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B.C. strata owner ordered to pay $50 fine after paper found in glass recycling bin

B.C.'s Civil resolution Tribunal has upheld a $50 strata fine, concluding it was more than likely that a strata unit occupant put paper in a glass recycling bin.
Putting paper in a glass recycling bin can lead to strata council problems, a new civil resolution tribunal decision indicates.

B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal says a woman must pay a $50 fine for putting paper in the incorrect recycling bin at her strata complex.

On April 8, 2021, the Lower Mainland strata sent Cynthia Balayewich a letter, alleging a unit occupant had disposed of paper in the glass bin. The strata said its caretaker found the papers in the bin; a photo of the papers was emailed to the strata council a few days before, on April 6. 

Balayewich claimed the strata incorrectly fined her, saying neither she nor anyone else in her unit put the papers in the bin. In response, the strata said the papers had the names of Balayewich and her daughter on them.

Balayewich didn’t deny the papers had her and her daughter’s names on them. However, she said there was no evidence, such as an eyewitness or camera footage, proving that she or anyone from her unit put the papers in the bin.

In her April 19 decision, tribunal vice-chair Kate Campbell said eyewitness evidence was not needed to establish a strata bylaw breach.

“The photos in evidence show that the caretaker found documents, such as invoices with Ms. Balayewich’s and EB’s names on them, in the glass recycling bin,” Campbell said. “The photos also show that there was a large, clearly-written sign on the front of the bin stating, ‘GLASS ONLY.’”

Campbell said it was more likely than not that someone from the unit put the papers into the glass recycling bin.

Campbell said Balayewich penned a May 2, 2021 email to the strata saying the bins are kept unlocked, and “owners, visitors, and workers have access to move items from one bin to another.”

Balayewich further wrote that anyone can access the underground parking area where the bins are located because many owners do not watch the parking gate close, adding that council had reported in the past that non-owners were spotted in the garage, and an owner had their car broken into at some point.

“I find that these assertions that someone else put the papers with Ms. Balayewich’s and EB’s names on them in the glass recycling bin are speculative, and unsupported,” Campbell said. “There is no reasonable explanation for why an owner, visitor, or intruder would take time to do this. Therefore, I accept that the papers were placed by someone from [Balayewich’s unit].”