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RECREATIONAL FACILITIES: TRENDS AND MAXIMIZING USEFULNESS

One of the many perks of condominium living is having affordable, semi-private recreational facilities available for use at your doorstep.

In fact, given the recent trend among developers to offer uber-chic amenities, there really is no need to pay membership fees to big box fitness franchises when quality facilities, which you have already paid for, are just steps away.

Gone are the days of fitness facilities with a few treadmills and a weight machine situated in a dusty little back room. Today, many facilities serve as a condominium community's social hub, with gyms complemented by juice bars; plunge pools, saunas and steam rooms; and yoga, dance and spin studios.

Many are even customized to specific demographics with, for example, seniors' residences featuring spas and greenhouses and Millennials' buildings equipped with state of the art sound systems and cross-fit facilities.

Like all aspects of the condominium lifestyle though, the enjoyment that can be derived from a building's facilities is largely contingent on the courtesy of the condominium's other residents, and the effectiveness of its board.

As a general rule, it is not acceptable for a group of residents to monopolize facilities with activities that are not organized by the corporation and available to all residents. Getting together with friends in the building for your own unsanctioned spin session for example, comes at the expense of others who might have otherwise taken a scheduled class in the studio.

Regulations that govern activities in a condominium community's recreational facilities should go well beyond the standard rules originally set out by the developer and should be tailored to the community's unique character. As well, they should be created with direction from residents. To achieve this, condominium boards should undertake resident surveys, town hall meetings and opportunities for online input.

Doing so not only fosters a positive feeling within the community, it also provides the opportunity to maximize usage of the facilities. For example, town hall sessions might reveal adjacent unit owners' concerns with noise emanating from the facilities and rather than reducing operating hours to the detriment of all residents, a sound engineering study might be in order.

It is vital to have rules that govern recreational facilities because when residents have a clear understanding of what is expected, the potential for disputes that lead to larger discord within the community is significantly diminished. Equally important though, is the condominium board's commitment to enforce such rules once they are set out. As is the case with all governance issues, the board's enforcement should be timely and consistent. Doing so provides the type of atmosphere that attracted residents to the community at the outset and establishes an environment in which both fitness and collaborations to further develop the community can be nurtured.

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