How inner-city condo owners can cope with the social ills of drug addiction
Dear Maria; Help! Our Condo is situated in the inner-city neighbourhood of Mission, and we’re constantly finding needles, clothing or someone camping in the back carport. What options do we have and can we call someone?
Our New Concept Management team has experience in dealing with these situations, which can become quite dangerous. Drug addiction is a social ill that has no easy answers, and sometimes, especially those of us living in urban areas, have to deal with its consequences.
Many of our clients have reported problems that include drug use in their back alley, campers in the back carport, and often finding needles, clothing and shopping carts laying in the back corner of the lot.
Normal precautionary measures like beefing up security around the condominium building and adding extra bright lights to try and persuade these activities can work – but not all the time. Here’s what else you can do.
A great resource for dealing with such eventualities is the Calgary Alpha House Society. It was established in 1981 as a committed response to a marginalized population of men and women who are addicted to alcohol or other drugs and living vulnerable on the streets of Calgary. Alpha House currently runs four programs: Shelter, Outreach (DOAP/Encampment), Detox, and Housing. They also have a needle response team.
If you find a needle and you’re comfortable picking it up, you can do so by following these steps.
- You will require gloves, tongs or pliers, and a puncture proof container (pharmacy supplied “sharps” container, bleach or laundry detergent bottle)
- Put on the latex, rubber or leather gloves. Use tongs or pliers to carefully pick up the needle with the tip pointed away from you. The tongs or other tools can be disinfected after use and remain part of a clean-up kit.
- Make sure the puncture proof container (pharmacy supplied “sharps” container, bleach or laundry detergent bottle) is on a stable surface (do not hold it while putting the needle inside) and put the needle, tip down, into the container and tape the lid tightly closed (with duct tape, if you have it). Use a marker to label the container “Needles”.
- Puncture proof containers can be disposed of in one of the following ways:
- Drop off at local pharmacy (confirm your pharmacy accepts needles)
- Sheldon M. Chumir Centre – Supervised Consumption Services (1213 4 St SW)
- Put in your garbage bin
As a condominium owner, if you spot a needle on the property you can call or text Needle Response Team at 403-796-5334. They operate Monday to Friday from 8am-6pm. The NRT is trained to properly dispose of needles. When calling or texting, be sure to give them as much information as you can to assist them including; the exact address, location, number of needles.
Another thing you might notice as the weather continues to warm up is an assortment of “rough sleepers” – this is a term used to describe individuals who are camping or sleeping outdoors in public areas.
Alpha House’s Encampment Team are a mobile response unit that connects with individuals who are “camping” or “sleeping rough” outside, with the goal of helping individuals secure housing, visit the doctor, get to a shelter, or anything else they might need. If you notice a camp, we encourage you to call the Encampment Team at 403-234-7388.
Dear Maria; I am being asked to consider a post in my condo board, and I’m curious about how a condo board maintains a good relationship with the condo manager?
A: I heard this great saying that I believe holds true: “the critical relationship between the Board and Manger can turn water into wine when it works, but can then turn it back to sour milk when it doesn’t.” How true is that? I believe every manager and board member has experienced this exact statement.
This is a good follow-up conversation to have after last month’s column discussing a Code of Ethics to help boards resolve disputes.
I always say that the best Boards to work with are those who truly believe in making communication a priority. These boards know that openness; forgiveness, ethics and transparency make for great governance and a strong relationship between the two. I can truly and with absolute honesty say that New Concept Management Inc. has some of the best boards in the Condominium Community.
But, lets face it; no condo board or management company is perfect. You have different views and personalities to contend with. Conflicts will arise from time to time. How you handle the situation makes a world of difference.
It also holds true, that most if not all condo boards are volunteers and have minimal experience in this area and they are tasked
with managing a substantial asset. So having that valuable input from the manager is essential.
Here are two essential steps that I believe a Board and Manager can use to build on a healthy business relationship. DEFINE THE ROLES BETWEEN THE BOARD AND THE MANAGER:
• This step is typically overlooked, but an essential one in my opinion. I know I’m not perfect and have dropped the ball a time or two in this area. If you’re seasoned or new to
the Board it is essential to understand the distinction between the role of the board and the manager.
• The Role of the Board is to make decisions about the control, management and administration of the condominium corporation and the enforcement of the Bylaws and generally provides leadership to its condo community.
• It is important that Directors be active and involved when they serve on the Board., and must be willing to devote the necessary time to oversee the corporation.
• They must be willing to learn and acquire the knowledge needed to effectively carry out their duties.
• The Condominium Management Company, like New Concept Management Inc., is an independent organization hired through its board of directors to carry out the day-to-day operation of a condominium corporation.
• Communication is a critical and important step to the success of the working relationship between the Board of Directors, Manager and the Owners.
• It is also very important to establish a liaison that can communicate the needs of the board to the manager. Taking direction from different members on the board can prove to be difficult. Keep it simple and have communications come from one source.
• Don’t go long periods of time without meeting or checking in with each. Set regular times to meet as a board along with the manager to carry out the business of the condo corporation.
• Part of communication is also feedback to your condo manager or board members. If a problem arises address it immediately in a professional and impartial manner, and don’t forget to give positive feedback to your condo manager.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes a lot of hard work and effort to work together as a team to manage the
condo corporation. So, you don’t have to be
from Mars or Venus to work together.