Neighbours

So, I’ve been fighting with my Strata for months now.  Maybe even years, I can’t tell, it seems like it’s been going on forever.

Here’s the back story.  When Soph was still in her stroller, it was a Spring day, and I took her out back into our building’s courtyard, to play in the grass, enjoy the sunshine, and have a little snack or two.  When we were done, I found that we were locked in the courtyard.  We couldn’t get back into the building, there was neither a key, nor a fob, or anything.  The only way to get out of the courtyard was to go down 11 concrete stairs which lead to a busy street, and then we would have to go around the corner and back to the front door again.

We were stuck.    I wasn’t about to drag the stroller down those steps – not safe.  Luckily, there was an older lady who noticed us from her backyard, and let us back into the building.  I mentioned that I thought it was strange that there was no way for residents to get back into the building, and she brushed it off, saying it was a security issue.  Huh?  How is it a security issue if they put a keyfob on a door out back?  It’s the same way you get into the front door.

Anyways, my other encounter with this courtyard came when Oliver was over playing with Sophie.  I propped open the door with a rock so we could get back into the building.  Sophie and Oliver were running around, playing, chasing each other, the usual toddler stuff.  They Sophie takes off towards the door, while Oliver stays in the courtyard.  I grab Oliver and take off after Sophie, to find her now in the building, smiling at me.  Had she somehow kicked the rock out of that door, she would be locked in the hallway, and Oliver and I would be locked in the courtyard.  I would have had to grab Oliver, run down those steep concrete steps, around the corner and back in the building, run into the hallway where Sophie would have been and grabbed her, which would take minutes, but would be long enough for her to a) completely freak out because she’s alone in a hallway, b) fall down the steps that are in the hallway, c) run into someone in the hallway, which would also freak her out because she’s alone and d) have someone take her – maybe trying to help figure out why a toddler is alone is a hallway, or who knows.

So, to me, it seems obvious – put a fob on a door to the courtyard so residents can have access back into the building.  Not so easy. I’ve written to the Strata council many times, they will not budge.  I’ve gone to a meeting.  Still, no budging.  They see it as a security issue, or they think it will increase traffic through the back.  Maybe it will a little, but really, by how much, and what’s the big deal?  Residents should be able to come and go into their own building, where they pay Strata fees on a monthly basis.

So, my next attempt was to go door-to-door to get a truly democratic vote on whether or not residents wanted to get a fob put on a door that leads to the courtyard.  A few observations after my door-to-door outing:  people were surprised to see someone knocking on their doors, and almost seemed suspicious.  Man, apartment living just does not lend itself to community.  After I introduced myself – “Hi, I’m Christine, I live on the third floor, I’m trying to get a fob put on one of the doors that lead into the courtyard because as it stands right now, you can get into the courtyard, but you can’t get back into the building, so if you’re in a wheelchair, or have a stroller, it’s inaccessible to you…”, most were like, oh yea, easy, where do I sign, which was great!

I managed to speak to 26 neighbours last night, and so far, there is only one who was opposed, and her reason was pretty much that she didn’t mind if people couldn’t get in the door.  Hmmm.  Okay.  I asked her about people in wheelchairs or people with strollers, and she said it didn’t affect her, so again, it wasn’t an issue for her.  Fine, whatever, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but there is something about this attitude that just makes me sad; that someone really just doesn’t care about people who aren’t as able-bodied as herself, and whether or not they have access to the courtyard. I don’t know, this apathy just bothered me.  Another woman who was visibly pregnant, also didn’t really care either way because she didn’t use the courtyard.  But I’m thinking to myself, when you have your baby, you’ll want to spread out a blanket on the grass and just enjoy the day!  Why can’t you see that?

Anyways, I guess I was just a bit surprised at how they didn’t really care about the plight of others. I get that it doesn’t affect you, but I’m telling you how it affects me, and trying to understand how you don’t even care a little bit about it.  I guess sometimes I just expect people to feel the same way I do, because it makes complete sense to me, but maybe I’m missing something.  Isn’t a community about knowing your neighbours, helping out if you can, making it fair, fun, and safe for everyone?

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4 responses to “Neighbours

  1. This is like a metaphor for our Canadian government and people who just don’t vote because they feel like a lot of the issues don’t affect them or that they don’t care either way!
    I’m really proud of you for getting out there and taking a stand.
    I also think that the accessibility issue is something you could raise with City Hall.

  2. about two years ago I went door to door in my neighborhood to ask people to sign to put a speed bump in- we live in a community behind a school so before and after school the speed limit goes to really low and to avoid it cars zip through our community using it as a through way- I am still bitter at some assholes that wouldn’t sign it because ‘they didn’t think it would help’ people can be such assholes-
    But on the other hand I had some people thank me for going through the effort.
    So good for trying and for caring about your community.

  3. I also agree you could try at City hall,or the representatives for Port Moody!!!
    I also think you could tell your problem to your local Paper,somebody may be interested about a comunity where they want Young Couples with kids.
    Hope you can get a positive response.

  4. So proud of you. There is aways going to be a percent of people like that. We can only keep trying and doing our best and balance to the wise. xo

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