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Condominium Profile: The Pinnacle III
What a Caring Community Can Achieve
By James Russell | Other articles by James Russell
"The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members."
– CORETTA SCOTT KING
Like the boards, management, staff, and residents of all Canadian condominiums, and indeed, condominiums throughout the world, 2020 was a challenging year. Yet, it was also a year that reinforced the importance of compassion and teamwork. Pinnacle III is an outstanding example of what a caring community can achieve.
Located at 330 Mill Street South in Brampton, near the intersection of Mill St and Grand Circuit Court, Pinnacle III rises twelve floors and contains onehundred and forty-one , one and two bedroom suites, each with an ensuite laundry. The building's amenities include: Two gyms, billiards, indoor pool, separate women's and men's saunas, hobby room, library, party room, and an outdoor car wash.
Suites facing east, overlook Etobicoke Creek or Wadoopikaang Creek, "where the alders grow" as it was originally named by the Mississauga, a subtribe of the Anishinaabe. The creek, which courses through flourishing ravines for much of its journey, stretches sixty-one kilometres beginning south of the Oak Ridges Moraine and exiting into Lake Ontario at Marie Curtis Park.
Although Pinnacle III wasn't officially completed until 1989, Mary Steed moved in to her unit, one of the first completed, in September 1988. "I bought my unit from blueprints I saw in the sales trailer." Mary was attracted to the building because she had friends who lived in Pinnacle III's sister buildings, Pinnacle I and II. "And because I wanted to live maintenance-free," a luxury her house couldn't provide.
The Workplace Violence, Harassment and Discrimination Policy is just one of the corporation's official documents loaded onto a flash drive which is then given to each Board member for reference and ease of access
"We have a great Social Committee," says Mary. The credit for starting that Social Committee goes to the board's secretary and long-time resident Debra Arscott, "When we started the Social Committee in 2015 there was just the two of us," and sparse funding. Although the corporation now designates a small portion of the budget for the Social Committee, "We're almost entirely selfsufficient," says Debra. Event fees, bake sales revenue and money generated by raffles cover everything from seasonal decorations, glasses, plates and even the purchase of Pinnacle IIIs BBQ.
Pinnacle III's incredible number of social events include: Summer Soirees, Ice Cream Parties, Sweetheart Socials, Afternoon Teas, Bake Sales, Easter Socials (with Easter Egg Hunts for the kids). December Holiday Socials, St. Patrick's Day Soup and Sandwich Luncheons, Fall Food Drives, Mother's Day Teas, Community BBQs, Pasta Nights, Halloween Pizza Nights, and Trick or Treating for the kids living in Pinnacle III as well as the neighbourhood buildings.
Early last year, the Social Committee organised a free Coffee and Donut event, held outdoors and in accordance with physical distancing guidelines. At Easter, one resident cooked dinner for any residents who were unable to be with family over the holidays. The dinners were delivered to the resident's doors. In December, the Social Committee held a 'virtual' Poinsettia Basket Draw that awarded a lucky resident a real, non-digital poinsettia. Residents donate generously to the Social Committee's yearly Food Drive to benefit Brampton's Regeneration, an organisation whose mission it is to "Break the cycle of poverty in Brampton."
In addition to the Social Committee, Pinnacle III's active residents also serve on a Decorating Committee, Gardening Committee, Renovation Committee, a fledgling Library Committee and their Hallway Refurbishment Committee, which has teamed up with a designer to give the buildings' corridors and lobby a fresh makeover. Part of that design process involved 'Reveals' where two different colour, texture and design options were presented to the residents. Easels displaying the various options were set up in the Party Room and residents were invited, on a floor by floor basis, to view the designs and vote on their preferences. A member of the Hallway Refurbishment Committee was present to monitor the flow of residents and collect any voiced comments. The Board's President, Dan Keveza, expects the refurbishment to take an estimated five years – from planning to implementation.
Pinnacle III's Board meets monthly, although their in-person meetings have been replaced by SKYPE get-togethers. The board is made up of Dan Keveza, President; Debra Arscott, Secretary; Helen Senzen, Treasurer, and directors Darrel Johncox and John Belford. Assisting the Board is Property Manager Chris Poland as well as a live-in superintendent and contracted security, landscaping and cleaning staff.
Every member of the board is required to sign the corporation's Director's Code of Ethics as "we have a responsibility and higher accountability," says Dan. The Workplace Violence, Harassment and Discrimination Policy is just one of the corporation's official documents loaded onto a flash drive which is then given to each Board member for reference and ease of access.
Recent board-initiated Information Meetings for residents were held to discuss their Pipe Relining Project and a Reserve Fund Study. The relining project allowed the building to avoid replacing the copper, domestic water risers, which were beginning to corrode. Although a recent Engineering Report dictated a large Reserve Fund outlay, through good fiscal management, the Board was able to avoid burdening owners with a lump-sum special assessment.
The Board and management's main communication vehicles are newsletters, hardcopy update flyers - available in five locations throughout the building - and electronic screens installed last November in each of their two elevators. To encourage feedback and suggestions from residents and staff the Board and management positioned a suggestion box in the main lobby.
Recounting the early stages of the pandemic, Dan says, "Some other buildings went to the extreme of not allowing any visitors, which we looked at. We were made to understand that none of the Covid restrictions were enforceable at a condo level and we heard negative feedback from our residents, so we decided this option was not suitable for our building." Nor was an in-person AGM practical, "Our 2020 AGM was postponed due to Covid. When restrictions were loosened we tried to schedule one but we were unable to find a facility that could accommodate our numbers. Some of our owners have no computers or limited computer skills so we were hoping for an in-person AGM. We have now scheduled both 2020 and 2021 AGM'S in April. These will be conducted at the same time via video unless restrictions change."
Although Pinnacle III successfully collects and disposes of recyclable material, surprisingly, the Regional Municipality of Peel, with a population of more than 1.5 million and encompassing 1.2 million kilometres, does not have an organic collection program, so Pinnacle III's residents must mix wet waste with their garbage. Pinnacle III was part of the Peel's pilot program for collecting batteries and electronics but the pilot was suspended last year.
In addition to Pinnacle III's current corridor refurbishment project, the corporation has recently completed:
- Retrofitting the parking garage and building exteriors with LED lighting
- The installation of new heating loop booster pumps with VFDs (variable frequency drives)
- The installation of new MUAUs (Make-Up Air Units)
The spectacle of the MUAUs being hoisted onto the roof by a huge crane provided the neighbourhood with a bit of excitement and plentiful photo opportunities. Upcoming projects include roof and garage repairs.
"Right from the beginning of Covid, we have tried to mirror the Region's protocols," says President Dan Keveza of last year's pandemic. The Board closed all common element amenities and although a few were opened with capacity limitations they were closed again when Peel Region returned to a lockdown. Elevator usage was restricted to two persons at a time unless the passengers were from the same suite. Maskwearing in the common elements was made mandatory to comply with health directives.
"Our cleaners and superintendent were instructed to sanitize high touch areas on a regular basis. Hand sanitizer was placed at our concierge desk as well as in the amenities rooms when open. We even have one resident, who has taken it upon himself to sanitize all the railings on a regular basis," says Dan.
When asked how residents responded to the nearly year-long restrictions, Dan replied, "Feedback was mostly positive and we only had a handful of incidents where people refused to comply. I thought this was very remarkable for ten months of restrictions. Most residents self police themselves and others."
Consistent with Pinnacle III resident's commitment to caring for their neighbours and the wider community, many of the residents pointed lights out their windows in the worldwide 'Shining a Light' campaign to thank frontline healthcare workers.
Dan is confident that the commitment and spirit that the Board, management, staff and residents of Pinnacle III displayed during the dark days of 2020 will get them through any challenges that lay ahead, after all, as Dan says, "We are one big community."