Condominium and Industry Profiles

May, 10 2023 Published by Toronto and Area Chapter - By James Russell

Condo of the Year Quarter Finalist

From the Spring 2023 issue of CCI Toronto Condovoice Magazine.

The Parkview Is The Hidden Gem Of Mississauga

Left to Right: Jyoti Choudhury, Gil Brasil, Cameron Craig, Sharon Carew, Al Cormier

A gem? Well how else would you describe one of the GTA’s best governed condominiums, winner of the 2022 Newsletter of the Year Award, a finalist for Condo of the Year, and situated beside a magnificent lake whose surface sparkles like diamonds.

Built in 1984 and located in the Meadowvale Business Park neighbourhood at the intersection of Montevideo Rd. and Valencia Rd., The Parkview, surrounded on three sides by parkland, glitters not only by virtue of its location, but because The Parkview’s five-member board and its property management company succeed admirably in ensuring that their corporation is governed with loving care and constant attention to detail.

The Parkview’s twelve storey complex contains one hundred and sixty-one spacious one, two and three bedroom units, many of which overlook Lake Aquitaine Park. The twelve acre, thirty million gallon lake is an artificial, stormwater management body of water used by canoeists, birds, amphibians and anglers seeking to snag one or two of the lake’s population of rainbow trout, sunfish, perch and largemouth bass.

The Parkview’s amenities include a library, exercise room, and squash and racquet ball court. The nearby Meadowvale Community Centre provides the building’s residents with access to additional facilities including an Olympic-size pool and public library.

As The Parkview approaches its fortieth birthday, Sharon Carew, the Board’s President for the past three years, notes that, “The demographic is changing. There are more young people starting to come into the building.” Director Gil Brasil agrees, “When I moved in, I think it was about 80% seniors and now there are young families.”

Left to Right: Faye VanHorne, Marie Devine, Pat Townsend, John Ambrose, Al Cormier. Sylvia Waller, Gil Brasil, Helen Lejnieks

The Board created a formal Diversity and Inclusion Policy, in part because the Board recognized the changing demographic in the building and, in the words of Al Cormier, the Board's Secretary, "Recognizing the people of different ethnic backgrounds moving into The Parkview." The three page Diversity and Inclusion Policy reads, in part,

“We recognize and celebrate that our country, our community and our condominium complex comprise of people of many nationalities, races, ancestries and demographics. We also recognize that these people are of various religions, abilities, sexual orientation and genders. We welcome and appreciate these differences, and this policy sets out to ensure that diversity and inclusion is consistently a consideration in all matters undertaken within our condominium community.”

Adopted by the Board on August 29, 2022, Al, a Board member for the past twelve years, says with pride, “I think it is a unique policy for condos as we looked around for examples and did not find any (so) we composed our own.”

The Parkview’s very active, twelve member Social Committee hosts at least four events per year including this year’s Christmas in July celebration, Wine and Cheese Parties, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and Corn Roasts.

Left to Right: Lynne Grant, Louise Gibson, Irene Brasil, Sylvia Waller, Marjorie Ginsberg, Joanne Janeczek, Theresa Egerton, Helen Lejnieks, Marie Devine

Their Gardening Committee, led by Al, meets every Thursday to weed and groom the Parkview’s twelve immaculate flower beds. The Committee is made up of resident- volunteers and a Board member or two who abruptly find themselves drafted. “I was here (living at The Parkview) one week and I was suddenly on the Gardening Committee - I don’t know how that happened.” Gil says with a laugh. The flowerbeds, three opposite the building’s front entrance and the nine others positioned throughout their grounds, “are beautiful, absolutely gorgeous,” says Sharon. A landscaping firm cares for The Parkview’s extensive lawns.

In addition to their President, the Parkview’s Board is made up of Cameron Craig, Vice-President and Treasurer; Al Cormier, Secretary and Liaison with Property Management; and Directors Gil Brasil and Jyoti Choudbury. “It’s a very proactive and active Board,” says Sharon.

Although the Board meets monthly, they sometimes get together for project-related meetings such as their recent discussions around two competing bids to supply the residents with bulk, fibre optic internet service. The Board recently negotiated a deal with Bell that will result in significant savings per unit while increasing the number of channels available to residents and bumping up their internet delivery speed.

Another of their large projects, piloted by Cameron as the Chair of the Energy Efficiency Committee, “was finding a provider and negotiating terms to replace the fan coils in the building,” says Sharon who adds that during the process the Board held Town Hall meetings and other owner education sessions. Under Cameron’s leadership, the Board has implemented significant energy saving initiatives over the past year that are expected to reduce energy costs.

The Board ensures that there is an abundant communications plan between the Board and owners. The Board’s main communication platforms include The Dialogue, their monthly newsletter published by Al and Sharon, along with email, snail-mail, and elevator and bulletin board postings, which are supplemented with numerous issue-related town hall meetings, such as the one where residents voted overwhelmingly to not sell an adjacent, lush-green, half-acre plot of land to the City of Mississauga who wanted “to pave paradise and put up a parking lot,” as famous Canadian songstress Joni Mitchell once sang.

Residents communicate directly with the Board via letters left in the office mailbox and the Board’s email. The Parkview’s community web site is maintained by their condominium managers, Ahmad Muhammed who is onsite Mondays and Thursdays, and Ashan Jamil, who is onsite one day a week. Day-to-day management, including keeping The Parkview clean, is handled by The Parkview’s long-serving superintendent and a part-time assistant superintendent, both of whom reside at The Parkview.

Ever aware of the transitory nature of Board members and condominium managers, Gil, with help from Al and the rest of the Board, created a binder, updated quarterly, that records major improvements at The Parkview so that future property managers and Board members can benefit from information on work completed over the decades. “Gil keeps it (the binder) up-to-date,” says Sharon, “particularly when we do an updated Reserve Fund Study.”

Left: Gil Brasil, Bernard Nagal
Right: Ahsan Jamil, Ahmad Muhammed

Over the past few years the Board and management have completed:

  • A renovation in 2019 that included hallways, lobby, carpets, lighting, unit doorways and wall coverings. A beautiful transformation!
  • An inspection of all balconies
  • Contracted Bell for the installation of fibre for TV and internet services
  • A yearly cleaning of the dryer and bathroom vents
  • A bicycle room audit, which included removing long-abandoned bikes
  • The replacement of fan coil shut off valves
  • Sealing energy-wasting holes in makeup air unit ducts
  • The installation of shut-off valves in the bathrooms of residents who requested valves

“We also implemented the Hytec water solution (in 2022), which puts a coating on the water pipes on an ongoing basis. It’s a solution that protects the pipes and eliminates the corrosion in the pipes, thereby allowing a deferral of a pipe replacement program.” Cameron goes on to explain, “We were fortunate in that when this building was built, we were using longer-lasting North American-made copper whereas most of the buildings today are using overseas copper pipe.”

Ever mindful of the need to reduce their energy consumption, the Board has been actively working to reduce The Parkview’s carbon footprint by:

  • Commissioning an Energy Audit in the Spring of 2022
  • Launching the previously mentioned fan coil replacement project, which resulted in more than 75% of owners purchasing new, more energy efficient fan coils for their units
  • Purchasing several hundred dollars’ worth of LED bulbs, which were provided free to residents, with The Parkview’s superintendent replacing overhead lights if residents are unable to do so
  • Applying for a Federal rebate towards the installation of EV charging stations
  • Replacing large hot water tanks with two smaller, energy efficient tanks
  • Installing motion sensors for lights in washroom and garbage chute rooms
  • Hiring a tree service company to maintain the health of the ground’s approximately one-hundred and forty mature trees

In addition to the Energy Audit conducted last year, “We had a water audit in early
January 2023", says Cameron, “which will find out the flow of all the toilets in the building, the flow of the shower heads, the aerators, so we understand ‘who’s got what’.” Sharon adds that the water audit will also help pinpoint the location of leaks and identify which units still have water-greedy, twelve-litre toilets.

Through an aggressive education program, the Board has radically increased the number of items sent to their first-floor recycling bins while dramatically decreasing what they send to landfill. “Initially, the building would put out about three bins of garbage per week and one of recycling. Now it’s the reverse - three of recycling and one of garbage,” says Al with pride. Unfortunately, Peel Region has no organic waste collection program for multi-unit buildings at this time.

“One other project that we are looking at in the longer term is Geo-thermal, but we’re probably five years away.” Says Cameron who adds, “The reason we’re five years out is that we need to make sure that the building is as energy efficient as possible so that the needed Geo-thermal field is as small as possible.”

“One thing I remember,” says Gil, “when I bought this place and my lawyer was wrapping things up he said, 'Ahh! you’re moving into the hidden gem of Mississauga'.”

With its “active and proactive Board” managing its fiscal, social and physical health, and the building’s caring and engaged residents, The Parkview does indeed sparkle brighter than a Cartier diamond.

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