Oakville Homes

November 13, 2013

Want to write a complaint against Mattamy or any other builder. Follow Roseman’s advice.

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I read a very informative column in the November 13th Toronto Star Business Section (B2) written by Ellen Roseman, a writer on personal finance and consumer issues.  I have copied it below as it is a very good article if you wish to lodge a complaint in public against a contractor, builder, developer or any business.  A lot of businesses want you to put POSITIVE reviews on various websites, some to the point of throwing extras at you (which can make any review somewhat suspect).  Some builders have been accused of winning awards by stacking the deck with freebies, good service, etc and have received good reviews.  Some people have written they regret giving these positive surveys as the good service and freebies disappeared once the survey was in.

These surveys are a two-way street and so are the websites builders want you to go to and put in a good word.  It also allows those of us shafted to speak the truth.  Some builders will use bully boy tactics and lawyers to go after those who speak the truth.  They don’t bother those who lie and put in wrong reviews that make them look good.

I myself have experienced the bully boy and lawyer treatment.  I had one Mattamy Homes lawyer yell at me in a truly unprofessional manner.  If I had done that at work, several agencies would have cut me a new one.

We all have the right of freedom of speech but it does come with some responsibilities.  In my case, I’ve spoken the truth and I am sure Mattamy Homes really doesn’t want the whole thing brought out into public – thus the gag order.  I am limited.  If you wish to put forward your displeasure, there are various avenues in which you can exercise your right.  A recent article in the Toronto Star notes that NDP MPP Rosario Marchese (  rmarchese-co@ndp.on.ca ) is trying to introduce a new bill that will correct some of the unfairness some experience with Tarion.  He states that “Ontarians deserve and need meaningful consumer protection on the largest purchase most of them ever make – a new home”.  Hopefully he will get the support he needs.  Why not email him and let him know the taxpayer in Ontario supports him.  I only wish they would pass legislation that would allow new homebuyers to hire a professional house inspector to monitor the construction and protect their interests.  The present system does not really give us the protection we need.

Below is Roseman’s column.  She gives good advice.  Just tell the truth.

Note:  Any Mattamy lawyer who feels I have not stated the truth, let me know and I will consider any complaint from you.  Just don’t use the Bully Boys again – they might upset the neighbours.  Also, for the record, I am not NDP and therefore not pushing or supporting Marchese for re-election but, I have to give him KUDOS for doing something our Liberal and Conservatives (who get money from the developers) have not done.

Nasty online reviews can lead to lawsuits: Roseman

If a company gives bad service, you might write an online review telling others to stay away. Make sure your comments are factual.

By:        On Your Side,        Published on Tue Nov 12 2013
You hire a contractor after seeing good reviews online. But when the work doesn’t measure up, you write a review warning others to stay away.

Be careful what you post. Bad reviews can result in retaliation.

If the company you target for criticism thinks you went too far, it may respond by posting nasty comments about you. It may call your home to harass you. And it may threaten to sue for libel or defamation.

I recently heard from a Toronto couple, who got into an online war of words with a contractor that escalated into the equivalent of a nuclear meltdown. The dispute was about a $400 repair job.

“We paid what we thought was a fair price and we got very poor service,” said the 2,000-word review they posted at several websites, giving the firm a rating of half a star (out of five stars).

The contractor responded by calling the review a toxic and aggressive rant, which served no purpose other than to cause damage, and saying it would litigate if the review were not removed.

The threat worked. The couple cut the review to 30 words, saying they had an unpleasant experience, felt intimidated at times and didn’t plan to use the company’s services again.

That wasn’t enough to satisfy the contractor, who posted another comment next to the revised review, saying the clients had mental health issues and wanted to get the job for free.

The online war turned into a phone war. Company representatives called and left several voicemail messages, saying they would come to their home with lawyers and the whole police division.

“I am scared and feel at my breaking point,” says the wife, who considered taking down the revised review, but decided not to give in to threats.

“This is a pretty extreme case,” says Monica Goyal, a lawyer who deals with HomeStars, a website where customers can leave reviews about companies (and where the couple’s original review was posted).

Her firm is working with HomeStars to help ordinary people understand the difference between a negative review and a defamatory review.

“A high quality negative review is one that informs other members of the community about your experience with a business,” says Goyal’s firm, Aluvion Law.

“A review that is defamatory exists mainly to express how angry or upset the reviewer feels and to damage the reputation of the business.”

The lawyers say consider five things before writing an online review:

  • Wait before you write.

Emotions run high after a bad experience. Let your mind clear and your anger abate before posting comments. Otherwise, you might say something you regret later.

  • Watch your words.

What you write online can be seen by anyone. And if you contradict yourself, writing one thing online and then denying it, this can be used against you in a court action.

  • Be honest and fair.

Don’t use malicious or hurtful statements against someone else (such as liar, crook, thief or fraudster). Don’t write anything that you can’t prove in court.

  • It’s about you, not them.

Focus on what happened, using your own perspective, and don’t use your experience to make generalizations about the company. “I was not happy with the service” is better than “they are known for ripping off their customers.”

  • Stick to the facts.

Provide concrete details that are hard to dispute: “The crew was supposed to start at 8 am, but didn’t show up until after 2 pm.” Quote specific promises that the company did not fulfill, such as cleaning up the dirt left behind at your property.

Corporate bullying does exist, says HomeStars president Brian Sharwood. He wants his content team to start flagging companies that systematically harass clients who post bad reviews.

So, here’s a warning to those who think a negative review is a substitute for going to court over a small dispute.

Make sure to write a review that is factual and fair. Angry online comments can lead to litigation, an outcome that you had hoped to avoid.

Ellen Roseman writes about personal finance and consumer issues. You can reach her at eroseman@thestar.ca or www.ellenroseman.com

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July 8, 2013

Tale of Two Tarions – or “Sins of Mattamy not available”

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Depending on what you read and who you listen to, Tarion is either the best thing since sliced bread or, a builder dominated coverup for poor construction.  Something a builder like Mattamy likes to have around.  An agency that “sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil.  If you read the July 5 Toronto Sun column by Tarion President and CEO Howard Bogach you have a kind and gentle understanding quasi-government agency that is hear to listen to your complaints and act on those complaints.  Looking after your best interests.  Improving all the time.  A warm fuzzy feeling.

If you have read my blog for a few years, you will have seen a different picture.  Comments to my blog brought this issue up.  A builder dominated ( 8 out of 15 directors) agency that really only looks after a few people.  Now, the Toronto Star has decided it was worth a story or two.  The recent two-part articles by Kenyon Wallace in the Toronto Star (July 6 & July 8)  outlines the issues that people face with Tarion.  One is only having a 3 year database for this 36-year-old agency that records any builder deficiencies.  Take Mattamy for instance – please.  They have not really built anything in Oakville for a few years and are now just starting up “The Preserve”.  Any issues with their last developments in Oakville would not be accessible to a potential homebuyer.  It seems that only blogs like mine keep a more permanent record of builder transactions.  Maybe why Mattamy tried to sue me and close me down.  Bully boys didn’t work so they tried their mouthpieces.  Wonder if they tell Tarion not to record anything past 3 years?  Who keeps a 3 year limit on records accessible to the public?  Someone hiding something?

Mattamy sub-floor quality

Mattamy sub-floor quality

I recently tried to get a report from the Town of Oakville – a report I know exists as I helped to prepare it.  Unfortunately, according to the Town of Oakville, it is nowhere to be found.  Kind of like the recent power station emails deleted by the Ontario Liberals.  Hmmmm, Oakville is a Liberal town provincially.

Tarion does not fall under government regulation.  We don’t know how much their people are paid (unlike others in the Sunshine Club) and the Ontario Ombudsman has no jurisdiction, although he has tried to get this agency under his umbrella in order to assist taxpayers shafted by the agency.

I suggest you read the Toronto Star article prior to buying a home.  It is enlightening and will forewarn you of potential issues you will face if there is a builder problem.

From my own experiences (with Town of Oakville and Mattamy), comments by others in my blog and newspaper articles such as Wallace’s you should realize that there are very few avenues that really protect you.  Ultimately you must be prepared to go to court to actually get satisfaction (and even there courts can be swayed against you – Boris Spremo anyone) and if you go that route, you must be prepared.

Don’t hire a cut-rate real estate lawyer.  Make sure the lawyer knows their stuff.  And, hire a professional house inspector with good references and qualifications.  You’ll note that one person in the article was inspected by an unqualified inspector from Tarion who went against them.  As they say in the article, this will be your biggest purchase in life probably and you have a right to protect your interests.  The big boys do it all the time in commercial builds.  You can too, with minimal costs.  No more than some upgrades you love to have.

What is more important, an upgrade or piece of mind and safety for your family.  I unfortunately took the ceramic floor instead of the house inspector and received the royal shaft from Mattamy.  My lawyer didn’t really get interested as it was closing day and he had already done the closing.  So, don’t trust the cutsey ads, nor the sweet talking salesperson.  Both are out to strip you of your money.

Make sure you get full value from that stripping.

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June 16, 2013

Some like it hot and illegal while others go the extra mile to protect your family. Ads versus reality in Mattamy land.

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Mattamy Homes seems to feel that large two page spread ads in the Saturday Toronto Star are what will attract buyers.  Cutsey ads that say it like it should be, not necessarily how it will be.  They don’t mention quality (may be held accountable) but give you titles like “Prestigious Living is Coming Soon to Aurora”.  One would assume they mean Mattamy, not some other builder.  They talk about “parks where neighbours can gather and enjoy the surroundings” and, “walking/biking trails for families to enjoy“.  Like it is their idea and plans that give you all this.

They don’t mention that they are required by law to “reserve land as part of a subdivision approval.”  They can of course arrange a cash payment in lieu.  In Alberta, this can be up to 10 percent of the land that must be put aside for the community use.  As well in Alberta, “Reserve land and land for road requirements are taken without compensation. The Subdivision Authority may require land for roads and public utilities up to a maximum of 30 percent of the area of the parcel of land less the area taken as environmental reserve or environmental reserve easement.”

Mattamy Protester knows the score

Mattamy Protester knows the score

Land like ravines, etc become trails, etc for the community.  So, Mattamy isn’t doing this from the goodness of their hearts.  They do this because they have to in order to build their sub-divisions.  Oakville has a by-law that has been instrumental in the development of the lakefront pathway.  Started by ex-mayor Harry Barrett, this by-law requires that if any large estate along the waterfront is sold to a developer and they wish to increase density, they are required to give the land along the lake to the Town of Oakville.  When Peter Gilgan sold his mansion “Edgemere” for development, they all found out even his donations couldn’t stop that process.  Now, to sweeten the planning pot, developers might foot the bill for some of the landscaping etc in these lands but, in the long run, you the taxpayer will fork out for improvements, maintenance etc.  So, we don’t get a free ride.

Now, we all know the illegal stuff Mattamy has done in the past (and in the future??) and they try to show how good of a builder they are by making it seem they are responsible for the walkways/pathways, ravine nature areas etc.  So sorry Gilgan but, I would suggest it was planners and some of the more enlightened councilors in Oakville who have made the area what it is.  Of course, I stand to be corrected if Aurora needed your somewhat suspect help.  Remember Aurora – there is a cost to every gift.  Just ask Milton.

The 2006 Ontario Building Code was amended on June 18, 2008 (O.Reg. 205/08) to include for the requirement to sprinkler residential buildings higher than 3 storeys.  I only wish they would also include the right for homeowners to hire a house inspector for new builds but, at least this is a move in the right direction.

What does Mattamy do?  Follows the Building Code to the letter – to the minimum.  Some have had that thrown at you when you mention something.  Hey, it’s to code.  I asked why my garage door didn’t have an automatic closure.  Theft was the answer and they’d have left it at that until I mentioned it was illegal.  This I knew – the illegal wiring, well it had a Town of Oakville seal of approval.

There is a builder who has looked beyond the MINIMUM and instead of wasting money on ads telling you about parks, which even this builder must put into place, Townwood Homes is the first builder to install, as STANDARD equipment, sprinkler systems into their newest sub-division at Mackenzie Ridge Terraces, Vaughan.  They weren’t forced to by some town by-law nor did they fight to only do minimum code.  They recognized the dangers of fire in residential homes (81 lives lost in 2006) and went the extra step.  Mattamy – they do illegal wiring instead.  Probably would tell you to piss off on the fire.

Mattamy’s true colours came out when they trucked in a lot of workers from various job sites (was your home late in being constructed) to argue that the Development Charges were too high.  These are the charges that pay for the infrastructure costs that developers create with their developments.  Otherwise, the existing taxpayer would be paying for new sewers in open fields while builders like Gilgan became billionaires.  Yes, I forgot, he did get to be a $1.8 billion builder.  Oakville and Burlington got stung big time having to pay for the Milton pipeline that lined a few builder’s pockets.  We’re still paying for Milton water.

So, when you read the ads, compare a builder who talks the talk while some actually walk the walk.  What is more important to you?  A safe house with legal wiring and sprinklers to protect your family or, a shallow lifestyle promised in the Toronto Star?

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May 27, 2013

Have you been shafted by Mattamy or another builder? Welcome to the club.

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This posting is # 593.  My blog first started so that I could inform potential buyers of homes of some of the issues they might have.  I use Mattamy as an example as I can give personal knowledge of the issues I have had.  I also use Mattamy as I can show the facts and counter the bullshit advertising one reads in the newspapers regarding builders.  Interesting how few, if any, negative articles are done about Mattamy Homes, especially in the Toronto Star.  They won’t tell the truth or issues about one of their biggest advertisers but have no issues spending months trying to show the world the mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford smokes crack.  To be honest, I don’t give a rats ass about Rob Ford but I do have issues when builders are allowed to put children’s lives at risk.  Mattamy puts in illegal wiring that bordered on criminal negligence and the Town of Oakville brushes it off.  Just like the Toronto Star, Oakville depends on the largesse of Mattamy and its owner, Peter Gilgan.  Hard to get town hall to implement measures to protect the taxpayer when it relies on mega donations from Gilgan.  I’ve seen movies about this kind of relationship – and I thought it was fiction.

But, Mattamy isn’t the only bad boy out there.  There are more examples, some of which I have printed here in my blog but, it seems that warranty outfits like Tarion and municipal governments fail to really address the problem.  My one recommendation of allowing the potential homebuyer to hire a house inspector to monitor the build of their house has been stomped on by the Town of Oakville and the Ontario government.  Why?  The Town of Oakville stated it can’t (but it is bullshit as they could implement under their responsibilities of ensuring the build is to code) and, Ontario stated it would cost the homebuyer money.  Duh!!!.. So do upgrades and both would be optional.

Interesting sidebar is that Kevin Flynn was a member of the Town of Oakville council when my idea was drummed out-of-town and passed on to the province.  He was shortly thereafter elected to the provincial level and, as an MPP, failed to do anything at that level when I passed it on to him.  He did not push for it to happen, even though he had passed it to the province for action.  He is the same MPP that kept his seat in Oakville when the Liberals cancelled the power plant at a cost of $310million in order to win the election.  They don’t worry about the cost to the taxpayer in order to save their seats but, when asked to pass a regulation to protect homebuyers, they balk as it MIGHT cost the homebuyer money.  And, we elect these people to look after us.

I think some people have the idea I am the only one Peter Gilgan has screwed to the wall.  Sorry to say, I’m not.  Oh, there are those who get the flowers and those who say nothing so they can resale their Mattamy Home and not be liable due to a non-disclosure of issues.  Speculators don’t want anything said as they are in for a quick kill and don’t really care that the family who buys the home might end up with issues.

Well, here are some comments I received.  The truth is out there and some people don’t mind sharing it.  Food for thought and maybe hiring a house inspector to monitor the build might be a good strategic strategy.  Otherwise, welcome to the club.  You will find that politicians and developers work very well together.  Sometimes though, we wonder just who benefits.  Donation anyone?

Politicians and Developers Wor$ together.

Politicians and Developers Wor$ together.

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3.I guess I will add to your list of total dissatisfaction with my own tale of woe. We purchased a Mattamy Home in Bracebridge in May of 2010. We have had numerous calls to what they deem to be Customer Service. The basement leaks, we can’t use the expensice shower upgrade in the master bedroom and we again need a window replaced. I would never again entertain a thought of buying a Mattamy Home. A first year trade student could do a better job and a grade student would probably have better communication integratey.

Comment by Jennifer – April 2013 — April 29, 2013 @ 1:51 pm | Edit This  | Reply 

2.7 1/2 years later I have a leak in my roof and Mattamy basically told me to go F$$$ myself. Tarion is part of the problem as well. How do you get better warranty with a car then a house. I had a roofer go up on my roof and was told I had a leak from day one because the guy mattamy sent up cut through one of the shingles. My shingles have been shrinking as well so I have gaps everywhere, so plywood is expose. I thought shingles had a warranty as well, oh thats only if they are crumbling apart. I recommend anyone who buys a house of Mattamy think twice because the obviously do not care about their customers.

Comment by J — May 14, 2013 @ 8:32 am | Edit This  | Reply 

25.We live in Ontario Canada…..our Mattamy home sucks the big one. Both Mattamy homes we had. First one our roof leaked right through to our basement took 4 months of them ripping out flashing and not resolving the issue until I found a contractor who told me what the issue was…no flashing…DUH… Our second home…wow from 3 months in shingles falling off and 5 years  After still falling off…sorry not covered due to the act of god wind storms…BS shitty shingles. Had to have a roofer up there to replace them and since then haven’t come off and our vents were not installed properly allwing moisture to accumulate.  Spent a ton of money to get our spare washroom snaked because they were dropping grout and cement down it and caused damage to pipes…sorry you should of told tarion…we did they gave us the run around oh these are energy efficient toilets they don’t flush as much as others…so ur telling me my PiSS ways a ton and I’m SOL of it..nice.

And now our windows have condensation building up between the panes of glass that’s causing black mold…I’m still waiting to hear what they will say, but I will be out of $$$ on this one too I suspect.

DO NoT BUY…they’re all nice for the first .30 days until they badger you to give them 100% on their customer service survey….do not fill it out until they fix your problems. And even then tarion doesn’t do shit cause their BFFs with the builders…bunch of BS so pissed

Comment by Mars — April 20, 2013 @ 9:55 pm | Edit This  | Reply 

26.I have looked at Mattamy homes in Airdrie and talked with a few owners in the neighbourhood.  Apparently after the home sale is complete any construction defects and enquiries are ignored by the company.

Comment by Anonymous — May 9, 2013 @ 4:55 pm | Edit This  | Reply 

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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May 15, 2013

Mattamy/Gilgan rule: Bullshit PR Toronto Star 2 page spreads, along with donations, will beat “word of mouth” TRUTH.

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A reputable businessperson understands the value of a positive reputation if they want to attract customers.  Others, use different methods to get people to buy.  Some will undercut the competition because consumers always like a bargain.  We don’t always consider the fact that cheap means CHEAP – cutbacks, paybacks, screw you and F*** off sometimes.  Some businesspeople understand that “word of mouth” is a very important method for gaining other customers.  We trust our friends and when they recommend someone, we tend to go there instead of somewhere else.  But then, some friends have been buffaloed and like sheep, we follow their advice and get the shaft.  Some people are ashamed to admit they got duped and will continue the fraud to save face, thus allowing less than desirable businesspeople to flourish.

Some develop a cult attitude, with line-ups etc that will draw in the unknowing.  Add the cheap prices and voila, another sucker is born.  Some will use a large PR budget to spread the gospel (like the 2 page Toronto Star Saturday edition Mattamy ads – only builder to use this I believe)  A good builder shouldn’t have to do that to attract a following, unless “word of mouth” spreads a different picture.

Back in the day it was hard to spread the word – usually just close friends got the message.  Now, with Social Media, you can tell the world.  Something companies are understanding and setting up their own social media links.  I notice Mattamy is a little shy on the Twitter – afraid the truth will come out more?  Truth staves off the lawyers – they hate it like garlic.

My blog allows those of us who have received the “Mattamy Shaft” to express ourselves.  I pride myself that I have stuck to the truth.  I’ve been threatened with law suits and bully boys but, they know that there is little they can do in terms of the “truth”.  Even the Town of Oakville is trying to stop the truth coming out with their lack of response to my requests.  Do I need to request an audience at Town Council – the right of every taxpayer?

Here are some of the truths, as experienced by some of my readers.  Shows I’m not the only one who has been shafted.  Only some get the flowers and extras and that’s due to the survey maybe.  Truthful surveys rarely get the flowers.

7 1/2 years later I have a leak in my roof and Mattamy basically told me to go F$$$ myself.  Tarion is part of the problem as well.  How do you get better warranty with a car then a house.  I had a roofer go up on my roof and was told I had a leak from day one because the guy mattamy sent up cut through one of the shingles.  My shingles have been shrinking as well so I have gaps everywhere, so plywood is expose.  I thought shingles had a warranty as well, oh thats only if they are crumbling apart.  I recommend anyone who buys a house of Mattamy think twice because the obviously do not care about their customers.

Comment by J — May 14, 2013 @ 8:32 am  | Edit This | Reply

I guess I will add to your list of total dissatisfaction with my own tale of woe. We purchased a Mattamy Home in Bracebridge in May of 2010. We  have had numerous calls to what they deem to be Customer Service. The basement leaks, we can’t use the expensice shower upgrade in the master bedroom and we again need a window replaced. I would never again entertain a thought of buying a Mattamy Home. A first year trade student could do a better job and a grade student would probably have better communication integratey.

Comment by Jennifer – April 2013 — April 29, 2013 @ 1:51 pm  | Edit This | Reply

I’ve got more scattered over the blog but I think you get the picture.  Not all Mattamy owners got the promise given in the 2 page Toronto Star spread paid for by Mattamy.  If you buy in Oakville – like The Preserve”, don’t expect the Town of Oakville building inspector to be your friend.  According to my last letter from them, they will only inspect if they are called.  Now, for Mattamy to call is a legislated requirement but, Mattamy has a history of not following all legislated requirements.  Illegal wiring, building on human waste and illegal berm building, just to name a few.  We have a history of illegal construction practices (did I mention the illegal burning) and the Town of Oakville has a history of not doing things or, if demanding building code changes, not checking to make sure it was done properly. (all can be proven, so hold your horses legal beagles)  The Town of Oakville building department won’t even tell us how they will do the inspections – their plan in case Mattamy doesn’t call.

So please, if you learn anything from my blog, make sure you have a PROFESSIONAL REAL ESTATE LAWYER AND A PROFESSIONAL HOUSE INSPECTOR on your team and ,DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT.

It is all that will stand between you and the potential Mattamy shaft, backed up by the donation rich Town of Oakville.  And, this advice is for all builders actually.  They are out to make money, not necessarily lose money to give you a place they might have underpriced to begin with.  (Remember: Cheap isn’t quality, just quantity)

Think I am wrong?  Just ask yourself – why is the Town of Oakville afraid to pass a by-law giving the homebuyer the RIGHT to hire a professional house inspector to monitor the build of your house.  Every commercial build has a right to self-monitor.

P.S. Observation.  Mattamy hires their own lawyers, using the money they get from the sales of homes – your money.  When you ask for something from the Town of Oakville, they use their lawyers – paid for by your taxes, to stop you, a taxpayer,  from progressing.  Seems no matter what, it is YOUR money they use to shaft you.  Not a bad system.

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April 28, 2013

Brian Burke does the lawsuit route. Mattamy knows – truth comes out.

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When you do a blog, or even comment on a blog, there is a certain social responsibility that most normal people would have no issues with.  Blogs have allowed the “common” person to get their message out and we have certain freedoms of speech accorded to us.  Oh, some try to stop us through threats, screaming, bully boys and even threatened lawsuits but, the powers that be are usually in support of those who wish to publicly write their thoughts.

The “Responsibility”?  You really need to stick with the truth.  Recently, as reported in the Toronto Star former Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke has decided to ferret out those who may be abusing this responsibility.  Seems that some have written about a rumour that Brian Burke was fired from his job for getting broadcaster Hazel Mae pregnant and “that he was the father of her child”.  I make no comment on that tidbit of gossip.

But, I totally agree with him going after those spreading these supposed lies if in fact they are lies. I myself was a victim of being called a liar in a case involving the Toronto Star and I wish I had stepped up to the plate and gone after them and the judge.  Considering I would have had a Prime Minister back me up would have strengthened my case.  But, that is under the water now.  But, if the lies are actually true, can Brian Burke stifle the truth through threats of the lawsuit?  Some have tried that.  How often do you hear about homeowners bringing out the truth about their home’s lack of quality construction, only to be threatened with a lawsuit by the powerful builder and everything disappears.  We don’t even know if the faults are actually repaired or , has the threat of a lawsuit silenced the homeowner.

I have had people contribute to my blog, along with other forums and they have asked that certain information be removed as they were “threatened” by the builder.  I comply with these requests from the homeowner only to protect them.

Myself, Mattamy Homes has threatened me with lawsuits, even to the point of serving me papers.  Unfortunately, their own lawyer was possibly guilty of defamation, according to their own website.  But, if they want to do this, they will eventually have to prove your statements are false.

That is why you “DOCUMENT” everything you do with your builder.  Photographs, documents and names are important.  With this backing you up, let them take you to court.  You are not speaking with a “forked tongue” but have the evidence to back up the “truth”.  Lawyers hate the truth – hurts their case when they sue you.  Almost like throwing a bucket of water on the old wicked witch when you bring out the documentation backing up your side of the story.

Mattamy Homes, Peter Gilgan and the Town of Oakville have allowed me to continue this blog because?

It is the TRUTH.

And, they know it.  I have been trying to get a document from the Town of Oakville with little success.  Why?  Either it has been lost or, it proves my story.  The Oakville lawyers would hate to see that one out.  Why?  It proves I was right and we all know, lawyers don’t like to see that (unless you are in fact paying them).  We shall see if the Town of Oakville has the balls to step up and say yes -“we were wrong”.  I’m already on record stating I would not sue – unlike your Mattamy friends who keep up the donations.

By the way Peter – about time you g0t another photo-op with a donation.  I can give you some suggestions that would help the community if you want.

So, good luck to Brian Burke and if the slander is not right, then you should win.  As we know, sometimes we are lucky and the truth does come out.  In my case, it seems that Mattamy and the Town of Oakville really don’t care about homeowners being shafted and, continue in their ways.  Good luck to those who bought in “The Preserve”.  Remember, your safety and welfare depends on building inspectors from the Town of Oakville who, in the past, will pass illegally wired furnaces, etc.

Maybe you should rethink hiring a house inspector to protect your safety.  Part of the “DOCUMENTATION” safety net.

P.S. One point to remember – Tarion may require your municipality to declare work done under a work permit illegal or not up to code or, being the issue that caused the problem. But, if it was the municipality which OK’s the original work under the permit, what are the odds they will do that?  They will protect their butt and leave you to the wolves.

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April 2, 2013

Town of Oakville – why are you frightened of passing a bylaw to protect homeowners? Might lose the donations from Mattamy????

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Monday, April 1st.

Never know when you might get an April Fools Day joke thrown at you.  Social media, friends, large companies and the media all share in the day and try to show some ingenuity in making you laugh at your own expense.  One headline screamed: “McCallion faces conflict of interest heat again.” in the April 1st edition of the Toronto Star.  It was no joke.  Hurricane Hazel was back at it again.  I think they will have to change her non de plume to “Teflon McCallion”.

Seems she has more excuses than Carter has Little Liver Pills and, she has added the usual – “her actions were inadvertent” in her response to the charges.  Much like the Town of Oakville’s action in my case I guess.  Letting Mattamy Homes sell a house without electricity and illegal wiring.  I wonder if the donation to former mayor Anne Mulvale’s “Wellspring” project were “inadvertent”?

Think you won’t have problems with a house.  I mean, you have your lawyer, the builder’s reputation and, the omnipresent building inspector from the municipality?  You know, the guy who gives you a hard time when you want to build a deck out back.  Deck bad – illegal wiring good.  And, you know the union will guarantee the quality of labour for their workers.  Yeah, right.  They only argue for more money so the union bosses can make more.  If your builder hires non-union like Mattamy, then who knows the quality of these guys.  I know some are dedicated professionals who do good work but, they have to work with the unlearned and non-caring as well as the occasional unwashed.  Only the builder can truly control the quality, if they so desire.

A Winnipeg family had the luxury of two, count em, two builders screw up their custom house.  What went wrong?  For the full story go to this link but a few of the issues were as follows:

This from Beach Rocke Engineering Ltd.

Rock report

As well, it was stated they had the following issues, which is not the complete list:

“The couple said they were being billed for added electrical circuits, beyond what was called for in the original plans.

A few months later, the Schadeks found water several feet deep in the crawl space below the basement floor.

The Schadeks hired an engineer to examine the problem. He found damage to joists from excessive moisture and discovered the vapour barrier in the basement wasn’t sealed.

The engineer also cited violations of the National Building Code unrelated to the water problem.”

If you read the article, you will note they have little government protection.  Obviously municipal inspectors don’t always cut it.  And, the insurance program was screwed up.

I have been trying to get the original report done by a Town of Oakville employee (Building Department) on my issue and all I get are copies of the “waste of skin” council reports, of which I have had copies for years.  I’ve sent 3 letters explaining what I want.

Maybe if I used some “Idle No More” tactics I might have better luck.  Camp out at town hall?  Block their access to the local Timmies?  Stop the donation trucks?

Also asked for a report on how the building department was going to handle inspections at the new Mattamy “The Preserve” sub-division.  So far, I got a quote from the Ontario Building Code, which I already knew.  Funny thing.  According to this regulation, the town building department won’t inspect any of the new homes unless Mattamy notifies them things are ready.  Now, it says “shall” but we all know that Mattamy has failed in the past regarding “SHALL”.

They shall not begin construction on land fertilized with human waste (Milton), they shall not do terra-forming without permit (Ottawa) and they shall not sell a house with illegal wiring (Oakville).  Seems they don’t understand the word “SHALL”.  Except I understand Mr. Gilgan uses the word “SHALL”  in reference to using any tactic to build on his $1.8 BILLION net worth.  Some of which is probably due to shortcuts that made him money and might have had some bearing on the quality of your home.  At least I can prove it in my case. (for the Gilgan lawyer trust)

So, based on this past experience, and lots more, I would think the Town of Oakville building department would be a little more pro-active in ensuring the rights and safety of homeowners was protected.  I mean, they do pay the taxes.  Mattamy only gives donations to the Town and gives politicians photo-ops.  What is more important – safety or photo-ops?  Seems I have already answered that question.  Anyways, Mr. Tutert at the Town of Oakville building department will shortly be getting another letter asking him to expand on his strategy to protect the citizens of Oakville from bad building practices.  If he only waits to be notified, he might be waiting a long time.  Show some initiative and make sure the Building Code is followed.  The Building Code doesn’t really cut it, according to Mike Holmes, but it is all we have.  So, when you don’t enforce the bare minimum, god only knows how bad the house really is.

You see, your elected representatives won’t pass a by-law to protect you by ensuring you have the right to hire a house inspector to monitor the building of your new home.  I mean, we’ve already proven the town can’t do a perfect job.  Maybe they could tell me why they won’t do it.  They state the “Building Code” is not legislated by them.  Yes, we all know that.  But, look at the small print guys.

THE MUNICIPALITY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ENFORCING THE BUILDING CODE.

Got the picture.

Pass a by-law that allows homeowners to hire a house inspector to monitor the build and ensure the building code is followed.  Have the by-law state that the building inspector must report all infractions to the homeowner and, THE MUNICIPAL BUILDING INSPECTOR (for follow-0up).  This will increase the “eyes on the street” (kind of like CPTED – Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) and make the Municipality more effective in enforcing the Building Code, which they are responsible for.

Hey!!!!  It’s a win/win/win for the Building department, homeowners and, HONEST, QUALITY BUILDERS everywhere.  Only a corrupt and poor builder would argue against it.  Right Mattamy?  Matter of fact Mr. Gilgan, why not tell your political flunkies to pass the by-law because Mattamy is a quality builder who wants the homeowner to receive the best protection they can have.  According to your PR, you build quality – sorry, I forgot, you now advertise lifestyle not quality.  Anyways, anyone would make all those donations for a good cause can’t really be against this by-law and, considering you are the big guy in the home building market, your word would have sway.  Unless you are using that “sway” to stop it.  Hmmmmmm.  What’s up Gilgan, except your $1.8 Billion lifestyle?

So, why are they so reluctant to let a homeowner protect themselves?

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January 27, 2013

Mattamy report on illegal wiring buried by Town of Oakville. The town with the donations.

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If anything, the recent court appearances by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford showed one thing.  It can cost one hell of a lot of money to fight city hall. A recent Toronto Star article quotes $300k if you get stuck with losing and having to pay for both sides.  Not chump change for sure.

As you know, Mattamy Homes, Peter Gilgan and their mouthpieces have threatened to take me to court on defamation charges,  a charge I pointed out they too are guilty of.  This is the type of tactic a builder will use in order to have their failures repressed.  No one is perfect but, honest people fess up and fix the problem.  Then there are those that hide behind politicians – politicians who receive donations from them.  You see, donations are perfectly legal, even if they can lead to favours.  But, try to prove some type of conflict of interest.

Others have tried the court route.

“Without securing funding from supporters in the community, Elias Hazineh says he would never have launched his suit against Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion. “As it stands now, unless you have deep pockets, you can see corruption happening in front of you and be able to do nothing about it,” he said.

Lots of people may think about taking a stand, but “once you hit the road block of financing, you realize you can’t do it on your own.”

But who should look after these conflicts?

My guess is that my phone isn’t going to be ringing for while with people wanting to bring conflict of interest applications,” said Stephen D’Agostino, a municipal conflict of interest law expert with Thomson Rogers. “But I don’t mind because I think it should be handled by the Ontario government.”

Only an individual can bring a politician to court on a conflict of interest and the potential for financial ruin is great. 

Trying to have the government do it is impossible as well. Remember who gets all the donations from developers.  McGuinty and Hudak were high on the list.  In my case, I did not go the route of a “conflict of interest” but tried to use my experience to have the Town of Oakville pass a simple bylaw that would allow a potential homebuyer to hire a house inspector to monitor the building of their new house;  thus protecting themselves from shoddy and illegal workmanship.  A privilege enjoyed by commercial builders – they have architects, engineers and site managers to keep an eye on their construction.

The Town of Oakville even did an investigation into my case regarding the illegal wiring of my house, which put my children at risk and,allowed the subsequent sale of the house even though it would not have been allowed by the town, according to their building director.  What happened to this report?  You’d have to ask former mayor Anne Mulvale.  She seemed to have her finger on all aspects of my case – attended sub-committee meetings and led the charge at town council.  The report was never given to me.  Why is that?  It was about me so, should I not have been given a copy?

No, it was hidden and my recommendation passed up to the provincial government.  Funny thing is, a councillor who passed this, was subsequently elected to the provincial parliament and did nothing concerning this recommendation, which he voted on.  So much for taking responsibility.

It would be hard to prove a conflict of interest regarding my case.  I can only state the facts.

1: A Town of Oakville building inspector passed an illegally wired furnace, which allowed Mattamy to sell the house.  A report was made concerning my incident and passed on to the mayor.  I did not see the report.  Was it fair, honest, relevant, illustrative, blaming, etc?

2: My recommendation was not followed through and passed into provincial oblivion. No real reason except they thought it was provincial.  Sorry to say but enforcing the building code is municipal and therefore this would be one tool to ensure the structure was built to code.  Obviously the town inspector cannot do this.

3: Mayor Ann Mulvale spearheaded an effort to have Mattamy donate money, etc to Wellspring – a personal project of hers.

4: Matttmy did in fact contribute to Wellspring.

5: Mattamy continues to contribute to the United Way – a personal project of former mayor Ann Mulvale.

6: Oh, I forgot.  Mattamy was a very generous donator to Ann Mulvale’s election.  Want to see the picture?

All facts (for the lawyers) and I leave the reader to draw their own conclusions.

I ask the Town of Oakville – why are you afraid of passing the recommendation?  You pass all sorts of recommendations that affect the lives of Oakville’s citizens.  Why not pass one that protects the lives of Oakville’s citizens? You stopped smoking didn’t you?  Why not a tool to allow homeowners to prevent shoddy workmanship and unsafe construction practices?

Just what is your policy in terms of inspecting the new Mattamy subdivision – The Preserve?  Do you intend to inspect all houses at all levels of construction?  If you don’t, then I would suggest that people will get shafted just like I did.  You know – taxpayers and voters.  The people who should be protected – not BILLIONAIRES………

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December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas all and Happy Holidays – Even you Mattamy.

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Although, I’m not sure if Mattamy and Peter Gilgan will get a gift or, a lump of coal based on their past performance.  They have been naughty we know.

“Things are getting worse, not better, in the quest to bring you the truth, writes Kevin Donovan.”  So he states in a recent Toronto Star article titled: “Canada’s great wall of secrecy”.  He recalls writing a story regarding corruption and he was able to put forth enough evidence in the article that it helped fuel a police investigation that culminated in three councillors and a developer being charged with “widespread bribery, favours and influence peddling”.  He laments the “freedom of information” laws that now restrict that type of investigation.  I am sure there are some builders out there that are happy.  Even Santa would find it difficult now to find out if they are naughty or nice.  Unless he just went by the donations.

When Mattamy put my children’s lives at risk there was a government report done.  A report that never saw the light of day.  It seems that Mattamy was able to hide behind the mayor’s skirt and the report never came out at the subsequent council meetings.  At least not in public.  Although the subsequent donation  by Mattamy to Wellspring was well publicized.  Maybe that earned Gilgan a visit from Santa Claus.

An article in the StarTribune speaks of a new Mattamy project in Medina, a city in Hennepin County, Minnesota, United States.  Seems that the city’s Planning Commission did not agree with the Mattamy proposal and was against the recommendation, whose chairman called it “boring” and said it “smacks of Plymouth.”  But, city council has approved the plans.  Hmmmm, I wonder if they get political donations from Mattamy.  Just asking.

And, Mattamy is living up to its Cambridge fame of “damn the wetlands, full construction ahead”.

“Although Mattamy did not propose any townhomes, it modified the project to meet some of the other planning commission concerns about traffic flow and open space. It proposed to build a 6-foot berm between the subdivision and the commercially designated land. To accommodate other objections about filling in a small wetland and cutting down too many trees in a corner of the property, Mattamy will donate about 3 acres and $150,000 to build a new park between its two subdivisions.”

Like Cambridge, they are going to destroy a wetland and, like Kanata, they are going to wipe out a bunch of trees.  So much for Mother Nature.  I wonder if she is a close friend of Santa Claus.  Maybe get Gilgan a lump of coal for doing the nasty to her.  Didn’t someone quit Mattamy over the anti-nature outlook of Mattamy’s streamrolling of the landscape?

Town council, elected to look after the citizens of their community votes yes, while the professional planning staff are told to stuff it.  So much for intelligent planning.  Interesting to look at donations in that town.  Oh yes, Mattamy is donating  3 acres and $150K for some parks.  Up here in Canada, developers are obligated to give that kind of stuff plus development fees.  I wonder if Medina is getting any development fees out of Mattamy or, will the taxpayer have to pay the freight?

Anyways Mattamy, nice to see things haven’t changed.  I’d have nothing to write about.  🙂   I guess being a billionaire (partly built on shortcuts and putting children’s lives at risk) doesn’t worry you – you can buy all the presents you want to put under your tree.

Sorry, I forgot, you cut them all down.

 

P.S.  By the way Peter, Merry Christmas (just in case – Happy Holidays) and, lets hope 2013 brings less issues and more cheer to those who buy homes based on faith of the system and reputations.  Remember – professional work will put Mike Holmes out of business.  Yeah, right.

And, for the Mattamy lawyers – bah humbug.  And, if you see anything you don’t like or is not true, you have my number.  Just call me and we’ll discuss whether changes are warranted or just bully boy strutting. ( well, Happy Holidays to you and yours – maybe a break from the Mattamy bully boys?)

 

 

 

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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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