Condo woes may prompt new association

Jamie Tait is angry, and he's not alone. On Wednesday night, more than 40 people met at Yukon College to discuss the need for a city-wide condominum association. It was there that Tait told his tale.

Jamie Tait is angry, and he’s not alone.

On Wednesday night, more than 40 people met at Yukon College to discuss the need for a city-wide condominum association.

It was there that Tait told his tale.

Two years ago, he bought a condo for his son, Darryl, who had become confined to a wheelchair after injuring his back in a snowmobiling accident in 2009.

The new unit in Takhini’s Lansing Point complex was the only condo in Whitehorse that was suitable for his son, said Tait.

It didn’t come cheap.

“We could have bought a house for less money than we paid for that condo, but it had to be totally accessible for Darryl,” he said.

The problems with the building were apparent right from the start.

“We noticed them the very first winter before Darryl even got out of rehab,” he said.

Cracks started to appear in the drywall as the building settled.

“They said they were going to fix it, over and over,” said Tait. “(The developer) told me that to my face. Now he won’t even talk to us.”

The developer, Wayne Cunningham of Karaway Homes, also didn’t return a call from the Yukon News.

The buildings are still under a five-year structural warranty, but apparently it isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, said Tait.

“The building basically has to fall down,” he said.

The condo board is now suing Karaway Homes, the engineers who worked on the foundation, their own insurance broker, the insurance company and the City of Whitehorse.

In its statement of claim, the condo board said that the foundations of both buildings at Lansing Point were laid improperly. Frost heaves are now causing the buildings to shift.

In court filings, the city admitted that it didn’t inspect the foundation. Instead, it relied on reports signed by the professional engineers. That’s routinely done with large projects like Lansing Point.

Both Karaway Homes and two engineering consultants, N.A Jacobsen and J.R. Paine & Associates, insist in their own court filings that they did nothing wrong.

“It’s bad enough dealing with your kid, and then dealing with this bullshit too,” said Tait, shaking his head. “I’m in a situation where there is no other building in this town where I would move my son into.

“I’m pretty pissed about this.”

Stories like this motivated Sunny Gray to try to get a Whitehorse condo association up and running.

Gray, who owns two condos himself, also runs a property management company that works with a lot of condo boards.

“Every board, they feel the issues that they’re facing are specific to their board, but I can tell you right now, that’s not the case,” he said. “A lot of the issues that are coming up are broad spectrum.”

At the meeting Wednesday night, Gray laid out his vision for the association.

The first is protection. “Protection from corruption on your board and protection from shady developers,” he said.

That’s not to say that all developers are bad, said Gray. In fact, he’d like to get developers involved with the association.

“Some of these guys have built the town,” he said. “They’ve been here their whole lives and have dedicated their time and energy to building a community. However, we do have that cross section who are taking advantage of the situation.”

The second point is unity.

Having condo owners organized would, Gray hopes, allow them to more effectively lobby the government for changes to condo regulations.

The territorial government is currently reviewing the Yukon Condominium Act. If condo owners want to have a seat at the table, they need to organize, he said.

“You can’t go to the government as one person to try to get something done. You need to have a voice, you need to have strength in numbers,” said Gray. “That’s the only way you’re going

to rectify issues. Otherwise, forget it, you’re just banging your head against the wall.”

Last month, the NDP proposed creating a law to protect homeowners from unscrupulous development. Yukon Party members replied that providing home warranties is probably best handled by the private sector.

If condo owners were organized and speaking with one voice, that might not have happened, said Gray.

The third point of the association is networking.

“If you were an association and you changed something in your bylaws and it worked positively for you, you’d be able to share that information with the board,” said Gray. “Or if you have a contractor for snow removal and he was efficient and affordable, you could say, ‘Use this guy,’ because it’s really hard to find contractors out there.”

The final point is education.

The rigour of running a condo board – taking minutes, holding meetings, managing finances – is a challenge that many boards find themselves unprepared for, said Gray.

Before the meeting ended, several attendees put themselves forward as possible candidates for the new association’s board of directors.

“We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us,” said Gray. “I’m not saying it’s going to be an easy fix. I’m saying it’s necessary.”

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 5, 2021.… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. They formally announced that as of Nov. 20, anyone entering the territory (including Yukoners returning home) would be required to self-isolate with the exception of critical service workers, those exercising treaty rights and those living in B.C. border towns
Vaccinated people won’t have to self-isolate in the Yukon after May 25

Restaurants and bars will also be able to return to full capacity at the end of the month.

An RV pulls into Wolf Creek Campground to enjoy the first weekend of camping season on April 30, 2021. John Tonin/Yukon News
Opening weekend of Yukon campgrounds a ‘definite success’

The territorial campgrounds opened on April 30. Wolf Creek was the busiest park seeing 95 per cent of sites filled.

Visitors from Ushiku, Japan visit the Carcross Desert as part of the exchange program Ushiku and Whitehorse have. The previously annual exchange has been cancelled for 2021 due to COVID-19. (Submitted)
Whitehorse-Ushiku sister city exchange cancelled

Officials said the exchange is cancelled due to COVID-19

The site of the Old Crow solar project photographed on Feb. 20. The Vuntut Gwitchin solar project was planned for completion last summer, but delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it back. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Old Crow is switching to solar

The first phase of the community’s solar array is already generating power.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
One new case of COVID-19 in the Yukon

Case number 82 is the territory’s only active case

Flood and fire risk and potential were discussed April 29. Yukoners were told to be prepared in the event of either a flood or a fire. Submitted Photo/B.C. Wildfire Service
Yukoners told to be prepared for floods and wildland fire season

Floods and fire personelle spoke to the current risks of both weather events in the coming months.

From left to right, Pascale Marceau and Eva Capozzola departed for Kluane National Park on April 12. The duo is the first all-woman expedition to summit Mt. Lucania. (Michael Schmidt/Icefield Discovery)
First all-woman team summits Mt. Lucania

“You have gifted us with a magical journey that we will forever treasure.”

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

Whitehorse goings-on for the week of April 26

The Yukon Department of Education in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. The department has announced new dates for the 2021/2022 school year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Yukon school dates set for 2021/22

The schedule shows classes starting on Aug. 23, 2021 for all Whitehorse schools and in some communities.

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: rent caps and vaccines

To Sandy Silver and Kate White Once again Kate White and her… Continue reading

Most Read