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Change Happens

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Apr 13, 2015 @ 12:57 PM

guest speakerSometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.

In March 2013,  I bought a beautiful condo on the banks of the elbow river in Calgary, Alberta. A dream that has always gnawed away at me is to live on the water. The challenge is our city has pretty steep property prices, and waterfront living is hard to come by. When this opportunity came up, I jumped on it.

Three months later, Calgary suffered its biggest flood in 100 years. Within 24 hours, my condo and everything in it was washed away.

The original loss was overwhelming but I resolved to quickly pick up the pieces and get on with my life.  The universe had other plans. Politics, people, underhanded business practice and money had stalled us. Two years after the flood the three units on the bottom level of our building sat boarded up and uninhabitable.

Confused and bewildered, we repeatedly turned to our condo board and property management company for direction and action. They continued to give vague answers and shut us out.

Financially the scenario was unsustainable. The three main level owners still paid property taxes, mortgages and condo fees, while supporting new living accommodations.

A year after the flood, no further ahead than when the water flooded us out of our homes; the three bottom levels owners started to get angry.

Anger is an interesting energy because it's negative and usually gets a bad wrap. In this case my anger fuelled action. I have never been a fighter; I genuinely avoid conflict and assume the best in others.

This laid back acceptance was becoming almost passive aggressive and wasn't moving us forward.  I got angry.

Demanding answers we were repeatedly ignored and told to seek legal council.

Collaborating on my angry front were the other two bottom level owners, also shut out of their homes, demanding answers.

One, an elderly widow and the other a former social worker. All three single women learned to lean on each other for support. Swirling around were lots of questions but very few answers. Why the delays? We had over $222k in insurance money to rebuild our units or buy us out. Where was this money?

Four months after the flood, the owners voted to buy out the main level owners and make the building more resilient for future floods. A full year later nothing had happened.
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