Oakville Homes

March 23, 2011

Gilgan – Can talk the talk but – walk the walk?

alphainventions

You might think that by visiting Mattamy.com you would get the builder.  Nada….. You get some flim flam site that is a conglomeration of links to everything from cars to finance.  Very shallow. 

But, visiting this site made me feel the same as when I visited Mattamyhomes.com, the real McCoy for Gilgan’s empire.  You can click on the map and be taken to breathtaking descriptions of the various building sites under Mattamy Homes.  You can also read inspiring prose such as:

 “We acquire the land, we design the homes and strive to deliver an exceptional customer experience.

We also constantly look for ways to improve what we do. The better we are at it, the more we will succeed.”

Well, I have to certainly agree about the acquiring of land and designing the homes but, I beg to differ on what follows based on not only my own experience but the experience of others.

It’s a fact that Mattamy can certainly “talk the talk” but experience shows they have a hard time “walking the walk“.

I was reading an old article at Canada.com.  In this article it states:

“It’s a good thing Troy van Haastrecht and his boss, Peter Gilgan, are patient men with lots of money in their hip pockets.  Otherwise, these two housing veterans might have caught the next plane back to Toronto and ditched their vision of becoming a major player in Ottawa by building master-planned communities with a New Urbanist twist that narrows streets, puts neighbours and porches first, and cars in rear lanes.”

Well, I know there are quite a few people in Ottawa that wish they had got that plane out-of-town.  Especially those whose faith in the Mattamy “spoken word” caused them to buy in Kanata Fairwinds and found out 2 years later they had no home to move into due to the fact that Mattamy sold them a house without final approval to build. 

Ethical? 

Maybe in Gilgan’s world.

Yes, in Gilgan’s world, he can certainly “talk the talk”, as seen in numerous articles about his financial success in the industry.  Success built on the backs of homeowners who certainly did not get to enjoy the “Mattamy dream“.  Kind of like buying from some cult retailer (I’ll let you fill in the names of a few well-known ones) and then finding out it was all bullshit regarding the product.  Blessed be the seller and too bad for the buyer. 

When it came to “walking the walk” I found that Mattamy used their experience to push through the sale of the house by doing illegal wiring.  In Bracebridge, they tried to get their security deposit back from the Town before the spring floods would show that they were wrong about the flooding problem.

Mattamy “talks the talk” about quality (not as much as they did though, I notice) but has little control over how it ends up.  The following is representative of what can happen.

“Laurysen Kitchens has been a very huge disappointment to us.  If I was to buy another Mattamy home, the fact that they have been using Laurysen Kitchens to build your cabinets would stop me from buying.”

It took 8 months to finally resolve the issue of scratches, nail holes, broken backing etc and it was finally resolved by a techy from Laurysen itself.  But 8 months to fix kitchen cabinets!!!!  That is quite the “walk the walk”.  It would be quicker to strip the kitchen and redo them yourself. 

The killing of wetlands in Cambridge shows the type of arrogance Mattamy has in regards to the environment, along with the conviction for building illegal berms in Ottawa.  I guess their “walk the walk” isn’t in tune with the environment as much as they would like you to think in regards to their website – remember the tadpole hunting in Pickering.

Maybe Gilgan, you should stop using the Stilettos when you “walk the walk”.  Use boots –  they won’t hurt as much when you walk all over the homebuyer.

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October 16, 2010

It’s who is behind the throne that really counts. Right Gilgan.

One thing that has been a real sore spot in the GTA and, I am sure, in other jurisdictions around the world, is the amount of control developers have over the community.  Yes, these are people who have to invest a lot of money in land over a long period of time to ensure there is space to build homes and commercial properties.  And, sometimes they invest in land that doesn’t really show promise within their lifetime.  They have to take risks and for those who are successful, they become billionaires like Mattamy’s Peter Gilgan.  Others go bankrupt.

It seems though that some wish to give themselves a better chance of success by investing in the right people.  People who can help them be successful.  In one post we see how this happened.  The full story is at this link.

“So around came Frank Cairo along with his co-worker Susan Murphy.  A very quick back story on Susan Murphy.  She is a lawyer who used to work in the planning department of the City of Ottawa and was involved in the shutting up of a certain city water engineer who raised concerns about the planning in Kanata West.  She subsequently jumped ship from the City of Ottawa and went to work for Mattamy homes and Frank Cairo. “

With the problems in Ottawa, I guess Susan wasn’t overly helpful to the Mattamy group.  But maybe they should have listened to the engineer.  Kind of script that you would see in a thriller movie with the hero trying to tell the world the truth and the corrupt power structure thwarts his/her every move.

In Halton, Mattamy hired  former Halton Chair Peter Pomeroy, who had a small skirmish with the law back in the day.  I guess Mattamy wanted his contacts in the region that would assist them in developing the land.  His “power” was shown to be a hollow tiger when Regional Council told the developers they were going to have to pay their way.  This after the Mulvale era.

Of course, after this statement, I wonder just how good Pomeroy is:

“Certainly a lot of them don’t know why they’re here but I do, and so do their employers,” said former Halton regional chair Peter Pomeroy, who now works on behalf of Mattamy Corporation.

Brings busloads of workers from the construction sites to force Halton Council to stop the development charges and he makes this statement about the depth of perception of the issue by those working for him.  Real good management technique there Peter.

And now we come to “Asphalt Annie“, who is trying a comeback in Oakville as mayor.  She is so aware of her reputation as one of Gilgan’s “boys”,  she has in her campaign literature that she does not accept donations from developers.

“As a campaign policy, Ann Mulvale will not accept donations from companies engaged in the land development.”

As a good politician she understands that is the way the wind is blowing here.  I guess better late than never. 

This from her last election.

Mattamy Homes
2360 Bristol Circle
Oakville, ON L6H 6M5
TOTAL RECEIVED: $125.00

Of course, this is a pittance in comparison to the amount she secured for Wellspring while investigating my complaint against Mattamy for doing the illegal (code) wiring.  I guess putting children’s lives at risk is small potatoes in the big picture.

Well, sorry Annie, but your reputation as a developer groupie is based on fact I believe.  Even Peter Gilgan kind of likes you.  With the leer he is giving you I’d be a little careful.  God only knows what he will ask of you.  He didn’t get to be a billionaire without without taking advantage of things.  (i.e.  construction on Milton toxic waste land, illegal berms in Ottawa and illegal (code) wiring to name some)

Peter Gilgan leering or gloating behind Mulvale????

And don’t let Mattamy Homes scare you with the old boogeyman story that the developers won’t develop in Oakville if the development rates are left where they are.  Oakville has prime development land and the developers will come.  Maybe they all won’t be able to get to billionaire status so quickly like Gilgan did due to past policies but we are willing to work with them and build a good community.  We’re just asking them to share the costs.  Funny, but it only seems that billionaire Gilgan is putting up the main fuss.  Everyone else just wants to do business.  As you can see, Gilgan is even supporting a mayoral candidate to ensure he gets what he wants.

The rest of us will vote for the community and not our pockets.

May 31, 2010

New Mattamy developments – read the forums and heed.

alphainventions

I was sent a reminder that I hadn’t visited the Seaton Creekside discussion forum so I thought I should stop by and see how it was going. A new Mattamy development in the Pickering area, Seaton Creekside was held up in the planning process for a while until agreements could be made. The same place that a number of choice lots were sold prior to the public being allowed to line up and get a chance. Interesting to do a title search and see who got the preferential treatment – what?

This is a brand new forum and someone wanted to know what everyone else was buying and I guess compare notes. Excellent start to developing a knowledgeable community who can help out each other. One person had some good questions and was reluctant to jump in and buy due to Mattamy quality issues and the Ottawa boondoggle that was and, is still occurring. Not all of us are experts in buying a house and I’m glad to see people responded and answered the questions. Probably benefitted a lot of people, including the lurkers on the forum.

One person remarked the following though: “They have approval on the site, which was 1 of the big hold ups. they have started taking some of the trees down etc. They would not be able to do that until they had town approval.”

Well, we all know what Mattamy thinks about prior approval.  As I mentioned, Ottawa Kanata Fairwinds comes to mind, as does the fact Mattamy began construction on land fertilized with human waste – putting neighbours and construction workers at risk.  And, we know they got a permit put on a furnace that was sold with illegal (code) wiring.

So, folks, don’t take for granted that everything is being done legally in Mattamy land just because you see the construction happening.  Remember the illegal berm in Ottawa?

For those buying in Seaton Creekside, considering the legalities that went on there, I’d be having a clause put in my Purchase Agreement that Mattamy has been given authorization to proceed and, if not – like in Ottawa, you’re not getting hit with expenses.  Only fair I would think if things are being done legally – right Mattamy?  What have you got to lose?

Well, in closing, the forum also let me know of some roof problems.  Here is a sampling: 

Tracy Daly Anyone interested in speaking with the media in Ottawa to share your stories?

 

Tim Hansen

I’m sure there’s no shortage of owners in Ottawa willing to speak out. Is there a member of the media interested in hearing our story?
 

Leilani Olamit-Köppen I own a 5 year old Mattamy townhome. I’ve had to replace blown off shingles on my roof 4 times so far. The first 2 times, Mattamy had covered the work. After the 3rd year, they told me I was on my own as it was no longer under warranty. They had told me that aside from this, they had not even been obligated to cover th…

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December 31, 2009

Happy New Year All – Good luck Richmond

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First off, I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year – may it be better than the last and not as good as the next.

As we go into this new decade, we should reflect on those lessons we learned over the years. If anything, one should acknowledge that the chances of getting the perfect house is not 100 percent and that having a house inspector is a good investment to ensure your chances of enjoying your new home is that much greater.

I view with some suspect the development in the Ottawa-Richmond area. Fortunately, the Board of Directors of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority went against a staff recommendation to approve the flood plain mapping and voted to defer the matter concerning the flood plain mapping for the Van Gaal drain north of Perth Street in Richmond to its January meeting. 

One reason was that Mattamy wanted more time to consider the plans and another brought up by Councilllor Brooks concerning the mapping done of the proposed earthworks.

Mattamy believes they have been TOO CONSERVATIVE in their mapping plans.  This from a company that does illegal berm building along rivers and has homes with flooded basements in Bracebridge.

The plan was built on the fact that the surrounding land is used to grow corn, which is rotated and only grown on the land once in 3 years.  The other crops encourage less run-off and Mattamy wants the plans designed on this factor. 

Normally you plan for the worst scenario ( i.e. 100 year storms) because when it happens, and it will, you want to ensure the safety of those living in the area.  So here we have a builder wanting them to reduce the protection because it will only occur every 2 out of 3 years. 

Am I wrong Mattamy?

“If Mattamy Homes views are considered, the projected flood flow in the Van Gaal drain north of Perth Street could go from about eight inches down to four inches.”

Yes, this is the viewpoint of a builder that also bends the electrical code to satisfy a sale. 

Rules?  Who needs them when you’re rich.

HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL AND GOOD LUCK TO THOSE IN RICHMOND.

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March 19, 2009

Mattamy Pleads Guilty – for a change

You may remember that back in July 2008, Mattamy Homes was charged by the Rideau Valley Convservation Authority for unauthorized placement of fill in the floodplain of the Jock River. They tried to arrange for a permit, grandfathered prior to the dumping date.

Well, for your information and, something not being run in the regular press, Mattamy Homes pled guilty to the charge and received a $5000 fine. In addition, Mattamy will also relocate the berm to a location on the property where it is not expected to have any effect on the control of flooding, erosion, pollution or the conservation of land. They have also agreed to stabilize the area of the existing work with suitable vegetation.

I understand that by pleading guilty, they didn’t have to have a trial and thus media attention.  So, the ads will still run showing them being concerned about families, they’ll still get media attention for donating and, they’ll still be able to hide the flaws behind all the good media attention they get.  Glad to see a jurisdiction that doesn’t bow to the will of Mattamy Homes and they do something about the illegal acts that Mattamy Homes has committed.  I only wish the Town of Oakville, instead of accepting multiple donations, had the guts to do something about Mattamy Homes putting in illegal (code) wiring and putting people’s lives at risk.  Cudos to Ottawa.

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