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Tribunal declines to resolve Burnaby strata's 'complex' $315K dispute

Resolving a dispute over who should pay for certain repairs at Cascade Village will require a decision on the strata's "whole governance and funding model," according to the province's Civil Resolution Tribunal, which refused to decide the issue.
Cascade Village is located on the corner of Canada Way and Curle Avenue in Burnaby.

A strata with a "unique set of bylaws" will have to get B.C. Supreme Court to resolve an ongoing $315,000 dispute, according to the province's Civil Resolution Tribunal, which has declined to rule on the case.

Cascade Village at the corner of Canada Way and Curle Avenue was built in eight phases between 1984 and 1989 and has bylaws that allow each phase (except Phases 1 and 2, which are combined) to have a separate budget, operating fund, and contingency reserve fund to which only the strata lots in that phase contribute, according to a CRT ruling Monday.

But the owners of Phase 4, also known as the Terraces, applied to the tribunal for an order compelling the strata to reimburse them $295,000 for replacing one of their three glass canopies.

The canopy is located above a walkway which is partly above a recreation centre that is available for everyone in the strata to use, according to the ruling, and the Terraces owners argued the recreation centre and other areas common to all strata lots, such as landscaping, have historically been maintained through funding from all strata lots.

The Terraces also applied for another order compelling the strata to pay $20,000 for the repair of a Phase 4 retaining wall they say is common property and a safety issue.

The strata said both claims should be dismissed.

It says it has "made its best efforts to comply with its obligations and has acted honestly, in good faith, and in the best interests of the strata."

"The strata says it has been unable to determine if the glass canopy repair claimed by the strata benefits the recreation centre, and therefore, all strata lots," states the ruling.

As for the retaining wall repair, the strata said the bylaws historically required each type of strata lot to repair and maintain its own buildings and "immediate surrounding areas," and the Terraces should, therefore, pay for the retaining wall repairs itself.

There is no monetary limit to the strata disputes the Civil Resolution Tribunal can rule on, but vice chair Garth Cambrey said the Cascade Village case went beyond monetary claims.

He noted cost allocation among the phases at the strata has been an issue since at least 2005.

"I find the monetary aspects of the applicants' claims are so highly intertwined with the interpretation, validity, and enforceability of the strata's cost allocation bylaws, it would be impractical for me to resolve some and not others," Cambrey said in the ruling. 

"Resolving the dispute about the 1 glass canopy and 1 retaining wall will require a decision on the strata's whole governance and funding model, with far-reaching economic and governance consequences for all the owners in a large strata," he added.

Cambrey declined to resolve the case and ordered both parties' tribunal fees to be reimbursed.

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