Ramping up Communication During a Time of Crisis

Jul 08, 2013
Here in southern Alberta, we’re feeling a bit battle weary due to the flooding. Many residents are still displaced, and, so far, 900 Calgarians alone will be forced to find accommodation because their homes are either condemned or will take months to restore. Our rental market was already tight before the flood.

Disturbingly, the Mayor of Calgary has publicly chastised many property management companies who aren’t communicating with displaced residents, and has said that the City of Calgary will take care of their needs as they aren’t being met by property managers. I was shocked to receive an auto response from a colleague’s company (not an REIC member, thankfully!), stating that it might be some time before a response will be provided to emails.

My company, Longley Condominium Services, manages a 34-unit townhouse property in High River. We were just able to return to the property on Wednesday, after residents were evacuated the morning of Thursday, June 20th.

These residents fled with purses and not much else when a 7-foot wall of water hit them like a tidal wave in the middle of the Prairies. It’s hard to imagine being out of your home for that long, and unable to return to see what has happened.

So I will share what we’ve done....

First and foremost, we’ve kept in constant communication with residents by email. Their gratitude for this has been quite humbling, as it seems like such a small thing under these circumstances. Now that the residents have surveyed the damage and we’re beginning to clean up, communication is being ramped up, so we’ve created a forum for our owners to log in and receive announcements and pose questions, and see questions and answers provided to other residents.

Now that we’re in the thick of things, communication has become even more vital. We’re involved with obtaining volunteers, providing moral support and trying under the worst of circumstances to find things like garbage bins, portapotties, pumper trucks, electricians and plumbers. Like everyone else out there who has been hard hit by the flooding. About one-third of the town of High River is still under water, although it’s being pumped back into the Highwood River at the rate of one Olympic-sized swimming pool every ten minutes.

I hope that sharing what we’re doing may help those REIC members who have clients that have also been impacted by this flood.


Suzanne LeValley, CPM, CMOC

Suzanne LeValley, CPM CMOC

Written by Suzanne LeValley, CPM CMOC

Suzanne has worked in real estate and property management since 1978. Holding the CPM® and CMOC designations, she specializes in condominium management as the owner and operator of Longley Condominium Services Ltd. in Calgary, Alberta. Suzanne has been a faculty member since 2014, and served as REIC President from 2011-2013.