Condominium and Industry Profiles
FEATURE CONDO - 8111 Forest Glen Dr. Niagara Falls, Ontario
From the Volume 15, Spring 2023 issue of the CCI GHC Condo News Magazine
The ‘Mansions of Forest Glen’
We are two condominium corporations joined by a common entrance and share many of the common amenities. The properties are located in an upscale residential area of Niagara Falls. The first (the east side) property was erected just over thirty years ago. The property has five floors and seventy-six occupied units as well as a hospitality suite for guests. There are several amenities including an indoor swimming pool with a Jacuzzi, an exercise room, a sauna, a large lounge with a billiard table, a bar and a kitchen, a library and outdoor visitors parking. The east property has a Board of Directors that was managing all the amenities since incorporation. About twelve years ago, a second property (the west side) was erected and is the same size and number of units.
This west property is a separate corporation and has a Board of Directors to manage its affairs. The two corporations formed an Amenity Committee that meets regularly to discuss issues dealing with all the shared amenities that are now the responsibility of both corporations. This includes the management of all the staff and maintenance of the common areas. Both properties are managed by a property management company and the day to day maintenance is the responsibility of our onsite Superintendent and his staff of Building Attendants.
Taking Leadership During Difficult Circumstances.
In about mid-2021, our Superintendent of thirteen years suddenly passed away leaving us with no immediate leadership to manage the day to day responsibilities. At the time, our more junior Building Attendants were not experienced with the
full management requirements to step up to the Superintendent’s position. Members of the two Boards assisted the existing staff making daily decisions, giving guidance and direction as well as supervision of a variety of projects that needed to be scheduled.
About six months passed with no new Superintendent recruited. During this time, a couple of the junior staff members resigned leaving the two properties severely understaffed. In spite of this situation, the remaining three staff members stepped up to the challenge and the responsibilities of looking after all areas, often working double shifts as there was no one else available. To add to the many tasks for the staff, the Covid-19 pandemic required the implementation of several health and safety protocols to ensure that the safety of all the residents was maintained.
After several unsuccessful months when trying to recruit a suitable outside candidate for the Superintendent position, one of the Building Attendants put his name forward for the position. He was overwhelmingly approved by the Amenity Committee as well as many of the residents. He continued working many shifts, often both days and evenings until we successfully recruited additional staff.
Major Accomplishment Achieved by the Condominium:
One of the major projects that began just prior to the passing of our Superintendent was replacing the two elevators in the east building that were more than thirty years old. While the technical tasks were handled by the prime contractor, the three staff on site had to coordinate many other activities that needed to be scheduled and often required the use of only one of the elevators that was available. These activities included residents moving in or out, deliveries and just basic use of the elevators on a daily basis. The installation of the new elevators was successfully completed within five months and on budget thanks to the efforts of the staff.
Overall Environment at the Properties:
It’s not always easy for two properties that are different in age, demographics and are directed by a committee of ten members to get along and get things accomplished to the satisfaction of all parties. It requires the leaders of these properties to have a common set of values and goals to effectively manage the common shared facilities.
Unfortunately, the west building had some unique technical issues with their property at the beginning that did not affect the east building or the shared facilities. Nevertheless, the two corporations had agreed to share the costs of managing the common facilities on an equal basis. The Board of the east property was sensitive and understanding of the issues of the west building and when the Amenity Committee met, there had to be recognition of their situation when making certain decisions. At the end of the day, the interests of all the owners and residents had to be considered.
To accomplish this, a Reciprocal Agreement was written and signed by both corporations that outlined in detail how the Amenity Committee would function and manage all aspects of the common facilities. Decisions would always take into consideration the residents of both properties.
Working together on resolving common issues gets a lot of things done much faster than bickering amongst ourselves. We have accomplished this through basic understanding, trust and often making some compromises.
What Makes Residents Proud to Live Here:
The ‘Mansions of Forest Glen’, as we are known, is situated in Niagara Falls. The owners and residents are proud to live at the Mansions for a variety of reasons. They feel part of a community, looking after each other, getting together on a regular basis to socialize on several organized activities and volunteering in areas such as the Board, helping with the annual Christmas luncheon, other holiday events, card playing, exercising and many programs that are organized by a social committee. The residents make regular use of the many amenities available to them. They feel safe and secure as a result of both properties having recently installed a state of the art security system. There are many single and older adults who have lived at the condominium for many years and recommend to friends to come and join our friendly community.
To summarize, we believe that our very dedicated staff, strong leadership on both boards and caring residents all contribute to the reasons that the Mansions of Forest Glen deserves to be recognized as the condominium to live at.
We sometimes receive accolades about our support staff and Superintendent. An example of a recent e-mail from a resident, sent to our Property Manager, illustrates this well (note: names have been deleted for privacy):
“Hello, Today I’m writing to you to praise our Superintendent for his great work. He is very responsible and detailed, sometimes even arriving at his post around 6:15 am to carefully check the status of essential items in the building. Even during the weekends, when the weekend shift super reported to him that there was a problem with a wall or ceiling, he would rush over here and fix it himself. He is also very experienced and wise: After taking on his current position, he has adopted different methods to improve various aspects of the building, bringing more convenience to the residents. As an owner, I feel safer and more enjoyable to live here. Moreover, he leads an excellent working team who are also very serious and responsible people. I feel that our Superintendent has created a very positive spirit. Therefore, I wanted to thank you for educating such a good employee. I hope his outstanding service can be praised or recognized.
I also wish your company good development in the New Year.
Gaby Arato, B. Comm., M.B.A. is an accomplished financial professional with over 40 years of senior management experience at various companies in both the manufacturing and service sectors. Currently, President of Niagara South Condominium Corporation #34. A volunteer with several organizations providing leadership in achieving goals and objectives.
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