Remember that Richmond townhouse owner that went to the Human Rights Tribunal because his strata council was holding their meetings in Mandarin only?
Well he says after a few months of improvement, with meetings in English and an interpreter, things are right back to square one.
LISTEN: Homeowner Andreas Kargut explains the latest language battle at his Richmond strata complex
Andreas Kargut says the problem started last year, when a group of Mandarin-speaking owners forced the old council out and stopped using English.
Last winter, following complaints and the involvement of a local MLA, they agreed to use English and bring on an interpreter, but Kargut pushed ahead with a human rights complaint to get closure on the issue.
Now, he’s glad he did.
He says at a strata meeting earlier this month, two members with 25 proxy votes between them shot down a motion to keep using English as the language of business.
“So they voted it down now. I was very surprised. I thought that would be the one issue, to satisfy the human rights [complaint], I thought that would be the one issue that they actually would vote yes for.”
He says it’s particularly frustrating, because all of the Mandarin speaking members, save one, speak English as well.
“Put yourself in my shoes, if you went to a room full of Germans, and even though they spoke your language they just decided to dis-include you, to leave you out.”
Kargut says things started going sour in July.
Early last month, as a part of the human rights complaint process, he says all parties met and worked out a negotiated deal.
But he says before anyone had signed it, the property manager posted a notice that an agreement had been reached.
He says owners then started trying to amend the agreement, and a strata AGM package went out with a number of items that hadn’t been agreed to.
“And some of it was highly inflammatory.”
With meetings back to Mandarin only, and no independent translator, Kargut says he’s pushing ahead with his human rights action.
“We still have the human rights complaint. So the next phase is going all the way to the Human Rights Tribunal which is completely impartial, and let them decide.”
He says it’s disappointing, since things had been working out in previous months, but that he’s not ready to give up.