Oakville Homes

January 10, 2014

Order of Canada – Now Peter Gilgan & ex-con Conrad Black have one.

I once had a very senior person of our organization attend a meeting and as he left, he let us know just how he felt about the future.  His statement, “The job is f#@ked” spread like wildfire and we then realized just how rough a road we were to drive.  You see, he was totally involved in the job and gave everything to making sure things happened.  I guess he realized, there were things out there beyond his control that limited his ability to further the occupation. With the recent Order of Canada awards and the indecision concerning Conrad Black, I can see why he said it.

I recently saw that Mattamy’s Peter Gilgan became a “Member of the Order of Canada“.  Now, he has given millions to various charities and had the appropriate photo-ops with the local politicians, thus furthering their careers.  He also had a very warm working relationship with former Oakville Mayor Ann Mulvale (United Way donation queen as well), which I have pointed out in the past.  A relationship that might have had some bearing on my case that was before Oakville town council.  She did push Peter for money during my case but, who knows,  hard to actually prove that she made a deal so, I’ll just point to the facts and let the reader read between the lines.

In the end, a very worthwhile organization, Wellspring, benefited.  Funny, but they didn’t thank me for the donation, which I think was probably made up of some of the shortcut money Gilgan saved by putting in illegal wiring to my house.  Sorry, he did not personally put it in – some employee of Mattamy or a sub-contractor actually did the deed but, it was Mattamy management that got it through with the building inspector.  As they say, the buck stops at the top – usually.  Oakville has done well ever since in the donation department.

So, if Peter Gilgan is getting his award for his donations, then it is well deserved.  It was given by a Governor General who can’t make a very easy decision regarding ex-con Conrad Black.  I mean, there are other cases that have been dealt with.  One lost his medal due to anti-semitic remarks and another for being a con.  I guess some get the royal boot while others seem to be able to hang on, no matter what they have done.

Truth hurts but is not libel.  Mattamy has tried to close me up with threatened law suits, bully boys and even meetings where supposed concern was expressed.  I did have one Mattamy management type approach me once and actually commended me for what I was doing – showing the truth.  He is a man I respect.  He had no power but, at least he understood honesty and good construction, unlike others in the organization.

So, the moral of the story.  As long as you keep donating the money and giving the politicians a photo-op, they will cover up illegal wiring and other things.  They don’t care that my children were put at risk.  The Town of Oakville covered their tracks – original report can’t be located and they have no interest in doing the honourable thing – maybe an apology for doing something wrong that could have harmed children.  They are hiding behind the skirts of their lawyers, along with Peter Gilgan.

Hope you enjoy the medal Peter.  If you ever go bankrupt, you will be shoved aside like moldy cheese by the same people giving you praise for your donations.  For those of us who have suffered the Mattamy lack of quality – we understand the truth and it certainly isn’t an Order of Canada.

Maybe a “Rotten Tomatoes” award.

P.S.  Don’t worry Peter, I won’t personally throw the award at you at your next appearance.  But then, I could wear a black shirt and pants and show up behind you for a photo-op.  Steven Harper didn’t seem overly unhappy about that technique.

September 10, 2012

Apology – do builders understand the concept? Do they Gilgan?

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Depending on your point of view, I guess the truth can vary as the perspective varies.  One man’s truth may be another’s lie.  But, in the legal world of libel and defamation, truth will be measured  but, based on economics, can be shown to be wrong.  That is one reason rich people get away with things more than the poor.  Look at Conrad Black – convicted but still trying to use words to get his guilt expunged.  Even wants to try his great oratory powers to retain his Order of Canada – a first if he gets a personal appearance.  He has the money whilst others don’t.

To ensure you have the best chance of protecting your investment, you need to follow a certain pattern of behaviour.  Even if not in your natural character.  Trusting soul – don’t be with some builders as you will be like a fish out of water.  Why do you think gypsy rip off artists do so well – they base their strategy on one’s trust or greed level.  Do you honestly think people drive around trying to give away jewelry?  Or, do you think builders give away upgrades for free?  Some who got the Mattamy “good treatment” found a survey on their doorstep.  Just like Cinderella, once it was done, the fairy tale life with Mattamy disappeared as well.  Complaints became lost in the Mattamy black hole of forgetfulness.  Not just Mattamy, but a lot of builders.

Found an interesting website called: “Simply Condos“.  He is a real estate broker who specializes in condos and investment in same.  Just for the record, I am not endorsing him but he brings up some very good points in terms of condo buying.  Points which are relevant if you are in the market.  Give it a look – some points relevant to other styles of homes (townhouse, single, etc)  He brings up one point though that is relevant when dealing with any builder – good or bad.  When buying a home, you must document everything and ensure all time limits are met in terms of submissions.  Don’t let a builder stall you with “I promise to get it done”, especially if that makes you go beyond the time limit for warranty work.  Tarion, which doesn’t have a good reputation, has deadlines – don’t follow the deadline, Tarion cuts you lose.  Remember, it is run by developers/builders and supporting industries.  Document in writing, photos and anything else relevant.  If needed, your lawyer will love you for it.  Might even cut down legal costs in the future – shorter case time.

Don’t believe me – just read my past posts.  Without documentation, I would not have been able to print stuff in my blog.

If you go to Simply Condos, Charles Hanes shows one reason you can have difficulty.  “More Developer and Tarion Complaints From Buyers

“Here’s an email that I received over night.  I blogged about some issues that I had with Edilcan in the past and wasn’t surprised to hear from their litigator threatening a frivolous law suit alleging liable.  Now, the best defense against a liable suit is the truth but these blood sucker law firms know that it’s very costly to defend yourself against their legal manipulations and more than the hard costs to defend, the time and energy is excessive!”
What the developers might not want is the DOCUMENTED truth coming out in a public court of law.  So, you want to ensure all documents are there and you stick with the truth.
Note to Mattamy lawyers:  If you feel there are any untruths in my blog, please contact me and we can discuss their possible removal and an apology.  I know Mattamy and Gilgan may not understand the word” A P O L O G Y” but I am sure you guys do.  Hmmm, maybe not based on what I have read about lawyers but I’ll take a chance.  Seems that in some circles an apology is admitting guilt and god help a person advised by a lawyer to do that.  Just isn’t natural in legal circles.  I know – I’ve seen them lie like a cheap rug.
So, in addition to a house inspector, remember to DOCUMENT everything.  In the long run, you won’t regret it.  Easier to spend a moment now than months of regret later.  And, if you watch Mike Holmes, you know there is a very strong possibility that things can deteriorate very quickly in a house that looked nice but underneath – ???.
P.S.  Probably based on their lawyer’s advice, even the Town of Oakville hasn’t apologized for their part in putting my children at risk.  Illegal wiring – Town of Oakville I guess sees nothing wrong with it.  Wonder what else they let happen in Oakville?

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March 27, 2012

Peter Gilgan – Thank you for helping my blog.

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It appears that the recent flurry of donation activity by Peter Gilgan and Mattamy Homes has brought attention to my blog.  Some even offering advertising income.  For the record, I don’t see my blog as a source of income but a method to inform people on some of the hazards of homebuying.  Mattamy is just a good example based on their past performance – all proven facts.

I’ve noticed some of the search terms people use to find my blog.  Some rather odd.  I notice a trend towards “Peter Gilgan Divorce“.  Seems a lot of people are interested in that but rest assured Peter, I’m not a scandal rag so, any dirty little divorce secrets will not be posted  on my page. I just hope you didn’t have a say in the construction of the rather beautiful home your ex-wife built-in east Oakville and that it will last longer than your mega estate (Edgemere) did.

Another search to my page got my attention.  It took me to MSN Real Estate and an article written by Marilyn Lewis titled: “Will your new home still be standing in 50 years?”  A good question since we seem to live in a land where product life longevity seems to be disappearing as we move along in our disposable lifestyles.  Just how long did you keep your cellphone or computer?  How long do some of you live in your rather expensive houses?  No where near the time your parents spent in their HOME.

Lewis’ article brings up some good points.  Paraphrasing, it seems that our forebears built homes with massive structures, built to last.

“An old home’s strength comes from its big timbers made of dense, old-growth wood. Built when fuel was cheap, old homes leak heat from windows, doors and cracks.”

“Most homes built today get their strength from engineering principles, not massive timbers. Built correctly, new homes are weather-tight systems of interrelated parts, each highly engineered to do a specialized job.”

And, therein lies the rub.

“Whether new homes perform as intended depends greatly on whether these highly specialized systems are assembled correctly. Each component has technical requirements that, if ignored, can void its warranty and sabotage the home’s quality.”

In my case, the component parts didn’t all come together in a way one would expect, considering the money spent on said house.  And, based on comments and complaints, it seems that builders, and this includes Gilgan’s Mattamy Homes, aren’t always on top of things.  Our houses are more complicated and therefore need better care in putting them together.  Using sub-standard trades or, demanding trades make shortcuts to increase profit (and opportunities for donation money) only makes your investment less sturdy and decreases just how long it will be livable.

Not concerned because your flipping the house or moving out once the kids get older?  Well, these shortcuts can cost you money right away, not 50 years down the road.  A weak structure can start costing you money from the get-go.  I know, my Mattamy cost me from day one.  Just little things like having to fill in the holes that would allow critters to invade.  My neighbours weren’t quick enough and they ended up with housemates.

In today’s Toronto Star – front page above the fold, there is an article titled: “Where did $56M go?”.  Basically, SNC-Lavalin’s CEO, Pierre Duhaime, has resigned over a scandal in that $56M went somewhere but he can’t say where, even though he authorized the payment.  Hell, I thought I had problems when I misplaced a $10 bill.  Now, one just has to read between the lines to understand the ethics going on here.

Kind of reminds me the ethics used when Mattamy illegally wired my furnace to allow the sale to go through and the Town of Oakville building inspector allowed it.  One wonders about all these donations to various causes (all good causes by the way) and the politicians who are getting their photo-ops with the “king of donations”.  Just what kind of inspection does one get when donating that kind of money?  In my case, it is proven what can happen during an inspection.

Exactly why one should be allowed to hire a house inspector to monitor your investment instead of depending on a municipalities building inspector.  Is there a conflict of interest when the municipality accepts large donations from a developer and the municipalities’ employees are doing inspections on said developer’s activities?

I ask the Town of Oakville – why did I not see the report made regarding the illegal wiring on my furnace?  I forgot, Wellspring got a donation after the mayor asked Mattamy to help out.  Oh well, politics.

And, one wonders just how embedded organized crime is with the developers.  We’re talking large money here and historically, organized crime is attracted to money ventures.  Remember Project 80? I’m sure Peter Pomeroy, ex-chair of Halton, remembers it and he is presently employed by Mattamy Homes.  He’s the one who stated that the bused in workers didn’t have a clue why they were sitting in Halton council chambers as a protest. Guys taken off the work sites to show solidarity against Development Charges.

Are they in bed with you Mattamy?  Just asking.  Maybe your lawyers could account for some activity recently, unless they have the memory of Duhaime.

And, just for the record, Peter Gilgan’s lawyers have been notified they are also guilty of defamation with a third-party – according to the facts taken from their website.

Again, thank you Peter for your generosity.  Hopefully it will help those in need, unfortunately may get you a better break in development charges/inspections and, it certainly drives readers to my blog.  I guess we all win Peter.

P.S.  Is it true Peter Gilgan is working on the Order of Canada?  Maybe Conrad Black knows – seems he is keeping his.

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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.

March 2, 2012

Prices go up in GTA – down elsewhere and does quality suffer? Does it Mattamy?

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For those living in the GTA, you are probably immune to the price shock of what it costs to buy a house in the area or have just given up trying to figure out why we pay so much here.  For those building homes, it can be a great selling point – brand new house with no problems for the same or less money than some place needing a reno.

Wonder just how bad our prices are?  I recently read an article in the Toronto Star about FML Listings.  They are a couple who have suffered the trials and tribulations of buying in the GTA.  Urban vs Surburban.  They find it so ridiculous that they started this website and compare our prices with those about North America.  Want to know just how bad the prices are here, visit their website.

Here are two examples:

1:  http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=11608659&PidKey=-1125967177  (2 bedroom 2 bathroom in Willowdale east with a stove for $1.5million) compared to http://www.trulia.com/property/202240-23200-W-Paloma-Blanca-Dr-Malibu-CA-90265 ( 4 bedroom 3 bathroom with a pool and a mountain and ocean view for…….. over $3000 less)

2: http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=11560329&PidKey=1983095532  3 bedroom bungalow in North York for just $200K less than Whitney Houston’s palatial palace in New Jersey.

These are just two examples of how bad our GTA market is.  If you’re selling, a speculator or, a builder, life is good.  If you are a buyer, suck it up princess and fork out the money and if it is a new house, roll the dice on whether or not the builder put in what should have been put in.

For the resales, just watch Mike Holmes’ show to see what can happen if you don’t hire a responsible and professional house inspector.

With prices this high, I can see problems with speculators in that they have a lot of money tied up and hopefully for a short period of time.  Time not spent fixing up a property to what it should be.  Time is cash and cash spent on things not seen is money saved.

Some builders of new houses look for shortcut savings.  In my case, they got a sale on a house without electricity hooked up, an illegally wired furnace and a bay window without insulation.  I had to deal with all those and I can tell you, this house is up to snuff now, no thanks to Mr. Gilgan and Mattamy.  So, if you are buying a house from a speculator (some were the builder’s own sales people) make sure you hire a house inspector to look it over.  Where the builder did shortcuts, I doubt the speculator did a fix.  Most speculators probably feel a good coat of paint hides all ills.

I noticed an article in the Toronto Star about Mr. Gilgan and all his accomplishments – mostly donations to charity.  Nothing about his donations to Hudak or McGuinty.  Of the 27 who got the Order of Ontario, one four line paragraph listed their generic accomplishments.  Mr. “Donation Boy” Gilgan got 25 lines (over half the article) to list his accomplishments.  I guess the other 26 were just there for filler purposes.  I forgot, he got an additional 7 lines at the beginning to open up the article.  David Onley, Lt.Gov of Ontario got a whole 3 and a bit for himself.  Even the title and picture were all pure Gilgan.   Hey, Toronto Star, I think other people do good stuff – you didn’t even name the other 26 in this article.  Talk about chump change.

Maybe Gilgan is running for the Order of Canada.  You know, the one convicted felon Conrad Black is still holding onto while other felons lost theirs. Kind of shows the quality of some people getting these awards.

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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.

Hard to get a properly built home when the owner is focusing his time and efforts on getting press time.

November 30, 2011

Another donation – another building naming. Ho hum for Peter.

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Ryerson University has scored big time.  Got Peter Gilgan to donate $15 million towards the athletic centre being constructed in the old Maple Leaf Gardens.  Naturally, it will be called: The Peter Gilgan Athletic Centre.  Good news for those who will be using the centre and for Ryerson University and Peter gets some more good press to counter the bad press he and Mattamy Homes has acquired over the years due to shoddy building practices and shortcuts.  I guess when you donate big, one gets away with big.  Remember the illegal wiring Peter – yes, the wiring that put my children at risk.  I am sure they will appreciate your donation to Ryerson knowing you scored some money with that little shortcut – money that may have made it into the donation coffers.

If I thought Peter was Catholic, I’d think he was paying some penance for his sins in the building trade.  Building on human waste, damaging the environment (Ottawa) etc.  Most just say 10 Hail Marys.

I know there are a lot of people out there who donate to the cause but most don’t demand every donation get their name on a building.  Is this an ego thing?  An insecure person needing their name emblazoned everywhere for everyone to see and admire?  Who knows.

Anyways, on behalf of the Ryerson people, I’d like to thank you Peter for your generosity.  Maybe it will get you World Entrepreneur of the Year or the Order of Canada (along with Conrad Black) but I know one thing – you made some of the donation money on the backs of people who got screwed buying a Mattamy Home.  Some were even put at physical risk. (Lawyer alert – all documented)

My donations are small and not newsworthy but, I can say the money came by me honestly and without screwing someone or putting children at risk.

Can you say the same?

We wonder why homebuyers can’t get the full protection they need.  When you are going against people who can donate large, how can you get legislation passed to protect you, especially against those who can afford to strip job sites and bus workers to harass your elected official.  Shows you just how bad builders don’t want house inspectors on your side.  They’ll spend money to stop it instead of spend money to ensure quality is built in.

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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.

April 3, 2011

BILD Awards – losing their credibility

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Awards.

They are given to individuals and organizations that have accomplished a level of respect for their activities.  No one is perfect and maybe we don’t always agree with those getting an award. 

Like convicted criminal Conrad Black who still has the Order of Canada. 

In the housing industry, the J.D. Power and Associates Awards have been very well-respected and many homeowners have pointed to various winners as part of their selection process.  But, then some even told how they received gifts? and upgrades? prior to submitting their survey results, thus making the awards presented somewhat suspect.  One award winner over the years has been Mattamy Homes.  Consistently winning Customer Satisfaction awards from J.D. Power even though the proof was out there that not all customers were happy.  A significant number actually.  Like a whole subdivision of blown away homebuyers in Kanta Fairwinds.

Lately J.D. Power has taken their awards elsewhere and are trying to rebuild the image of said award.  I was not surprised though, but disappointed, to note that BILD (Building Industry and Land Association) still seems to push the Mattamy name, even after the convictions in Ottawa, the flooding development and basements in Bracebridge and other issues.  For 2011, they have accepted nominations for “Home Builder of the Year” with Mattamy included.

The list includes: Great Gulf Homes, Mattamy Homes, Monarch Corporation, Rosehaven Homes and Tridel.  All good names but, not with the reputation that Mattamy has in terms of convictions and quality.  One wonders how these awards are evaluated and given.  Given, based on customers experiences or, the spreading of awards to the good old boys.

I guess to sweeten the pot for the award, the Oakville Beaver showcased Mattamy as the cover story of their weekend New Homes section.  Siobhan Evans did a feel good article on Mattamy.  All praise and no depth.  Basically just a Mattamy ad. 

One comment stood out.

“……. Mattamy’s complete attention to detail and ability to provide a satisfying experience to each and every homebuyer”.

Well, there is a statement way out in left field.  I think Evans should have done a little more research before taking that one to the printer.

Or, she could have just listened to a number homebuyers, unlucky to have the Mattamy experience.

Such as this one:

DO NOT BUY FROM MATTAMY! I understand that this homebuilder once had excellent customer satisfaction ratings – but that was years ago. This homebuilder will “court” you throughout the build process but once you’ve closed, the honeymoon is over! They will refuse to take responsibility for any issues within the home and will purposely stall in hopes that you will just go away. I’ve never before experienced working with a provider of any service where they put the BLAME on the customer! If you have any question, just ask a homeowner in the Summers Walk subdivision… you will be enlightened.
  
And, this comment isn’t a one of.  Anyone who looks at the awards should also look at the internet and the complaints.  The internet allows people to show the reality of homebuying, not the make-believe world of advertising and self-aggrandizement of the award system. 
 
Sorry BILD, but you just lost me as someone who would take your awards as a sign of quality. 
 
Talk to J.D. Power and Associates and see how they got burned by Mattamy.

 

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