Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
It is not unheard of for local government, in severe cases, to invoke eminent domain. Could the case of Northumberland take the District of Maple Ridge in this direction? There is a strong case for replacing the current owners with a government agency who could tear down the building and replace it with community housing for those families truly in need.
If this approach were used BC-wide it would fit well into the Province's need to care for the any homeless we have somehow managed to create.
The term "condemnation" is used to describe the formal act of the exercise of the power of eminent domain to transfer title to the property from its private owner to the government. This use of the word should not be confused with its sense of a declaration that real property, generally a building, has become so dilapidated as to be legally unfit for human habitation due to its physical defects. This type of condemnation of buildings (on grounds of health and safety hazards or gross zoning violation) usually does not deprive the owners of the title to the property condemned but requires them to rectify the offending situation or have the government do it for the owner at the latter's expense.
Condemnation via eminent domain indicates the government is taking ownership of the property or a lesser interest in it, such as an easement. In most cases the only thing that remains to be decided when a condemnation action is filed is the amount of just compensation, although in some cases the right to take may be challenged by the property owner on the grounds that the attempted taking is not for a public use, or has not been authorized by the legislature, or because the condemnor has not followed the proper procedure required by law.
What we at MRCCC have to add to this story is a discussion
about the other race that is going on over Northumberland Court, and
this race is around whether Steve Creighton will be around as the
administrator after June 30 to keep pursuing court actions against
the city over the other remedial actions imposed on Northumberland Court.
The initial court case, Kwasnica v Strata Plan NW8 - #076868, that
brought about a court appointed administrator was based around the idea
that an administrator would bring order to the complex, and this would
take a finite amount of time. When one looks at the last six months we
have a total of 7 police raids, two shootings, one arson attempt, and
who can forget the recent incident with the police tactical team being
called out while the helicopter circled overhead for a few hours.
Suffice to say after all that one would be hard pressed to say that
things are in order at Northumberland Court, and now the time imposed by
the judge to have an administrator is just about up.
Reading the oral judgment from case #076868 the term set by Judge
Melnick had the administrator in place until June 30 2009. Looking at
the calender that day is fast approaching. Why this matters is because
depending on whether the administrator is re-appointed by the courts or
the appointment expires will largely dictate how many more times
Northumberland Court ends up in Provincial court. It is baffling though
how much money has been spent, and looks to be spent, on court cases.
The question that constantly comes up is why is that money not being
spent on the remedial repairs?
According to Mike Kwasnica,who rents the two suites he owns at
Northumberland, the plan is to get the judge to put definite
orders/actions in to the new appointment of the administrator. His
belief is that if the judge will do this then if Athwal will not perform
these court orders Kwasnica and the Administrator will then take him to
court again to get these orders/actions enforced. Before all of this
though the administrator will have to enter into another race with the
city to get an injunction in court against the city remedial actions because
those are due July 31 09, essential one month from now. Now assuming
that Kwasinca and the Administrator can get definite orders put into the
appointment of the administrator they will still have to go through the
process of getting Athwal to perform the tasks and when Athwal does not
(see the case the city brought against Athwal regarding Morse Creek)
this will add another court case to show that he is not complying with
the court order. Assuming the two of them can show that Athwal is not
and will not perform the tasks they will then have to begin the process
of collecting the money to get the tasks done, which will be another
Once again, lots of time in court, lots of money being spent and nothing
substantial changing at Northumberland Court. If any readers are
wondering why Mike Kwasnica, who by the way was the one to step up to
stop the demolish last time, is fighting so hard to save Athwal's burnt
out suites the reason is he has plans to purchase them and rehabilitate
them and all of us are supposed to sit back until November 2011 which is
the time line he is giving that this will all be solved. MRCCC made
enquiries as to whether the community could have any say into this
re-appointment or at the very least present that it has an inherent
interest in how this complex is run and by who, but as has been the case
many times in trying to get a solution if you can't afford lawyers you
can't be heard by the court system.
So where does this leave everyone that is living in and around, and
experiencing the daily affects of Northumberland? As hard as this group
has been on the city they are the best hope all of us have that this
will be settled in the next few months as opposed to several years. The
recent action to push forward with the demolition is a good sign the
city is giving this situation the attention it has been lacking for the
last six years. There are still many questions to ask the city in
regards to how this situation has been handled, and why it was handled
differently then other similar situations, but for now what is most
important is a long term positive solution that will respect the rights
of all residents and help to promote a safer community that is not
constantly subjected to situations that are dangerous and harmful to
everyone around them. Let's hope the city keeps up the pace, this is far
from over and though still too early to say that the end of this whole
debacle is near, one may be able to say that actions are on the table so
perhaps there is a glimmer that by the end of August we will see a very
different, and hopefully more positive situation at Northumberland Court.
One final note. MRCCC is looking at putting together a meeting that
ideally will have both MLA's in attendance. This meeting will give an
over view of SCAN (Safe Communities And Neighbourhoods) legislation.
Several other provinces already have this legislation in place and it
has proven quite affective in allowing communities to get concrete
action taken on issues by going through the Provincial office of the
Solicitor General as opposed to criminal court.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
- For years the city has made reference to the strata act of BC as the reason it has allowed the abuse at NW8 to carry on for so long. Could you please inform the citizens of Maple Ridge what sections of the Strata Act have rendered the city unable to act in any meaningful way and allowed one individual to run roughshod over the rights of an entire community?
- At the last council meeting questions were not answered because it was stated that the city is facing legal action, but when one searches the court filings at Vancouver, New Westminster, and Coquitlam they do now show that the District of Maple Ridge is facing any court actions tied into Northumberland Court. Can you please state what court case is against the city, which court house it is being heard in and what is the court case number?
- Please give the details of the business license suspension of Jagdev (Jack) Singh Athwal: how long will it last, what process needs to be followed for him to get his business license back, is he allowed to still be a landlord if the suites are already occupied, feel free to add anything that will shed some light on this situation.
- It has now come to light that the provincial government is again sending cheques for lodging to buildings at Northumberland Court even though the land lord has had his business license suspended, what is the city doing to enforce this suspension and ensure that it's own bylaws are respected, put another way why should citizens respect the bylaws of Maple Ridge if the provincial government does not?t
- Hypothetically speaking If a building has had it's gas, electrical and plumbing system tampered with what level of tampering would have to occur for it to still have an occupancy permit?
- Building Bylaw 6180-2003 which regulates the alteration, repair, and demolition of buildings and structures in Maple Ridge states in section 32.1 that “Every person who contravenes any provision of this bylaw commits an offence punishable on summary conviction and shall be liable to a fine of not more than $10,000 dollars or to imprisonment for not more than six months.” Would this bylaw apply to the owner of a structure who has knowledge that these alterations has occurred?
There have been no updates to the website for the last several weeks due to computer difficulties, these problems have been fixed and the hope is to update the website over the next week.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
This guy’s theory is juvenile, an old doomsday theme and ignores the natural balancing act of the free market. If the dollar drops, US goods become cheaper to export and imports shrink because they are too expensive. If the dollar drops, paying back the loans becomes cheaper and all the foreign banks lose, including the Asians who have invested heavily in North America.
The restructuring of the US steel industry led to increased competitiveness, the auto industry will follow in 2-3 years. The desperate situation has allowed for a hastening of the needed cost cutting and the leaner result will be very competitive when the market returns.
America was first into the recession and will be one of the first out again. (if not the first) These developing countries need the US market for their products and they will suffer worse if they dry up.
Their protectionism will hurt them more than help them , we’ve seen this in the past and their banking systems have been disasters at times.
It is a global market today and the balance will be maintained over time. In the end, competition will determine the winners. I also wouldn’t be so quick to write off the will of the US people, if Obama allows the natural process to occur and doesn’t legislate too much expensive socialism, the competitive spirit will fight back and US industry will be even stronger. Everyone in North America will reap the benefits from this.
If all else fails, they will just nuke the bastards……….isn’t that why they overspend on “defense”?
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
The negative ads by the Conservatives, should they continue to be aired, will bury the Conservative party for years to come. It is a shame, because Conservative, without Harper, and without the infantile negative philosophy for campaigning, could probably do some good for the country.
The Liberals must be thrilled and delighted at the Conservative lack of tact and finesse. And overjoyed at having Canada handed back to them, so loyally and ably assisted by the Conservatives. We told almost daily how smart Stephen Harper is. One wonders now if this is just another example of the Conservative lie.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Monday, June 08, 2009
VANCOUVER- “Sombre” is a word favoured by many writers when describing the mood at mining conferences during downturns. The word nearly occurred here until, on reflection, the venue and day and season were taken into consideration; Vancouver, Sunday, summer. “Relaxed” seemed a more appropriate adjective.
So it was a relaxed mood that greeted this reporter yesterday, Sunday June 7 at the opening of 2009 World Resource Investment Conference held in the spectacular new Vancouver Convention Centre.
The usual suspects, exhibitors and visitors populated the aisles, though fewer in number. It crossed my mind that some of the gentlemen who strolled the aisles may simply have used the conference as an excuse to get out of mowing the lawn, clearing out the attic or perhaps washing the car.
The conference drew some 200 exhibitors. One exhibitor expressed his disappointment as he’d been given to understand that there’d be a strong renewable energy theme or presence at this conference. If this was indeed supposed to be weighted toward the renewable sector then it was well disguised. I did see two hybrid vehicles on display and a run of river exhibitor, but that was about it.
Anyone interested in learning the true purpose of this convention would have to have attended the two 30 minute panel discussions from 5:30PM to 6:30PM in the Speaker Hall where the subjects was titled sequentially “Gold, Silver & Currencies” and “The Recovery? Are we?” The panels, MC’d by Michael Border of Border Gold Corp., comprised David Morgan silver investor.com, Jon Nadler, KITCO, Roger Wiegand Trader Tracks, John Kaiser Bottom Fish Report, Paul van Eeden Investor Analyst and Letter Editor, Michael Berry Morning Notes, Rick Rule Global Resource Investments Ltd. and Greg McCoach The Mining Speculator.
The panels covered everything from the relationship between gold and the US dollar, gold and silver and importantly ‘how we got into this mess’ and is the route we have chosen to get out of this mess i.e. is the bailout, the smart thing to do. To a man, the panel concluded that Washington is on the wrong track. It was agreed that flogging the dead horse of debt with further debt would lead only to more dead horses (my words no the panel’s).
There was an interestingly vitriolic and surprising attack on our saviour of hope, Barack (“Barry” to his school mates, according to one panel member) Obama by the whole panel with van Eeeden describing the current bailout, TARP and other stimulus packages as outright insane and people who elected this administration as ‘stupid’. He found little resistance to that premise.
The other big issue was China. We were warned not to put all our eggs in China – nothing to do with avian flu of course. The big problem the panel had with the China syndrome is that the base and precious metals producers should be cautioned against putting their faith in economic information and growth data – particularly with respect to infrastructure – that is reported by the Chinese regime. The reason for this cautious approach is that being China, it is feared that the information is over-controlled and doubtless manipulated to suit Chinese goals rather than those of the supplier nations. Interesting, I thought. Only a few weeks ago I watched a documentary on the life and times of Chairman Mao. In part, the documentary reminded the viewer of how Mao fudged the agricultural output numbers for the great republic in 1950s. Could it be that ‘little has changed”.
We spotted at least two Global Rock Exchange members in the sparse crowd. George Read of Shoregold delivered an excellent presentation on developments at Shoregold’s diamond project in Saskatchewan. Brett Whitelaw was also spotted multi-tasking between booths.
Those who chose to stay for the dinner enjoyed Wild Mushroom Crostini, Pepper Crusted New York Steak and a Strawberry Romanoff Puff with Dark Chocolate Sauce. The restaurant overlooks the North Shore Mountains with Coal Harbour marina in the foreground. Not bad.
Saturday, June 06, 2009
Today June 6th should have a been a big day for Maple Ridge, not just the community of Haney, but the city as a whole. Unfortunately the situation at Northumberland Court is eerily like it was in 2006. Like in 2006 we have Athwal saying he doesn't care, tear down the burnt out building, and then there is Mike Kwasnica who owns two suites at Northumberland (neither of them in the burnt out building), saying the building can be saved. Anyone that has been following this situation knows well enough that Athwal will never repair that building. Those that doubt this take the time to research the feud between Athwal and the city over Morse Creek.
Going by Mayor Daykin's comments in the local papers there is still a plan by the city to see that the remedial actions imposed by the city will be followed through. Hopefully this will be the case. The difference between now and 2006 though is the MRCCC is hopeful that the community does not let council or staff forget what they have said in council chambers and what the staff has said in their written public reports.
For this reason we are hopeful to get a good turn out to the council meeting on June 9th, which begins at 7pm. There are the usual type of agenda items being discussed that require various requirement agreements and change in covenants so unless something comes out of the blue this should be a fairly straight forward meeting.
Because the case of Northumberland Court is again before the courts all members of the public that don't want this issue pushed to the side and forgotten by council and staff should make the effort to appear on June 9th to ask questions as to what is the current plan for the court case and what is the future plan for Northumberland as a whole. Questions from the public can occur during agenda item number 1800 'questions from the public.' Everyone is encourage to come out and ask whatever questions are on their mind and if you don't have a specific question but would like to contribute to a long term solution some example questions are below.
- Given that the chief of the fire department has stated that in the event of a fire, neither he nor his crew will enter building 11731, also known as the burnt out building, and given that the demolition of this structure is again tied up in court, will the city erect proper fencing around the building to ensure that it is not entered and occupied? Yes or No
- Given the condition of building 11731 Fraser St, also known as the burnt out building, and given that the chief of the fire department stated in these chambers that he, nor his crew will enter the building in the event of a fire has the city taken out extra liability insurance in the event someone is injured or killed in the building should it once again go up in flames? Yes or No
- Has the city been in touch with the Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance to prepare for the possibility that the remedial repairs ordered by the city on the buildings at Northumberland Court will not be completed by the due date and for this reason there will be residents who will be left living in substandard housing that according to city staff reports leaves occupants in danger of respiratory problems, fire hazards and structural collapse? Yes or No
- To ensure public confidence in this process regarding the condition of the buildings at Northumberland Court will the city publish a complete schedule showing that all remedial repairs, as out lined by staff reports, have been completed, and where necessary completed by a certified professional? Yes or No
- In December 08 building number 20639 Maple Crescent was damaged by heavy snow falls, this building had tenants that had to vacate due to concerns about the structural integrity of the building. The tenants were given accommodation through Maple Ridge Emergency Social Services and Alouette Home Start Society. Given that the city staff reports issued in March and April regarding the condition of the buildings at Northumberland Court and the level of remedial repairs required at most of the buildings has the city of Maple Ridge offered the same services to those tenants who are renting at Northumberland? Yes or No
- Recently a historical building at 20639 Maple Crescent was deemed uninhabitable and demolished, given that staff reports presented to council though the months of March and April have statements regarding Northumberland Court buildings that read as follows: “Due to water ingress into the building at the exterior grade line the structural integrity of the buildings and its structural components are deteriorating to the point where repairs must be performed to prevent collapse of the building and harm to the buildings occupants.” These same reports also stated that 11701unit 13 – Load Bearing wall has been removed 11723 unit 6 – floor joists removed. Please explain the difference between these two instances and whether the city take the same decisive action regarding the buildings at Northumberland Court? Yes or No
- Staff reports regarding the state of repair of a number of suites at Northumberland Court included several mentions of mold on drywall and in crawl spaces, along with mentions of stagnate water and sewer water being found within buildings and also within building crawl spaces. My question will the city ensure the air quality in these structures is breathable and will not cause other health issues be testing the air quality of these buildings? Yes or No
- Mr Mayor could you, or a member of staff please explain the difference between the building at 20639 Maple Crescent and the danger it posed to its inhabitants and why it was so quickly vacated and why the buildings at Northumberland Court that according to staff reports are also facing structural collapse have not been vacated?
MRCCC should be sending out another update on Monday regarding the court case itself. To date, nothing is posted on the BC Civil Court site. An inquiry to the court found that the courts posting system is currently four weeks behind. Whether this means that the court case is then four weeks behind and for this reason it might be the case that it could be months before this is heard by a judge. All the more reason to speak up to council and question what is happening now and what will happen next, and most importantly are council and staff ready and willing to act.