Battle over front desk lands owners, property managers in court 

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In the meantime, however, Humphries granted Powder an injunction that allows the company to remain at the front desk until the lease matter is resolved, either by a 75 per cent majority vote or through the courts.

She felt this would offer the least disruption to owners and protect the Radisson franchise which Powder said was under threat if it was removed from the front desk.

Under the Strata Act, at least 75 per cent of a quorum needs to vote in favour of one company to man their common front desk. In a divided building like The Aspens, that is unlikely and it looks like Powder, which represents only about 70 owners, will remain front desk manager by the grace of the injunction until the case is tried.

In the meantime, the strata council proposed offering licences to both Aspens on Blackcomb and Powder to jointly operate the front desk on the condition that both companies agree to check in guests for all the other rental management companies in the building at no charge.

Powder, however, argued such an arrangement would be contrary to the existing court order and it said it would lose its Radisson franchise under those circumstances..

The franchise has, however, since been dissolved and Powder has removed the phone system from suites it does not represent.

Powder has also ceased providing the free-check in it promised to guests of Aspens on Blackcomb.

The strata council sought to overturn the injunction and have the case dismissed in February this year, based on some of these changes. However, last month B.C. Supreme Court justice Frank Cole ruled that the changes have not seriously affected order at The Aspens and dismissed the application.

O’Neill said he has now received notice that the strata council will again seek to throw out the injunction. "They are spending huge amounts of legal fees … unfortunately we believe the damages continue."

O’Neill said two weeks ago he offered to negotiate a settlement with owners. "They rejected our offer so we are proceeding ahead," he said.

"From our perspective, a third of the owners are very happy. They have superior management through our company. We have got good revenues and we are stable and running the desk and trying, under difficult circumstances, to give good service to our owners," noted O’Neill.

"Another third of the owners feel disenfranchised. They are the customers of Aspens on Blackcomb. The strata has been providing them space in cubby holes and meeting rooms and various other places to do their job," said O’Neill. "The other third are not with either of us. You have a strata council that doesn’t represent all the owners. It is such a complicated issue and I believe a great many owners have just tuned out."

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