This page will be edited periodically as the BW2 Board receives updated information about the Special Area Levy. It is last updated on April 1st 2021, 10:00am.

The current covenants attached to every property in the Beechwood West 2 Homes Association boundary requires a yearly fee to be paid to support and maintain the BW2 community swimming pool, tennis courts and community events. The current covenant is set to expire January 1st, 2024, leaving BW2 with an uncertain future. The volunteer board for BW2 has a mandate to ensure that the best interest of the entire BW2 community is maintained in part by ensuring that our shared community property is an ongoing concern. The BW2 board has explored, discussed and presented many options to maintain the current association in its current form. The BW2 board strongly supports that an agreement called a Special Area Levy (SAL) with the City of Waterloo is the only viable solution to preserve our community association and its recreation programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Has the City of Waterloo’s SAL been approved and adopted by other associations?
 
Yes, there are at least 4 neighbourhood associations successfully adopted the SAL 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 SAL before we can apply for it?
 
We will need to have at least a 66% neighbourhood vote agreeing to the SAL before we can submit the SAL application to the City of Waterloo. This application needs to be submitted by Jan/Feb 2023.
 
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 the members at the annual general meeting (AGM). The City of Waterloo 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 SAL affect my annual payment to the association?

The SAL 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 a number of alternatives for the association. Our conclusion is that the only funding model that promises a continuation of the recreational facilities and programs is the SAL approach. A voluntary fee model would result in substantial changes that we would not welcome,
including;

    • 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. The membership would also be transitory.
    • Traffic and parking problems around the facility would increase.
    • Additional volunteers and /or reduced services will be required to run our facilities and programs with limited funding.
 
6) What if the SAL agreement with the City does not work out the way we expected?

The SAL 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 SAL agreement provides that either party, BW2 or the City, may terminate the agreement, without stating cause, on one year’s notice.

7) Is the SAL the only way to keep the membership. Can’t we keep operating the way we are doing today?
 
The BW2 Board will not be able to enforce members to pay. This might not be an issue in the first few years, but will likely become a problem in subsequent years as families move out and others lose interest. Without the stable cash-flow, there will be no way to budget or make plans for the association – other neighborhoods have encountered these challenges.
 
8) I don’t use the pool / tennis courts (anymore), why should I continue to pay?

We see the recreation facilities as a community building investment, not as a fee-for-service proposition. Whether you use the facilities or not, you benefit from the value it provides to the community, and to all our property values. Realtors have provided numerous examples that community operated recreational centers, especially well-run and well-maintained ones like ours are desirable features in the home resale market.

To those who argue that “My kids are grown up and don’t need swimming lessons anymore”, one could ask how fair they think is that they took advantage of the low cost amenities, but now that it’s their turn to make a contribution, they want no part of it. BW2 members with grandchildren are welcome and encouraged to enroll grandchildren in our community 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. A second possibility is that the property could be taken over by the City and run as a pool and tennis courts open to the general public bringing more people to the neighbourhood. Unfortunately, these restricts how BW2 house owners influence how the property lot will be used and how it will shape the neighbourhood. 

Next steps and proposed timelines

  • Spring 2022: Your BW2 Board will communicate up-to-date details of the SAL process and policy to the BW2 Membership (The SAL Implementation and Administration Policy is currently being reviewed by the City of Waterloo. The timeline presented below may have to be adjusted based on the outcome this review).
  • Early Fall 2022: Your BW2 Board conducts a vote among BW2 property owners (1 vote per household). If at least 66% percent of households vote in favour of pursuing the SAL, your BW2 Board will begin preparing the SAL application.
  • Dec 2022: Your BW2 Board submits the SAL application to City Council for approval.
  • Jan 2023: The City Clerk commences enumeration and prepares the SAL voting package.
  • March/April 2023: The City Clerk mails the SAL voting package to BW2 property owners, if at least 66% of the votes cast are in favour of the SAL.
  • June 2023: the results of the vote are presented to City Council, the BW2 SAL is approved by City Council and presumably comes into force on Jan 2, 2024 (the day after our covenant expires).