Oakville Homes

September 30, 2013

Mattamy 1 – Homeowner 0 House inspector only way to go.

My last post featured “Cowboy Builders”, a term used in England but certainly applicable to Canada.  You’ve read about them and occasionally something is done to help the screwed homeowner.  In Ontario, Tarion has a very shaky record in helping consumers, not surprising considering the slanted emphasis in regards to builders/developers on their board of directors.  Occasionally even the courts help out – probably against a builder who hasn’t paid his “political dues”.

Shows initiated by Mike Holmes and Brian Baeulmer try to help the consumer and do educate in what to look for but alas, hampered by ???, they do not show you who is screwing who.

In the Town of Oakville, who has received very large donations from Mattamy/Peter Gilgan in the past, it is obvious that the Mayor and Council will do nothing to really protect the consumer/homebuyer.  Yes, they have a Building Department who is “legally obligated” to enforce the somewhat weak building code but, as we have seen, they are less than perfect.  According to letters I have received, they will only inspect a dwelling when told it is time by the builder – reactive and not proactive.  So much for really looking after the consumer.

And, the Town of Oakville is afraid to enact a by-law allowing homeowners to hire a house inspector to monitor the build – something they could do under their responsibility to enforce the building code.  The house inspector would inform the building inspector of any infractions.  Like community policing where the public assist the police in policing their neighbourhood.  But, they seem afraid of this.  Why?  Too many donations by the developers/builders?  Someone have pictures of someone doing something with animals?  Who knows, except, the Mayor and Council refuse to help out the consumer.  A former councillor, who went the provincial route, voted to have the Council pass on my recommendation to the Ontario government.  The Ontario government, in their wisdom, felt they could not pass such a law as “it would cost the homeowner money”.  The councilor who voted to have it taken to the province, is also involved in the provincial decision to not place the power plants in Mississauga and Oakville.  That only cost the taxpayer $500 million it seems.  But, I guess friends of the Liberals were the beneficiaries of the monies spent so, all is well in the political world.  How about it Flynn, why not get a law passed that would help a homeowner and the cost is “optional”?

It is hard to fight city hall and I recently communicated with someone having a battle with another builder, Ballantrae.  They have similar issues with the builder and government agencies.  As a screwed homeowner, you quickly find that donations work and politicians really don’t care about the average homeowner, unless there is at least a photo-op.  Maybe we can arrange some photo-ops around election time, which is coming up.

My last post was number 600.  Other than having the Mattamy bully boys after me, the Mattamy legal beagles threatening me with libel and other ridiculous things, I must admit that I haven’t really accomplished what I wanted.  A by-law protecting homeowners.

As I have stated above, donations rule the roost and local politicians really don’t give a damn about these things.  Looking good does and getting donations even better but helping screwed homeowners – that is counterproductive to milking developers for donations.

So, I have decided to take a different tack – appears the mighty blog doesn’t accomplish anything.  A more proactive protest is in order I believe.  So, this will be my last regular blog posting, although I may visit it occasionally to pass on any tid-bits that are given me by those who want the truth out there.

The Mayor and Council of the Town of Oakville obviously don’t understand the word “apology” and, neither will I when the time comes.

So, remember, no one will look after you when you buy a house except yourself, your own paid lawyer and a professional house inspector.  Remember, you too can get screwed and if you hire a house inspector to monitor the build, just helps you in court where you will find yourself at odds to prove the “truth”.  Lawyers for builders hate that word and will do everything to prevent it from being introduced.

Me, I got the Mattamy Bully Boys.

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July 29, 2013

Mattamy ponies up to the Liberals and Conservatives – differently. Future favours or just a dual supporter?

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DATA NOTED IS AS OF JULY 29TH, 2013

Why do people donate to political parties?  Is it because they know the person running for office and want to help out a bit as a friend.?  Or, do they truly support the political platform that the person is running on and want to help that person come into office and make the changes they talk of during their political speeches?  Or, do they want to ensure that whomever gets into power knows just how much money you gave and will help you when the time comes to push through something at council or Queen’s Park?  Who really knows except the guy shoveling the money to the politician.

In the business world, in order to make a profit, the government has to be supportive of measures that allow one to  make a profit.  On the other hand, government has a legal and moral duty to protect the citizens that live in the municipality, province, state or country.  It is a fine balance to ensure we all prosper but that no one really gets shafted too bad.

In my case, I tried to get the Town of Oakville to pass a by-law allowing a homebuyer to hire a house inspector for NEW BUILDS.  The then mayor of Oakville seemed to lead the charge at town council to have such a by-law quashed and passed on to the province, who really didn’t give a rat’s ass.  Odd, but the mayor was spearheading a donation campaign for Mattamy Homes to finance Wellspring, a charity of interest by the mayor.  Since then, Mattamy has graced Oakville with large sums of money.  Yes, Mattamy is the same company that bused in loads of workers to protest Development Charges.  Which I understand were put through but then reduced later (when the press furor died down).

Mattamy, the same company that began construction on land covered in human waste (sh*t, for those less refined) and they were only stopped due to the vigilance of a local resident.  No fines but they did stop.  Workers were sent for testing fortunately.

Yes, Mattamy does seem to live a favoured life.  Political awards for the owner Peter Gilgan, no charges for illegal wiring that put children at risk and not much done when they built homes that flooded.  Things are kept quite by the government in terms of Mattamy.  How many knew about the charges being laid for illegal berm work in Ottawa or read about it in the Toronto Star?  You know, where all the advertising money goes.

Speaking of money.  Seems that Mattamy is supporting the Ontario Conservatives, if we read it right.  They ponied up the max ($9300) to Hudak’s coffers on the 28th of February.  The Liberals, a perceived perennial favourite only got $5,000 on May 24th and $1350 on July 8th.  I understand this may now be the max of $9300 due to recent contributions, but I stand to be corrected on that.  So, big bonus to Hudak but a slow dribble to Premier Wynne.

Wonder why they did it that way?  And don’t forget, if an election is called, Mattamy can grace the candidates with even more money.

But still, why the drawn out donation schedule?  Was there some bargaining going. on?  Paid out money to Hudak for the “just in case” scenario while holding off while bargaining for benefits with the Liberals?  Who knows except the “back room boys” (Maybe “girls” in Whynne’s case)

And, we really don’t know just how all the bargaining does go.  Maybe $million to a Liberal riding hospital for the photo-op? or $$$ to the local YMCA.  Just put the Mattamy/Gilgan name on it and it is yours for the asking.

Just a thought Peter – tell me who to vote for and I’ll name an outhouse after you – “Gilgan’s World”.

I know a lot of people’s lives went to sh*t due to your construction practices so it would be fitting.

P.S. I have heard a rumour that Mattamy may be part of a cabal of house builders who are stifling any attempt to have an agency list house issues.  Haven’t confirmed it but, it would be in character based on their treatment of house inspectors.

I just wonder what the Town of Oakville had to worry about in regards to passing the by-law.  It seems that having money given to them is more important that protecting homebuyers – taxpayers and voters.

2013 Liberal Contribution

2013 Conservative Contribution 2013 Liberal Contribution

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2013 Conservative Contribution

2013 Conservative Contribution

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March 26, 2013

Oakville building department uses power when convenient? Not when it should?

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“Town was ready to block plant” – so read the headline on the front page of the “Oakville Beaver”. They are referring to the infamous power plant that was stopped in Oakville on the eve of an election. (Also Mississauga)

Liberals started the plant – Liberals stopped the plant – a Liberal was re-elected.

What can we say except that this political maneuvering may cost all taxpayers in the 3 digit millions. And, someone is going to pocket that money as well. Friends of the Liberals?

But, I like Mayor Burton’s comment: “Oakville was on track to block the building of a controversial power plant when former premier Dalton McGuinty’s government decided to cancel it amid strong community opposition.”

No building permit was to be issued based on pollution and safety concerns. I guess things have changed under Burton’s leadership. Under former mayor Anne Mulvale, a building inspector passed my furnace even though it had illegal wiring. Power plant gets stopped at great expense to the taxpayer while my house is allowed to be sold with illegal wiring.

At my expense.

I guess the building department only uses its authority when it is politically expedient. Oh, yes, I have mentioned that Wellspring received a donation from Mattamy Homes and Billionaire Gilgan (1.8B) at the request of Anne Mulvale.

For some reason we pay our taxes and trust the system, a system that is manipulated by those who use it for their own gain and hide behind the trust of those who believe in it.  The Town of Oakville tells us to trust the Building Department when it comes to the construction of our homes.  They don’t make the regulations but supposedly enforce the Building Code.  But, just how well do they enforce it?  My blog has shown they aren’t that good about it.  I know people who have been in court for years in regards to the Town of Oakville and certain environmental issues that have occurred.  Like human waste flowing in the Sixteen Mile Creek.  My kids swam in that creek, not knowing about the sludge overflowing into the watershed.  So much for standards.

You trust the Mattamy name?  For the full version, read the comment at the bottom of this blog.  This is how a builder will screw you.  The Town of Oakville was given a chance to correct the issues.  They state that they don’t have enough inspectors but refuse to pass a by-law stating that a new homeowner could hire a house inspector to monitor their build.  What better way to enforce the building code.

And, what professional and honest builder would balk at that?  How could they argue against a licensed professional and insured house inspector monitoring the build?  In commercial builds, the owner has people helping them so, it has been established practice in some construction.  Lets just expand the practice to protect homeowners.

Do not assume you have an occupancy permit.  Have your lawyer ask for one before closing.  Make the municipality work for those added charges to the price of your house.

Here is what our elected (and sometimes supported by donations from developers) officials would be protecting us from.  In this case, it just happens to be Mattamy.

“I have found so many little issues in our Mattamy home. On their own, it’s trivial, but added up, the sum is just stupid. From suspected insulation issues around the living room bay window, master bedroom overhang, and garage, to hot air that just won’t reach the farthest room in the house (the master washroom) that results in a freezing master, to odd air flow where the upstairs can’t be cooled in summer. Wicked condensation in winter on ALL windows in the house that can pool and lead to mould if not kept up on. The carpet is just disgusting- the little living room carpet was made from two pieces!!!! The seam is very obvious. The pile is so flat and pulling up at the same time. The mortar in the bricks is like sand in some isolated areas. Caulking is already deteriortating and the house isn’t even 10 years old! The casement windows are a bitch to open and close and are already showing signs of falling apart. The spalling (spalling???) cement along the parimeter of the porch has all but crumbled away. I just had to replace the sump pump that comes on maybe 6 times a year. The yard landscaping is like a lumpy field of little hills.

All and all, I would never buy a Mattamy (or Devonleigh) or possibly other cooky cutter home from a large developer again. I really think basic workmanship is pissed away for speed. And it’s funny because this is the LARGEST purchase a person will make in their lives, and we have NO real way to get these mistakes corrected.

One person in our community had the wrong bricks and colour put up. Mattamy offered them something like 10000 in upgrades, but refused to let them out of the contract for the house, or correct the bricks. And really, that’s BS because of how much money we pay for homes. I give someone $350000, and I expect what I pay for.

But home consumers have zero rights in Canada.”

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December 14, 2012

Will Oakville’s building department do a proper inspection of “the Preserve”? Unlike mine.

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The construction inquiry in Quebec regarding corruption is starting to unravel information we all knew was happening but was shovelled under the proverbial carpet.  In the December 13th Toronto Star there is an article on how a Quebec construction developer, Gilles Filiatreault, left Quebec’s corruption for a new life in Alberta and found it wasn’t much different.  It is alleged that a town manager wanted a piece of the action to ensure all went smoothly.  Filiatreault refused and ended up bankrupt after trying to fight a plethora of red tape – supposedly orchestrated by the town manager.  It is presently being investigated and lawsuits are flying.

Are we surprised?  I think we would be naive to think this stuff only exists in mafia controlled areas or Quebec.   No, there are people who all want a piece of the pie and those willing to pay to ensure they get what they want.  It is how it is done that sometimes covers the real purpose up.  We know building inspectors have received cash to pass things.  How many have succumbed to bribery is anyone’s guess but, it does happen.  Some have been charged but one never knows if your house was given the quick pass over by an inspector in exchange for a few bucks.  Your loss – his gain.

What about political donations?  I assume they were designed to allow individuals to help out their political interests by giving some sort of support.  This support is supposedly limited to certain amounts.  I assume one would normally support those politicians they would like to see in office based on their election platform.  Some may donate to ensure support in their own private projects.  Who knows.

Like I said, you normally donate to a political party because you believe in the platform they are selling.  Normal people do not donate to get something from the politician – right?  In the last provincial election I saw something very interesting.  Mattamy Homes donated money to the Liberal party over the year.  I’m sure Dalton McGuinty appreciated the high level of support he received – maximum donation.  Once he declared the election, Mattamy Homes donated the maximum during the campaign.  Something one would expect from a good corporate citizen.  Funny thing though, Mattamy Homes also donated to the max to the Conservative Party, just before the election.  Not sure why they would donate to Tim Hudak as well.  I mean, like I said, normal people donate to the party they believe in.  How can you believe in two parties?  Or, did Mattamy Homes have a change of heart and went from Liberal to Conservative?  Just a thought.  Considering Bob Rae won a provincial for the NDP, I’m surprised they didn’t slip a few bucks that way as well.  Cover all the bases – Green Party anyone.  Interesting that McGuinty quit just as the Quebec scandal was breaking…hmmmm.

In the Toronto Star article, they discuss a potential “shakedown” by the town manager for consideration.  When I had my issue with Mattamy Homes, the Town of Oakville did send someone to investigate.  I asked about a copy of the report and the answer given led me to believe I’d never see it.  He was right.  Now, the report probably would show (he seemed the honest type) that the Town of Oakville screwed up and, if I was going to, was liable to a lawsuit.  The lawyer’s clammed up, Town of Oakville town council buried the report and they skillfully slid it to the province and oblivion.  One of the councillors shifted to the province in the next election but didn’t follow through on his recommendation that the province investigate.  Now, the funny thing is and, I’m not accusing the Town of Oakville or mayor of taking bribes, Mattamy Homes gave a donation to Wellspring, a charity supported by ex-mayor Ann Mulgrave.  Funny how the world works.  Since then Mattamy has donated money to the YMCA and the new hospital.  I am sure it is out of the goodness of his billionaire heart, not for future considerations.  But one wonders – just how good the building department will do inspections at “The Preserve”.  For the sake of those buying there, I hope the building department does its job – if not for the safety part, which they did not do on my house.

One recommendation to the Town of Oakville.  Why not hire Mike Holmes to do the inspection.  We believe his credibility.

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October 13, 2011

Donate large and they will listen. Right McGuinty and Hudak?

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Politics….. don’t you just love em.

A kind of necessary evil I’d say.  We need strong leaders to ensure that our communities grow in a positive manner – a lawful manner.  Some people get involved in politics because they truly believe they can make the community a better place to live and bring up our children.  Some have been proven to enjoy politics as it is a place to build their fortune on the backs of taxpayers.  Some, like the Mayor of Mississauga, have been accused and found to be guilty of bending the law a bit in a manner that most see as not proper.  Not necessarily illegal, but improper.

I’ve spoken on donations to the political cause in the past.  In the recent Ontario election, according to a National Post graphic published Oct 5th, 2011, the top three donating sectors were: Construction Industry (1.5m), Unions (884K),  Real Estate Developers (700K). (January to September)

I would think this kind of money gets a bigger voice than mom and pop donating their measly few dollars to what they think is a good cause.

Construction donation:     Conservatives almost 800K, Liberals 600.5K and the NDP 39K.

Unions: Conservatives 57K, Liberals 475K and the NDP, interestingly – 352K

Real Estate Developers: Conservatives 500K, Liberals 215K and NDP 28K

People are free to donate money to any party they wish but it is interesting how in the last municipal election, 43% of donations in the Greenbelt area  in 2010 came from developers even though some candidates elected to not accept these donations. From the report, this quote:

“Developer dominance of municipal political contributions is destroying irreplaceable farmland and natural areas” said Dan McDermott, Director of Sierra Club Ontario, a member group of the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance. “The result is more low density sprawl at the expense of human health, our quality of life and the democracy we cherish”.

The recent investigation into Mayor McCallion’s activities show just how slippery this slope can be.

As you know, I tried to get House Inspectors legislated into the house purchase – any honest builder would not mind a house inspector monitoring the build, nor should an overworked and honest building inspector department of a municipality.  But, it was stopped at the Town of Oakville council level and at the Provincial level.  Seems, too many interests who donate money would have been affected.

And, how much do these guys give.  In the big picture, each can only give a maximum of $9300 during the year – something the average taxpayer can’t match.  And, once an election is called, they can give more to the cause.

Take Mattamy Homes as an example.  Back last February they gave $9300 to the Liberal Party, with a further $7910 come the election.  The Conservatives only got $4800 up front.  But remember, the PC party under Hudak was getting good polls at the start.  They got a further $2450 at the close of yearly donations and a bonus $9300 for the election.  Mattamy I guess, was hedging its bets.  I am sure others did the same and you can compare developers at this link.  There is a caveat to these statistics.  They do not necessarily record all the donations given to a party as warned by those studying the issue.

Also, if you read my October 10th Blog titled: “a dangerous psychopathic personality who led the conspiracy”  Builders friends?” you will see the danger of not only big donations to political parties but also potential links to people with this kind of personality influencing our elected officials.  Some having links to the developer community.

And, some of our elected officials are very open in accepting these donations.  I’ve personally seen the result of donations and politics and the issue of the taxpayer getting the shaft.

In the grand scheme of things, we are small fish in the barrel and having people look after our interests in the building industry isn’t high  for those getting the donations from developers.

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* The above is intended to show the reader examples of how to obtain a house inspector, no matter which builder you buy from. Remember, awards and advertising are designed to make you buy, not ensure you quality. We’ve shown that awards are not the standard on which to base your decision on. My use of my experiences are not made to embarass Mattamy Homes or Peter Gilgan but, are used because they are based on fact and show the larger picture that a house inspector is a requirement when buying a house, new or old from any builder. My experience only shows that in fact it can happen and is a fact of life. Your experiences with Mattamy may have differed.

August 4, 2011

Big Boss Hog and the Provinicial election. Taxpayer loses?

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One can sometimes predict the future if the information flow is good prior to the event. We all know that the developers, well, at least Mattamy, are not too happy about the Development Charges (and Planning Act and Green Energy Act maybe) and, on a few occasions, they vented displeasure.

Halton was a classic example of “Big Boss Hog” coming to town and expressing his opinion at a council meeting, along with a horde of uninformed lackies who had a holiday from the job site.  Kind of like Burl Ives in “Big Country“.

Recently, BILD celebrated yes celebrated, the developers win in getting the somewhat suspect and APPOINTED OMB to lower the Development Charges that were put forward at the behest of the taxpayer by our elected officials.  So much for the DEMOCRACTIC process we are so proud of but can’t seem to make it work.

BILD is the organization that awarded Mattamy – “Home Builder of the Year”.  Somewhat of a surprise as J.D. Powers and Associates dumped Mattamy due to construction, quality and environmental deficiencies. We can see just where BILD and Mattamy stand in terms of the taxpayer and elected process.

Now, as our provincial election looms on the horizon, we are starting to hear all sorts of promised CRAP from our candidates and incumbant elected officials.  We the voter know, that most is just pie in the sky, meant to entrap the less knowledgeable of us voters into voting by our heart and not our brain.  Look at the promises thrown out in the last provincial election and what has really happened?  And, please, don’t kid yourself.  The NDP and the Conservatives would not have made good on their promises either.  There is always the excuse – we didn’t know just how bad the finances were.

But, there are election promises and there are ELECTION PROMISES.  There is the public version meant for the masses and then there are those promises made to the supporters – donations.

Fact of life.

What we should be viewing is how the donations are going.  Who is getting what.  (LINK)

At the moment: (I’ll use Mattamy as the example but a view of the list shows a plethora of developers, etc putting out big bucks)

Liberals:              $9300

Conservatives:   $4800

Green:                  $Zip

NDP:                     $Zip

Considering Peter Gilgan’s son is in the Federal Green Party, would have thought he’d throw some money that way but no.  But then, considering the environmental record of Mattamy, I can understand the Green party would probably throw it back.

With the NDP – Mattamy uses a lot of non-union labour.  Nuff said on that one.

At the moment Mattamy is pushing for the Liberal’s with the donations but, as we get closer to the finish, if the Conservatives look like they are going to win, I can see a shift in tactics and maybe a large sum of support going to the Conservatives.  Maybe too close to the finish for it to be recorded properly and viewed by the general VOTING public.  We all know how Mattamy support kind of spoiled a certain municipal election.

I must say that the Liberals haven’t totally destroyed Development Charges, nor the Planning Act or Green Energy Act.  The Hudak Conservatives have already shown a dislike of some of these more progressive statutes that seem to favour the taxpayer.  Big Boss Hog wants less on the development industry and more on the taxpayer.  I am sure his donations will speak for him and he will try and get a more favourable tax base for the developers.  Can’t blame him in one respect – business is business and, you don’t become a millionaire or billionaire worrying about the little folk.

Carnegie built libraries but he allowed a town to be flooded and thousands killed.  All comes down to optics.  How will the donation field look near the end of the campaigning?

We’ll see.

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* The above is intended to show the reader examples of how to obtain a house inspector, no matter which builder you buy from. Remember, awards and advertising are designed to make you buy, not ensure you quality. We’ve shown that awards are not the standard on which to base your decision on. My use of my experiences are not made to embarass Mattamy Homes or Peter Gilgan but, are used because they are based on fact and show the larger picture that a house inspector is a requirement when buying a house, new or old from any builder. My experience only shows that in fact it can happen and is a fact of life. Your experiences with Mattamy may have differed.