The Condo Game: Intense and Negative
As published in the Winter 2013 edition of CondoVoice Magazine. On November 21, 2013, the CBC program “Doc Zone” aired a documentary entitled “The Condo Game”. The Condo Game was intense and largely negative. Parts (and I emphasize the word “parts”) of the segment were an absolute affront to balanced journalism. Anyone who believes the sensational coverage would never, in their right mind, buy a condominium in Toronto. That surely is not the real state of the condominium marketplace on Toronto. The show’s content dealt with many of the issues talked about - real, common, uncommon and exceptional. Whatever one’s opinion is about the actual truth, attention should be paid to information that is out there about the condominium industry.
One thing is certain, if the statements in the show are taken to be widely common and ubiquitous facts, condo sales would have dropped drop like a stone. I haven’t heard of any drop in sales since the show aired, but would have to conclude that the effect of the information aired will not help market value. The industry and government need to pay attention to what is said on such a widely watched show. The problem with The Condo Game is that it did not interview those with other opinions about the quality of construction and what is being done about it.
The stories presented, which I discuss in an article later in this edition, were unique and important; not to be thrown away, but they were not a representation of the majority of new condominiums being built in Toronto. The general sense that all condominium construction in Toronto is shoddy, is not reality. While certainly, there are many, perhaps too many, examples of problem construction and unit issues, they are not the widespread norm. Equating the Toronto condominium boom and its construction to Vancouver is a little much. I say this from the perspective of one of the law firms that makes it its business to protect condominium corporations and their owners from bad construction and developers who fail to step up to the plate for repairs and rectification of construction issues.
However, there were some very good points raised in The Condo Game, many of which we are already aware. Firstly, the show referred to very large projects governed by a board of directors, made up of individuals who may not be experts in the issues of rectification of construction deficiencies and ongoing management of the project; more about this later. I noted in the last edition of the Condo Voice that many of the new projects are governed by a board of three, which I pointed out, was not enough of a substantial board to deal with the issues of a large downtown condominium project. Secondly, and very importantly, The Condo Game focused on the very important issue of what actual control the City of Toronto has over the nature and quality of development. Essentially, the point is very well taken; Why are democratically elected counselors of the City of Toronto overruled by the OMB, being one single person hearing objections and ruling upon them? Essentially, one person hearing an OMB appeal can change the nature of an entire development and neighborhood. Should this not be the actual elected council?