Client Relations Manager, Thomas Kortko, of MAPLE RIDGE Community Management explains how to foster a sense of community in a condominium corporation!
One of the advantages of living in a condominium community is the sense that your family resides in a small village within an ever growing city. As proud members of our communities we have witnessed positive and lasting results every time residents and management work collectively to achieve a sense of community. Encouraging residents to participate is critical for success and can be one of the most challenging steps in this process. We treat all of our communities like our own homes and project a standard of care that will inspire others. We believe every community has tremendous potential and with our extensive experience over the past 30 years we will provide recommendations to generate interest and motivate everyone to take part in limitless initiatives. It is critical to show the long term value of the community concept and identify several incentives that will be realized including improved neighbourhood relations, security, increased property values, good spirit between neighbours, positive recognition outside of the community and many more.
As a recommended first step each community needs to determine what they want to be and how they fit into and are perceived in their local area. Efforts should be made to develop or rekindle a distinct vanity name to give an inspiring brand and identity rather that a generic condominium corporation number. To gain further spirit and interest regular events should be planned with focus on bringing residents closer together to understand and appreciate their differences and share in common interests. This can achieved through participation with volunteer groups or committees with a general objective to reach out to all residents equally without exception. When everyone gets to know and care for their neighbours they often have a greater willingness to work together to help elevate the entire community. Past and ongoing events that have been highly successful in bringing residents together include annual barbeques, all inclusive holiday and cultural themed events, pool parties, gardening contests, casual social gatherings, charitable events, earth day and other environmental initiatives.
Routine communication is vital to ensure success with any of these efforts. Quarterly newsletters are a must to keep everyone abreast of current events along with supplemental notices and reminders. Recommendations and concerns from residents should be encouraged and given strong consideration. In addition to print media all forms of communication should be utilized to reach out to as many residents as possible including e-mail notices, BuildingLink and social media. Facebook and other media options provide a great platform to post updates and photographs for past and upcoming events that helps to encourage increased youth participation. Communication in all formats for your Annual General Meeting is recommended to promote increased attendance, understanding and participation in the governance of the property. To create positive publicity it can also be beneficial to turn the spotlight on your community for important announcements, ribbon cuttings or community minded events involving local media, sponsors and other special guests.
Often adjoining sister communities do not have any physical differences or boundaries and are merely separated by their legal descriptions. Efforts should be made to reach out to these communities and include them whenever possible for any special projects or events that both sides can mutually benefit from. These efforts will encourage others to make similar gestures in return and maintain an ongoing open and healthy dialog. This relationship can also help to enhance security as we have observed that crime typically decreases when a greater sense of community is realized through increased resident activity. Security can be improved through many soft methods such as volunteer Halloween safety patrols, neighbourhood watch groups and volunteer litter collection committees.
Through all of these efforts your property will continue to evolve as a known destination for prospective Owners with a solid reputation and strong sense of community. Residents will feel tremendous pride in these accomplishments and the future direction of the community and will be very proud to show anyone what has been achieved. With these ongoing successes some properties eventually become multigenerational as the children of past or current residents choose the same community to raise their own families and continue a legacy of positive change through to the next generation.