Fall 2023 Update
We completed our Special Service Area Levy (SSAL) application and voting process and were successful! 88% of all votes were in favour – well over the 66% requirement. The SSAL will come into effect on January 1, 2024. Our board will continue to manage the shared facilities, determine the annual fees, and continue much as we have for the past 40 years. We will continue to prepare financial statements and have an annual general meeting (AGM). The main thing that changes is that the annual fee will be collected by the city as part of your annual property taxes. Here are some links where you can learn more if you are interested:
Special Services Area Levy Application
This page will be edited periodically as the BW2 Board receives updated information about the Special Area Levy. It was last updated on May 22, 2023, 11:20 am.
You can access the brochure delivered to homeowners in March 2022 here: BW2 Covenant Brochure
The current covenant attached to every property in the BW2 Homes Association boundary requires a yearly fee to be paid to support and maintain the community swimming pool, tennis courts and surrounding property. The current covenant is set to expire December 31, 2023, leaving BW2 with an uncertain future. The volunteer board for BW2 has a mandate to manage our shared community property for the benefit of the BW2 membership. Over the course of the past 5+ years, the BW2 board has identified and explored many post-covenant options. After much research and discussion, your board has concluded that an agreement with the City of Waterloo called a Special Services Area Levy (SSAL) is the only viable option for maintaining our communal property, continuing our recreation programming, and preserving the many benefits 431 Winchester brings to our community.
Frequently Asked Questions
0) Why now? The current covenant will expire on the last day of 2023. This
gives us a short window to achieve a SSAL agreement with the City
1) Has the City of Waterloo’s SSAL been approved and adopted by other associations?
Yes, there are at least 4 neighbourhood associations successfully adopted the SSAL with the City of Waterloo:
- Beechwood West 1
- Beechwood II
- Beechwood South
- Glasgow 2
2) What percentage of households in our association need to agree to adopting the SSAL before we can apply for it?
At least 66% of BW2 households need to agree to pursuing a SSAL before the BW2 board can submit a SSAL application to the City. A SSAL application needs to be submitted by Jan 23, 2023 in order to have a SSAL in place by the time our covenant expires.
3) How would my annual payment be set?
The BW2 board will set the total annual budget, as it does today. The budget will be submitted to the City after presentation to members at the AGM. The City will add a line on your property tax bill for the amount of your payment. The City will then send BW2 the total amount collected minus a 1% administration fee.
4) How will the SSAL affect my annual payment to the association?
The SSAL will be subject to 1% administrative fee required by the City of Waterloo, though it will not affect your annual payment to the association. The difference is that you will be paying as a line item on your taxes and not via a cheque or electronic transfer to the association directly.
5) Why don’t we operate the association with voluntary fees?
The BW2 board researched many alternatives. The only funding model that promises continued maintenance and enjoyment of our communal property and its recreation facilities is a SSAL. A voluntary fee model could result in substantial changes, such as:
- Unstable funding: particularly if all Beechwood associations turn into competing recreational facilities.
- Loss of neighbourhood identity: the current BW2 neighbourhood would be fragmented into members and non-members, and the geographic range of members would have to be extended with a transitory membership.
- Traffic & parking problems around the facility would increase.
- Additional volunteers and/or reduced services would be required to run our facilities and programs with limited funding.
6) What if the SSAL agreement with the City does not work out the way we expected?
The SSAL approach has been successfully in place in other local home associations since 2008. If for some reason BW2 members do not feel the agreement is mutually beneficial, the SSAL agreement provides that either party, BW2 or the City, may terminate the agreement, without stating cause, on one year’s notice.
7) Is the SSAL the only way to keep the membership. Can’t we keep operating the way we are doing today?
The BW2 board won’t be able to enforce annual dues payment. Voluntary dues payment (with or without associate memberships) creates an unstable financial base for facilities’ maintenance, recreation programming, and general budgeting as other neighbourhoods can attest.
8) I don’t use the pool / tennis courts (anymore), why should I continue to pay?
Whether you use the facilities or not, all members benefit from the value they provide to the community and to each individual property value. A reminder that BW2 members can bring grandchildren, nieces/nephews and friends to our facilities and enroll them in our programs.
9) Can we sell the property lot to developer, or to the City?
It is a large area and could be purchased by a developer. The developer will likely remove the pool and tennis courts and build a multi-tenant building. Another possibility is that the property could be taken over by the City and run as a public pool and tennis court facility, which would bring many more people and vehicles into our neighbourhood.
10) Can I nominate a proxy to vote on my behalf? You can designate a proxy if you are unable to vote during the voting window.
Next steps and proposed timelines
- December 2022: BW2 board submitted the SSAL application to City Council for approval.
- September 4, 2023: BW2 Labour Day event- opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the SSAL process.
- September 2023 (at the latest): City Clerk mails SSAL voting package to BW2 households. 66% of ballots cast must be in favour of proceeding with the SSAL. There is no minimum number of households that need to vote.
- October 2023: Results of the vote are presented to City Council along with the terms of the BW2 SSAL agreement.
- January 1, 2024 (the day after our covenant expires): Assuming it is approved, BW2 SSAL comes into effect.