Trash-talking condos

The following letter was submitted by Ian Findlay

Members of Guelph City Council are preparing for public delegations Monday night regarding the 2016 capital and operating budget.

As in the past, there will be delegations from condo owners in Guelph seeking a rebate from the City for garbage collection.

They say that because they have private garbage collection, they should receive a refund from the city for the portion of taxes that represent garbage collection.

The condo owners say that they double pay for garbage. Once in their condo fees and again in their property taxes.

They say this is unfair.

I recently became a condo owner of a commercial unit in a mostly residential condo building.

The condo building has private garbage collection despite the fact that the City garbage collectors drive by the building 10 times a week.

The commercial units in our building use the City’s 3-stream curb-side waste collection system.

Commercial condos do not have access to the private garbage collection system that services the residential condos.

Yet commercial condo fees help pay for the private garbage collection enjoyed by the residential condos.

Commercial condo owners are not able to get a refund from the condo corporation for a service that they are paying for twice. Once in condo fees and again in property taxes.

Time for the condos to tidy up their own trash before tossing it about the City.




Filed under Takin' out the Trash, Taxes, Uncategorized

3 responses to “Trash-talking condos

  1. Ron

    when yoy wre a city councillor, you and Mr. Vanhellmond came and met with our condominium board of directores to discuss the implentation of the bin system and how our condo could be serviced by the city. You were unware that tbere would be any issue at all for condos to the bin system. At that time you offered zero constructive or creative help to find a solution. The condo wanted city collection and had for many years participated in city curbside collection using the 3 bag system. The bins simply would not work for the condo. You called it a “unique” challenge. The condo HAD to privatize the collecrption due to the cirpty bei g unable to find a workable solution for city waste collection.. Instead of providing a rebate, which under the city waste collection by-law is not permitted, the city should at least subsidize the waste collection this condo has to pay a private contractor to do.
    I wonder if the common element fees for your commercial condo are the same as the ones paid by the residential units in the condo corporation. You should be thankful you are helping to keep the common element fees of your condo from going up further because YOUcan use city collection for your commercisl unit. The condo corporation would have to pay tipping fees for their waste collected by private contractors as I’m sure you would know.
    You should also check the by-laws governg your condo corporation to see if the corporation is responsible for providing the commercisl units with waste collection. It WOULD be unfair if they were responsible for ALL waste collection for the corpiration and not provifing it. In such a case, a condominium owner could seek a court order to force the condo corpiration to provide the service. Condominium corporations cannot seek the same legal remedy with the city for failing to provide wate collection.r

  2. ianward2

    Thanks Ron.

    Thanks Ron.

    It is my understanding that the City has worked with many condos to work out on-site limitations to waste collection.

    I also believe that there is a line item in the 2016 Capital budget to purchase new garbage trucks able to access multi-res properties. Cost ~ $750,000.

    Commercial condo owners in our building do not have access to any of the “common” areas or services (parking, hydro, elevator, carpet cleaning, etc).

    27% of the condo operating budget is for the exclusive use of residential, including wast collection.

    The private hauler is not a 3-stream collector. A higher percentage goes to a garbage dump.

    There is no differential between res & com base fees.


  3. Ted Pritchard

    Hi Ian:
    I am speaking as a delegate on behalf of condominium owners on Nov. 30, but we are not asking for a rebate which comes no where near covering the $150.00 top $200.00 costs per unit per year of solid waste collection. We are asking for what the SWMMP recommended to redress the inadequate solid waste service available to 60% of Guelph’s condominiums like the residential units in your building. If the City provides the front end service to your condo residents and you already have access to City Service on the street as a downtown commercial condo, you should all not have to pay the double charges for solid waste collection. This would be equitable as City Service would be available to your whole building and at least with this City service, all of you would get a return from your taxes. If your commercial condo was outside the downtown, I don’t think you would qualify for street collection because I don’t think environmental taxes are collected for commercial as they are for residential. Your residential/commercial condo is kind of unique and I think some of your other equity concerns are justified. If Guelph had a Condominium Advisory Committee, (remember that ask?) that might give you an avenue to adjust fees to make it fairer for the commercial units. Right now you can be out voted by the residents when you ask for exemptions from supporting amenities you don’t have access to. I understand that you don’t want to pay for the services you don’t use, but that is essentially what condominium living is all about. Everybody supports the cost of having a building that services all its residential units and your case, commercial units. You should really want the City to provide front end collection for your residents, so they get City service they can use like you do. None of the units in your building should have to pay a second time for city solid waste collection. Also, if your residents are on front end City collection, they will be forced to 3 stream separate which would remove your objection that most of their garbage goes to landfill. The condo residents of Guelph continue to send far too much garbage to landfill because the City has no control over it. I miss you as my Ward 2 councillor Ian, but both James and Andy continue to represent the residents appropriately, and I’m sure they won’t let me get away with anything condo owners aren’t entitled to.

    Thanks for the years of service.

    Ted Pritchard, Condo owner and Chair of the Fair Tax Campaign-Guelph

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