There goes my privacy

I received an e-mail from an owner of a penthouse unit that got a big surprise one day. Instead of looking outside and enjoying her wonderful view of downtown Toronto, she was surprised to see that the board had moved the condo's dog walking amenity to the terrace right outside her unit.

Here are segments of the e-mail she sent to the board and the reply she got from the property manager with my comments.

E-mail to the manager
I have several questions and concerns about the new dog walk area that has recently opened up. As a resident of the top floor, adjacent to the new dog walk area, I am directly affected by these new changes and would like to bring them to your attention.
Although its nice to have a new space for the dogs in this community, It seems to have been opened hastily while restricting access to a perfectly functional old dog walk—wasn't the old dog walk recently cleaned with new stones added? I don't understand why residential access was allowed when it was clearly not ready with the numerous hazards present at the time, nor is it anywhere near ready in its current state. 
The new dog walk was open on Friday before any public announcements were made and I only received an announcement e-mail about it on Sunday. On Friday evening, I walked over to my stove to turn it off, partially dressed and noticed someone on the roof looking in. To my knowledge, the only people allowed access to that area were maintenance staff/tradespeople between the hours of 9-5 and I've always had privacy in the evening.

It was an issue I never thought I would have to be concerned about until now.  Residents were allowed access to the inset area looking into the atrium and could see everything inside my unit quite clearly.
Without any solid walls, people can now  see much of the insides of my unit along with my neighbouring units. (There is also dog excrement there that was not picked up).
The new dog walk is now open to anyone who can get inside the building, not only residents with dogs.  Tuesday evening, I saw three men standing in the dog walk area. They did not have dogs, but they did have a look around.

This is another major concern for me because random people have 24 hour access to an area where they can monitor when I am home and when I am not.
There is a bright light to the left of the doorway as you walk out—which I understand is needed at night so residents can see if the area is to be used as a dog walk. However, this light is so bright and it shines into my condo and directly into my bedroom, which is located at the far end of my unit. The light is still quite bright despite my bedroom doors being closed and illuminates my entire unit when all of my lights are off.
As I mentioned before, the only people who had access to this area were maintenance staff, between 9-5. With this new dog walk, people and their dogs will have 24 hour access, in which I've already heard barking from various dogs and was even able to hear conversations quite clearly while I was watching TV Saturday night. The people were standing east of the atrium, I could see them, and they could see me—it was disruptive and awkward.
As you know, I also have a dog, one who grew up in this building without much disturbance on the roof. He is protective and will bark when he sees something unusual. If this new dog walk project cannot be changed, please understand that there will be an adjustment period for us and other dogs who share this atrium space who can see/hear/smell the presence of the people/dogs using the new dog walk.

I've already experienced the effects of this, whether it was my dog who barked first, or a neighbour's dog, it becomes a chain reaction of successive barking.
Issues with the dog walk

no security cameras

safety hazards: exposed yellow pipe, several circular holes framed in perforated sheet metal with numerous metal objects sticking above the ground, broken patio stones and glass all along the ledge of the solid walls (since been cleaned up on Monday)

no access to poop bags (until Monday, which is currently a roll sitting on the floor next to the trash bin)

access door gets caught on the floor once open, holding it open, no window on the door

residents are already not picking up their dogs excrement

I do apologize for the lengthy e-mail, but I paid a premium price to live on the highest floor of this building, for the added sunlight, for my balcony and most importantly for my privacy.

I have now been uncomfortable in my own home for five days and counting.  Had I known the space directly above me would be made public five years ago, that would have been a deciding factor in living in this space and its price tag. The current dog walk is not a safe place for residents or their dogs and should not even be open until solid walls are put up to protect the privacy of neighbouring residents.
Personally, I think the space where the old dog walk is, is much better and I don't understand why these changes were made.  There are no privacy issues with the old dog walk - the four walls encompassing the area are mostly solid compared to two open walls, one railing and one fencing that both required extra mesh - there is only one area where a large object is sticking out above ground, compared to the four or five in the new area.
Please reconsider opening up this area to the public.
Thank you,

Manager's reply (editor's remarks in blue)
The board of directors decided to have a new dog walk entrance, due to the fact that the existing one is far away from the exiting elevator/stairwell door and by the time the dogs go to the dog walk, they have "accidents" in the hallways.

As a result, the entire hallway is smelling constantly, regardless how much we are trying to clean it and the party room being in the same hallway, makes the smell effect the party room, the pool entrance and the entire hallway.

This is due to lazy and or neglectful dog owners, not the dogs. If the owners are not home or do not want to regularly walk their dogs, it borders on animal cruelty.

Also, there are over 200 dogs in the building and the existing dog walk was built for 25-30 dogs, so the new dog walk entrance was necessary.

Well 200 dog owners have more votes than the few owners on the penthouse floor so guess who wins?

The question is how to make this as efficient as possible and how to eliminate those issues that can and may effect some of the residents that live in top floors?

– Privacy wise, I do not think that a privacy fence is required since the unit in the first floor do not have a privacy fence. However, what I would recommend is to have curtains in your windows.

The unit or units on the first floor knew that privacy would be limited. That is why ground floor units are the cheapest units in a condo tower. Penthouse units pay a premium for the view and privacy. These owners are taking a loss in the enjoyment of her unit and possibly in property values.

Lights, we will look into that and will put some kind of cover light not to flush the light straight to your window.

Noise issue, the dog walk is not a socializing area and anytime you hear commotions, please contact security and they will look into that case by case bases.

Maybe the light shade will help with the light shining in her unit but  dog owners do socialize. So do the dogs. Everyone feels the need to say how cute the other person's dog is. This is a stupid statement that ignores human and canine nature.

The board expects her to report on her neighbours who break the condo rules. Who voted her to be a Neighbourhood Watch Condo Nazi who spies on and reports people to security?

Security issue, we will install two cameras in that area and we are in process of improving the area and we did open this area in the last weekend, since the existing dog entrance was not able to be used because of the window cleaners wires and swing stage installation.

All other issues are in the process of being rectified and repaired.

It gives the appearance that they are responding to legitimate complaints.

What can be done?
The owner could ask the other owners on her floor if they feel “oppressed” by the change in the dog walk. If they complain as a group, it may have a greater effect on the board.
Live with it. Her curtains will have to closed 24 hours a day to ensure privacy.
See an experienced condo lawyer for an opinion if she (and perhaps the other owners on her floor) can sue for “oppression”.
Sell and move on.

Now you know why I hate condos.

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