Mono Council to reasses lighting issue at condominium

December 17, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Mono Council met last Tuesday for what will be the last Council meeting of 2020. After a lengthy in-camera session, Council emerged to begin the meeting with a question from resident Mark Bates concerning why Council had taken no action on his by-law complaint against his neighbour, concerning external lighting interfering with his enjoyment of his home.

The people involved, reside in a condominium complex and at issue is the neighbours outdoor light, which was erected in June and shines directly into Mr. Bate’s family room and bedroom.

In response, CAO Mark Early stated that, on the advice of Council, the Town had backed off the complaint as they had been informed that the condominium board declaration covered the issue and the board would deal with the issue. Mr. Bates asked how the Condominium Declarations could supersede the Town’s by-laws.

Mr. Early said the Condominium Corporation had informed the Town that they had lighting standards in their declaration and would deal with things according to those standards. Mr. Bates replied to this saying that the problem had been ongoing since June and that the Board was, in fact, in conflict with their declaration and the Condominium Act.

He said he had contacted the newly formed Condominium Authority of Ontario and had followed their guidelines, by contacting the neighbour and then the Condominium Board, to no avail. Mr. Bates was then told by the CAO to approach the municipality regarding any by-laws they might have.

He said the By-law officer had attended his residence, seen the problem, and written a letter to the offending neighbour on Oct. 7 stating that he was in violation of the Town by-law and to rectify the problem, by Oct. 16, 2020.

Nothing was ever done. What had started as a nuisance issue was now affecting their lives and their enjoyment of their home. He says he took the issue back to the condo board to no avail and says that their response may have something to do with his previous tenure as president of the same condominium board.

Mayor Ryan queried as to whether of not Mr. Bates had considered legal action, to which he said he had had discussions with an attorney, however, the problem is a simple fix and that legal recourse would cost between $8,000 and $10,000 for what is a $25 light. He said it is very difficult to sue a condo board and that the attorney he spoke with specialized in condominium law issues. When asked by David Trotman if this was not laid out in the Condo Declaration, he was told yes, extensively. However the board refuses to follow their declarations.

At this point, Coun. Fred Nix suggested that perhaps Council should consult with their legal advisors to confirm their standing in this confrontation. Although accepting this logic, Mr. Bates felt that the condominium should not be an” island unto itself”, that they were a part of the Town and paid taxes to the Town and were therefore covered by the Town’s by-laws. He noted that if the Town by-law were not in effect, because it was a condominium, then none of the Town by-laws should apply either. He went on to say that the neighbour in question has had light issues going back to 2013 and although he corrects them when told to do so before, this June he replaced the outdoor light and now the problem has been exacerbated.

Deputy Mayor John Creelman asked if there was not a Provincial authority that oversaw condominium boards? The answer was yes, but at the moment they have no authority to litigate lighting issues. Mr. Bates said he would have to use the Condominium Act and go to court, to prosecute his disagreement through the Provincial statutes.

Coun. Ralph Manktelow asked about blinds, but was told that Mr. Bates has them and they are ineffective, as was noted by the By-law Officer. He also expressed the thought that he should not have to supply the fix for someone else’s problem. He said the By-law Officer had suggested four simple fixes, but that the neighbour had refused to implement any of them. Deputy Mayor Creelman asked if Mr. Bates had the condominium boards explanation for their lack of action, in writing and the answer was yes and would be sent to Mr. Creelman.

In closing the question session, Council decided to re-consult with their solicitors and address the issue again following his advice.

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