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'It’s a mess': Former Horseshoe timeshare owners still waiting for proceeds from sale

Thousands of former owners waiting to be paid as new owners have already begun selling individual units as condos

As the untangling of former Horseshoe Valley timeshare resorts wends its way through a detailed process for eventual distribution of proceeds to thousands of owners, its new owners have begun selling individual units as condos.

During a court hearing Wednesday broadcast over YouTube, the lawyer for three timeshare owners expressed concern over the pace of the process, as well as the involvement of another organization which has been asking owners for personal information.

“There’s a lot of frustration and anger,” their lawyer, Lou Brzezinski, told BarrieToday following the hearing.

The former timeshare units at Carriage Ridge and Carriage Hills sit on 28 acres above the Horseshoe ski resort and across the Third Concession from Vetta Finnish spa, which is set to open next month.

The timeshare structure was dissolved at the start of this year through the ongoing court process, and last spring the Oro-Medonte Township resorts were sold to Toronto-based Sunray Group of Hotels Inc.

Sunray updated the units and is in the process of converting the two properties into a condominium structure.

Meanwhile, the sales process has already begun.

Carriage Ridge contained 78 units within three buildings on eight acres and Carriage Hills had 172 units in eight buildings on 20 acres. 

Sunray president Kenny Gibson said they are being amalgamated as one condominium complex called Carriage Country Club with plenty of green space and access to trails. They are being sold in three phases, with prices starting at $579,900.

Buyers of the fully furnished, two-bedroom units will be able to move in prior to closing, Gibson added. Most are just over 1,400 square feet, but 52 are just shy of 1,200 square feet.

“We still have to do some work with the township. We got great response from the township,” he said. 

A Barrie planner has also been hired to get the condos registered.

A sales centre has been established on the site with tours available.

Two weekend open houses recently generated a great deal of traffic, Gibson said.

In recent months, the units at Carriage Ridge have been temporarily serving as hotel rooms to generate income for operating and security expenses, but their lives as hotel rooms are to come to an end at the end of January.

There were approximately 11,400 individual members owning a total of 17,408 “intervals” in the two properties of the former timeshare structure.

Brzezinski said the problem with the distribution of funds from the sale to the individual timeshare owners is that the records were not in order and, ultimately, information on fewer than half the owners has been tracked down.

“It’s a mess. The title’s a mess. The recordkeeping is a mess,” he said, which is preventing the receivers, BDO Canada, from getting a record of the owners.

A title search in Barrie then revealed many more owners that weren’t previously identified and BDO realized that it couldn’t just distribute the proceeds to those who had been paying maintenance. A new search process was launched.

A new company then sought information from the owners.

Brzezinski told the court Wednesday that the owners weren’t notified that another party was involved, raising privacy concerns.

The U.S.-based company has been asking for names, phone numbers, driver's licences, social insurance numbers, and passports with no guarantee that they’ll keep them in accordance with Canadian privacy laws, he said.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Barbara Conway suggested during the hearing  which attracted more than 800 viewers  that the order be rewritten to ensure the new company will comply with Canadian privacy rules. The new wording will be presented to the court on Friday.

But just when the timeshare members will get their cut remains unclear.

Brzezinski said he didn't think they'd be able to put a timeline on when they would be able to reconcile the title and ultimately pay out the timeshare owners who lost access to their units Jan. 6.

The owners were put on title as tenants in common for the Horseshoe timeshares, instead of the usual process of giving the owner a contractual right to get possession of a certain unit at a certain time, he explained.