Presidents Message - Summer 2022
The below is the address provided by Dwayne Primeau, GMLLOA President at our Annual General Meeting held on July 18th, 2022.
Welcome and thank-you all for attending the 2022 Annual General Meeting of the Greater Molega Lake Lot Owners Association.
Please join me in welcoming our new members. We’re continuing to see development of lots, sale and purchase, and increased use of cottages during the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has brought many new members from near and afar, and combined with the availability of high speed internet services in our area, we have seen increased usage of cottages year round.
Today you’ll hear a financial report from our Treasurer Bruce MacInnis, and an update from our Road Chairman Harvey Banek. I will keep my update focused on a few key topics we’ve been focused on as a board; Region of Queens Billing, Winter Road Clearing, Dry Hydrants, and Airbnb’s.
Region of Queens Billing
Many municipalities such as Lunenburg County, and Halifax Regional Municipality, offer the opportunity for road ownership associations to engage them to levy annual road association dues as part of the annual property tax bill. In these arrangements, the road ownership association receives the dues from the region or municipality that are required to maintain services for members.
For as long as I have been involved with the board, this has been one of the goals we’ve been working towards with the Region of Queens Municipality, and I am happy to share the progress we are making towards that goal.
With the support of our Councillor Dave Brown, myself and Bruce met with the CAO and Director of Corporate Services with the Region of Queens in late June. The meeting was exceptionally productive. The region recognizes the necessity to provide this option to private road associations like the GMLLOA, and as the largest association in the area, we are in the unique position of helping them define the process, and bylaw under which they plan to offer this service.
Based on the framework we discussed in this June meeting, at the Queens Council meeting on July 12th, a motion was carried to proceed with drafting of the bylaw that will allow levying of road association fees. It is anticipated that the bylaw will be drafted and passed into law by the end of 2022. Following the creation of the bylaw, the board intends to adopt the support of Queens in assessing all dues and fees from members of the GMLLOA. We anticipate that for next year, we will still be proceeding with billing members directly, business as usual, and the November 2023 billing would be replaced with the inclusion of road fees in the June 2024 tax bill.
We believe this support from Queens will be very beneficial to our association, and all of us as property owners in this area. The efficiencies that will be gained will reduce our cost of administration, allowing us to put more money towards services for all members. For example, currently when a property changes hands, we are always playing catch up to maintain our records and ensure we’re billing the correct owner. In the new world, this will be automatically taken care of through the region's tax billing processes.
Despite the efforts of the board, we still have 15-20% of members who are not paying their dues and contributing to the services they are benefiting from. One of the most material benefits will be increased collection based on stronger recourse from the region of Queens. These increased dues collected will go directly to services for all members, increasing the quality of our infrastructure, and values of our properties.
For each of us, this will also make our lives a bit easier by only having one bill to pay each year. If anyone has their tax bill wrapped into their mortgage, this will be handed in the same manner.
We have long asked for more support and services from the Region of Queens for our tax dollars. I want to thank Councilor Dave Brown, and the CAO and staff of the region for the collaborative approach in working towards this mutually beneficial relationship.
Winter Road Clearing
As noted in my introduction, we’re seeing increases in the use of our roads year round. Over the past two winters, based on member requests, we’ve expanded our winter clearing considerably on the south shore, such that we’re now clearing the vast majority of the inhabited roads. On the north shore, we have never offered winter clearing service, however there is demand as a number of members are pooling resources to pay a contractor directly.
Based on these factors, we’ve decided to expand our winter clearing services universally to all roads, north and south, that have developed properties. This will ensure we’re providing equal and fair services to all members, will greatly simplify our rates and billing, will offer the opportunity for reduced insurance costs for members, and will ensure emergency service vehicles can reach our members 12 months a year.
It appears that funding dry hydrants has been the easiest part of the process. We’re still working with the fire departments on the north and south shores respectively towards this goal. We anticipate the north shore dry hydrant will be the first to be approved and installed. Stay tuned for further updates through our website and Facebook.
We have been receiving complaints about noise, disruption and disrespect towards neighbors from Airbnb guests. We will be sending a communication to members requesting that they document expectations of behaviour with their guests. The region of Queens has been having discussions on how to handle increased numbers of Airbnb’s. We will participate in that discussion and encourage everyone to communicate your concerns, questions or comments to the region.
Please join me in thanking outgoing board members Corey Smith, Al Hatt and Sterling Bollivar. Thank-you all for your contributions. In particular I want to recognize Corey Smith, our outgoing Vice President and North Shore road chairman. Corey has been a very valued member of our board and has invested a lot of time and effort into the improvement of roads, and governance of the association over the last 6 years. Thank-you Corey!
I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce and welcome Linda Brooks. Linda is a member of the association, is putting her name forward to join our board and has accepted a contract position as Accounts Manager to assist in the administration of the books, and communication with members on their accounts and collections. Welcome Linda!
I would also like to welcome and thank Barb Lawrie and Leslie Milliken from the south shore for putting their names forward to join our board of directors.
Please join me in thanking all board members for all they do.
Thank-you again for your participation today. Be safe and enjoy the summer!