Policy Example: New Residents Welcoming and Orientation Package

New Residents Welcoming and Orientation Package

We hope these notes make it a little easier for you to settle into your new home at Windsong.  This packet is not meant as a comprehensive guide to living at Windsong.  Rather it represents a brief over-view of important information.


Windsong is a legal strata and is thus subject to the Strata Property Act.  We do not elect a strata council as described in the Act. Our by-laws allow us to include every Windsong resident in our decision making process. All decisions in Windsong are made by consensus at community meetings unless an individual or a group has been delegated particular decision making authority by the Community Meeting. Community meetings are held on the first Friday of every month, starting at 7:30 pm.

The  Facilitation Team meets about two weeks ahead of the meeting to prepare the agenda. Any Windsonger may suggest agenda items. Such items must be received by the Team before or at their planning meeting. The Team can assist in the preparation of agenda items.  The agenda is then posted on the main bulletin board by the mailboxes one week ahead of the meeting. It is also sent out via email.  At the Community Meetings, we use a colour card system to prioritize the order of speakers and for determining whether we have agreement on a proposal.  Rather than go into detail about how this works, we warmly invite you to see it in action at a community meeting. All Windsong members are urged to attend meetings. Renters have equal say in all decision making, and they are encouraged to voice their opinions along with owners.  The members of the Facilitation Team are responsible for facilitating the Community Meetings and recording the proceedings. Minutes of the meetings are posted on the front bulletin board prior to the next meeting and, once they have been approved are filed  in binders in the Community Office where they are available for any resident to read.


The community's operating expenses are paid for from monthly maintenance fees paid by all owners of units in Windsong. The fees are based, by law on the size of units.These fees pay for  insurance, utilities, inspections, repairs, cleaning equipment and supplies, landscaping expenses, some social activities, our newsletter, etc  Budgets are approved by the community annually. Copies are filed in the Minute Books.  Included in the monthly fee is the basic maintenance fee, $5 for the LAN, which provides a connection to the internet, and a fee for gas. We chose to have only one gas meter to take advantage of lower rates.  So charges for gas are also calculated  according to the size of the units. Windsongers are asked to submit 6 post dated cheques for the fees to the Treasurer starting August 1, which is the beginning of our fiscal year. In January,  the Finance Team reviews the accounts and if they think it is necessary, recommeends to the community an adjusted amount to cover the operating expenses for the remainder of the year and asks for another six post-dated cheques for the same or the adjusted amount.   Submitting post-dated cheques relieves the Treasrer of having to remind everybody to pay their fees. Because of previous problems, we have passed a by-law that states that the community is to be informed if anyone is more than 2 months in arrears with their maintenance payments.
Over the years we have accumulated money in a Capital Fund. Decisions about how to use this fund is determined by discussions and decisions by all community members.



Thanks to some expert technical Windsongers, we have several ways of communicating with each other.



At Windsong, all homes which have voice mailboxes are linked.  Anyone on the system can  put out one phone message to a group or to the whole community.  Following are directions for sending a message to the entire community.

-Hear your name
-Press * then 604-888-1158
-Press our password, 7664 (or SONG)
-Press 2
-Record you message
-Press #
-Press 11,#,# (south end)
-Press 12, #,# (north end)
-Press *  Hang up.



Most  Windsongers are  connected by computer to our Local Area Network (LAN). A Yahoo group has been set up so that one e-mail message can go to everyone . See Yonas #15 to be included in the group and to learn how to access it.  Everyone that is connected to the LAN which gives you access to the Internet pays $5 per month as part of the maintenance fee.



We also communicate about meetings and events through our bulletin boards in Hancock Square, and the North and South Atriums. Each bulletin board contains information about what kind of messages should go on that board. Look at the top of the board for this.
You can also give a person a written message in their mailbox. Each box has a slot in it. This is a great way to deliver notes, cheques or proposals to your neighbours.



This is the board outside the front door with names and code numbers. When your visitors arrive at Windsong, they can punch in  the code beside your name on the enterphone. (Your phone will ring 2 short rings-this is someone buzzing you at the front door) You may then  talk to them from your phone. To let them in, press “6” on your phone, for at least 10 seconds. This opens the front door.  People who haven’t been to Windsong will not know your unit number, as it is not recorded on the enterphone board. Let your guests know that when you press “6” to let them enter the front door, they should not yank on the door right away, but wait a few seconds until the hear a click before opening. To pull on the door too much will break it.
Windsongers sometimes use this system to speak from the Common House to someone in their home.


Gradually over the last few years, we have found it necessary to increase security of our building. No exit doors in the building except for the ones that can be opened by key pads or key fobs (see below) can be opened from the outside, so be careful that you don't find yourself locked outside.
Someone checks all doors and windows in the common areas every night to be sure they are securely closed. It is up to the residents to check the doors and windows in their own units.


Windsongers have installed a door opening system which is much more secure than everyone having a key to the front door. Each adult is issued a key fob (a plastic oval which you can put on your key ring)  To open the Hancock Square front door, simply pass  the fob across the red light on the little box to the right of the enterphone name board. To open the parking garage door, pass the fob over the light in the hanging devicers installed for that purpose on either side of the door. Each key fob is coded with your name and a specific number. If you lose your key fob, you must report the loss immediately  Then the key fob can immediately be disabled on our computer, so if it is found and used by someone else it won’t open the door. A deposit of $15 is required for each fob.



Because we didn’t want children to carry around key fobs, we  installed a key pad system on 3 Windsong doors. There is a key pad at the front (Hancock Square) door, the south lower atrium door, the north lower atrium door and the people door to the parkade. These pads have numbers and a # and * key. The key pad code, a 4 digit number, is known by all Windsongers, including children. They are able to come in any of these doors by punching in the code and then pressing the * key. The key pad code is changed periodically, and the code is not written down anywhere, for obvious security reasons.  You must memorize it. To find out what the current key pad code is, talk to Susan or Chris McFee in Unit #8.   The key pads work only from 7 am - 11 pm. After these hours, they are turned off by people who do the  nightly security checks.. So if you come in before 7 am or after 11 pm, you must use a key fob to get in.




Do not let anyone you don’t know into Windsong through the enterphone. This will undermie our security system. We highly recommend that you go to Hancock Square to meet any of your guests. This is an important security measure that not only makes Windsong secure; it also ensures the integrity of your guests, should an incident arise. The same security precautions pertain to trades people.






Windsong community meals are held occasionally in the common house dining room.    Cooks put notices of their planned meals in the book outside the dining room If you wish to attend a meal, check off your name in the same book and indicate how many persons will be attending, whether they will want a whole or half serving and if there is more than one option, what your preferences are. The cost of the meals' ingredients  is divided up amongst those attendingIf you would like to prepare a community meal, you can either assemble a team yourself, and decide what to cook, or volunteer to assist on another team.  The main cooks do not have to pay  for their meals. 
There are also various supper clubs that you can join and occasionally neighbours will organize a pot luck.


Various social activities are organized from time to time by Windsongers. They are usually open to everyone in the community. News about them is communicated through all our various communication systems.

This club has been meeting monthly  for several years. Members read and meet to discuss their current book, usually on the evening of the last Sunday in each month.  See Kerry (Unit 22) if you are interested in participating.



Many Windsongers do not have their own laundry facilities and therefore choose to  use the common laundry in the common house by joining  the “laundry club”. Members of the club pay for their washing and drying in advance, by writing a cheque made out to Windsong Laundry Club and giving it to Tricia Carpenter (#27).  Laundry fees are .50 per load for both  washers and dryers. You will be assigned a sheet in the black binder, that is kept in the laundry room to record your usage. The fees pay for machines, maintenance and utilities. Many club members  use the Melaleuca Melapower environmentally friendly soap, that is available in the laundry room.at .30c per load. You are responsible for paying for your laundry activity in advance, and for recording your washing and drying on the sheets in the black binder. This is a self managing honour system.


Windsong residents have the use of a common photocopy machine, located in the office in Hancock Square. To make photocopies, register a personal number code (5 digits) with Howard Staples (#30) and deposit money, in advance, with him. The photocopy code box keeps track of how many copies you make

There is a FAX machine in the office and a book to record usage. Alan Carpenter (#27) manages the funds for this service. The FAX number for receiving messages is 882-9331.
Also available in the office is a large paper cutter and a 3-hole punch.

Filtered water is available from a designated tap in the dining room. Those persons who use it regularly pay $20 a year to Vesanto (#34)  to cover the cost of filters.


Kitchen equipment may be borrowed for very short time periods. A book is kept on a counter in the kitchen for recording your usage.

A vacuum cleaner is kept in the pantry. Please be sure to check the filter before using. Other cleaning equipment is kept in the cupboard at the end of the hallway in the Common House. Please return immediately after use in clean condition. Supplies are not to be used in private

A metal cart for moving stuff from the Common House to your own Unit or elsewhere r is kept in Hancock Square for everyone's use. Please return it as soon as you are finished with it, so that it always available for everyone's use.





There are several areas in the common house that can be reserved for either community functions or private functions such as the dining room, multi-purpose room, boardroom., teen room and craft room

All of these areas can be booked by Windsong members, free of charge, for community events such as meetings, performances etc.  Each room has a calendar, Just write your name and your event on the calendar. If you are booking any of these spaces for a private function, there are some existing and pending policies on this.  An event in the dining room, for example, has to also be open to residents.  However, if you want to restrict access to a particular group then the multi-purpose room is recommended for that.

 If the space is generating an income for a member of the community, there is an understanding that 10% of the earnings should go to Windsong for the use of the space. 


Windsong has a community guest room, upstairs in the common house. which is available to all community members. It can be booked by writing your name on the dates you want to reserve on the calendar at the bottom of the stairs.  There is no charge for relatives or friends. It is the  responsibility of the host to ensure that the linens are washed and the room cleaned after each use.  The key to the guest room can be obtained from Patrick Meyer  in unit #7 and must be returned to him as soon as your guests have vacated the suite and the cleaning has been completed.

If someone has already booked the room for the dates you want, it is common practise to discuss your need with the person who has previously booked it. Sometimes other arrangments can be made. Also there are other common spaces that  may be used occasionally and some Windsongers have spaces which they are sometimes willing to offer to accomodate guests.


Should your guest wish to give Windsong a donation to help cover the costs related to maintaining this space, that is very much appreciated.  However, if someone books the guest room for someone other than a friend or relative of a Windsong member – for example someone doing research on cohousing – there is a charge of $25.00 per night.



Windsong has a well-equipped workshop for use by community members.  In order to obtain a key to the workshop see Alan Carpenter in unit #27.  A  requirement for being a user of the workshop and having a key is receiving an orientation by Alan Carpenter. 



Garden plots have been set up  north of the building. Residents who would like to have a private garden should  watch for the notice for requests each spring and contact the person in charge of the bookings at that time. A watering system has been set up for the use of all gardeners.  No pesticides are to be used. Compost bins are available for depositing appropriate material   See the notice inside the north lower atrium door for allowed material in the compost. Finished compost can be used on the garden plots.




Please remove all glossy page supplements from inside your newspaper BEFORE placing in the blue bins in the garbage area. This extra effort is greatly appreciated. 

Mixed Paper:
All other paper including the glossy page supplements, magazines, cereal boxes, detergent boxes, receipts, stationery, newsletters etc. go into the appropriate blue bin in the garbage area.

Please rinse all plastic, glass and tin containers  before putting them  in the appropriate blue bins. Please check the inside cover of the blue bins  to find out which plastics can be recycled and which cannot.

Plastic Film
A bim is provided for plastic film. Please make sure it is clean.

Corrugated Cardboard
NO cardboard is to be placed in the outdoor garbage enclosure.


Corrugated Cardboard
Allan Laity (#2) recycles corrugated cardboard outside of the community.  You may leave your broken down cardboard in the storage bins in the cupboard by his lower basement door.


Pop and Beer cans / bottles (Canadian):
Only those cans that are marked RECYLCABLE AND RETURNABLE are to be placed in the labeled blue bins in this   Marj Rodwell recycles these outside the community. The proceeds go to various uses for the community.

 Fruit and Vegetable Juice Tetra-packs can also be recycled in this area.

Note: Dairy, soymilk and ricemilk and cardboard soup containers are not recycleable. They should be placed in the garbage.