful as usual: Ophra Buckman, Simone Crighton, Betty Vogler, Kashi Richardson, Karen Smith, Stephanie Murray, Gail Rybar, Elaine, Ann Miller and I hope I haven't forgotten anyone! The transport crew lifted and hauled books back and forth: Marianna Orr, Garry Clifford, Len VanLeuwen, Bill Janyk, Rick Reid, and John (who also was our book sleuth) and Shep Alexander. And the cheerful sellers taking donations: Ophra (again), Gail (again), Kris Shoup, Audrey Mitterndorfer, Leslie Alexander, and Sarah Leach. The book sale could not have happened without the team!
Huge thank you's go to IGA for allowing us to hold the book sale in front of the store, and to TD Bank, and Nesters for being book collection depots. We couldn't have done it without you.
Happy reading, until next time!