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Residents fighting back after condo board proposes pet ban

Last Updated Aug 24, 2016 at 5:14 am EDT

When one envisions a trendy Torontonian living in one of the city’s flourishing condo communities, the image of a fashionable figure walking a small dog while cradling a tall latte comes to mind.

The latte can stay, but the dog could be gone if a condo board succeeds in painting a new picture of a pet-free life at two CityPlace buildings.

Some residents at 3 Navy Wharf and 5 Mariner Terrace are barking mad after alleging the board slipped the proposal to ban pets into this year’s budget package.

CityNews reached out to the board president, but he wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Residents already living with pets would be allowed to keep them, but no new pets would be allowed if the proposal comes to fruition. Guide dogs would be an exception.

Condo owners opposed to the ban are now rallying to fight the board’s proposal.

If 15 per cent of owners come forward, a majority-rules vote will take place.

A petition, written by Kirti Shetty, is being circulated on Facebook (below).

condoboard

In the petition, Shetty calls the proposed changes “draconian” and accuses the board of “sneaking” the change through the budget package.

He also argued that condo owners could lose out financially. “A vast majority of the residents living in downtown Toronto have pets and consider it a major part of their lifestyle,” he wrote.

“This will seriously impact the resale value of our condos as well as rental potential of our units.”

Gary Pieters, president of the CityPlace Residents Association, believes the board hasn’t been transparent enough.

“If you are going to be implementing new rules, communication is essential so that you can hear the concerns of your owner/residents,” he said. “We are all part of a shared community and as a shared community we have to be able to co-exist harmoniously.”

“This is a pet-friendly neighbourhood,” he emphasized.

But Pieters admits there have been complaints, specifically about dog owners not cleaning up after their pets, and sometimes leaving them on balconies unattended. There have also been concerns about wear and tear and dogs being left off their leashes.

“There are issues with some of our pet owners…” he said. “But I also see very loving pet owners in this neighbourhood who really take care of their pets and nurture their pets as an extended part of their family. So I see both sides.”

Real estate lawyer, Bob Aaron, said one of the problems is a large number of condo units are rented, and renters are virtually shut out of the conversation legally.

“Renters have no say in the operation of the condominium,” he said. “They can make noise and let their feelings be known…but they can’t participate in the vote, unless they have a proxy (written permission) from their landlord to vote.”

“The condo owners have the final say,” he added. “If they don’t like the rule…15 per cent can call the meeting and then it’s majority rule.”

There’s also another option.

“The other thing the owners can do is…call a meeting to replace the board members and that has happened,” he notes. “If you don’t like the board you can replace them.”

Making matters more complicated — residents at the two buildings say they currently pay for a dog park with a portion of their condo fees, a detail that Aaron called “unfair” should the ban go through.