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Golf Gardens Miraflores Community News

This is a blog that our whole committee uses to tell their story of what's happening and what they are doing on a daily basis for the improvement of our Golf Gardens Miraflores community in Riviera Del Sol. We want our community to be "The best place to live on the Costa del Sol" and only with a dedicated team of owners who are prepared to commit time and effort to the cause, will we achieve our goal!

Presidents report 2008/2009
03 June 2010 @ 10:22

 Having survived the first year as President for GGM II, I am writing this report so that I can give you a good overview of what has been happening on the community. It will also hopefully reduce the amount of time normally taken to answer questions relating to these points during the AGM. 

As you know, I am not a permanent resident at GGM II, so throughout the year I have been fortunate to have a very active community committee supporting me on a day-to-day basis. Community Meetings have been held every month. Then the responsibilities have been shared around the team. I would like to put on record at the earliest point in my report the support that has been given by Joke Beemster and Dave Lines who have really been my Spanish hands, voice and eyes on the complex. This has ensured work has been done correctly and appears to be a successful formula for our community and hopefully the future. 

It’s also been the second year we have worked with our administrators Intercala in La Cala, I have personally enjoyed working with Lazara, Alison and the team, and between all of us we appear to have successfully kept everything in order, improved a lot of things and importantly kept within our budgets. The noticeboards in every stairwell are being updated regularly by Brian King and have proved a success for communicating important information to residents and guests on the complex. 

The website www.golfgardensmiraflores.co.uk and newsletters organised by Ian Cook have again been informative and useful – the website regularly receives 200 unique visitors a month - and have hopefully made a difference and kept us ahead of other local communities in the vicinity. Importantly, we are still the first community that appears when you Google “the best place to live on the Costa del Sol.” 

Finances

The community remains in a reasonably healthy financial position, largely because of controlled spending on maintenance items by Joke Beemster, myself and with Alison at Intercala who has ensured we collected the community fees in, working hard to keep the debtors down.

In summary:

 

  1. Over the past 12 months we have been able to create a reserve fund, which currently stands at about 65,000 euro’s, made possible by the monies we have retained over the past 4 years for the Rates Bill (20,000) that will become due at some point in 2009. The Painting Reserve Fund (30,000) and the legally required Emergency Fund (15,000) this should really be at least 10% of the community annual fees, so we are currently behind our requirement in this sector. These reserves have been invested in a short-term bond, attracting interest for the community. 
  2. As at 30 April 2009 the total amount outstanding in community fees were approx 13,000 euro’s, a proportion of which is the current quarter. However at last years AGM you will remember we informed the community that we had reduced the 2007 debtors from in excess of 50,000 euro’s down to 25,000 this tight management and the legal action has enabled us to reduce this deficit even further. The community currently still has some serial serious debtors, which disappoints me as they are the ones benefiting from all the facilities like water, cleaners, pool, satellite, lift maintenance etc etc which are being paid for by the rest of us. The legal action being taken against these people for debts, interest and costs will be covered in the financial section of the AGM.
  3. Do please bear in mind that if community fees to 15 June 2009 are not paid up, you will not be entitled to vote at the AGM.
  4. It is also worth remembering that community fees that are paid within the first month of each quarter receive a 20% discount. Over 75% of the community now pays by Direct Debit to ensure they receive this discount.
  5. Over 4,000 euro’s was retained this year by owners incurring late fees.

 

As you will have noticed the cost for everything in Spain has risen dramatically in the past 12 months and unfortunately as discussed at the AGM last year, we predicted that we would be unable to retain our budgets at the same level for next year. There are increases in the running costs for the community and these will result in the raising of the quarterly community fees for 2009/10.

Also I must reiterate again the problems outstanding funds from community debtors create. Like any business, we always have tremendous cash flow problems when people don’t pay and this knock-on effect restricts development, improvements and day to day repairs. Something then has to be deferred, or we will all have to subsidise more legal costs and supplementary payments to get the work done, which is ridiculous.

Gardens & Pools

I’m sorry to have to report that we have just appointed our third gardening contractor in the year! Having personally some horticultural qualifications and experience, I know how the work should be done correctly. We had appointed Marcelo at the start of 2007, things started well with Marcelo visiting regularly and his guys working well. Unfortunately in the autumn of last year Marcelo had staffing problems the regular guys changed  and the quality of the work declined. Although Marcelo was warned about the situation things did not improve, so in January we started to look for a new supplier!

Having interviewed a number of prospective gardeners, we eventually decided to give a guy that had been partnering his father an experienced gardener a trial. We thought that the opportunity for someone starting their own business would be a good stimulus to make our gardens spectacular, so that he could use us as his own first reference……..Lets just say…it didn’t work and after 2 months we terminated the agreement. 

Both contracts were terminated without financial penalty to the community.

We have now appointed a new Head Gardener Juan Ignacio Grosso, who has run a team of 6 men for the past 10 years, during May they are working 40 hours a week on the community gardens to get them back into shape quickly for the summer. Dependent on their trial and success, I will then address the situation to see if they require 20, 30 or 40 hours a week to maintain the gardens to a standard we are all happy with. 

Other garden projects we have completed are:

 

  1. Two of the four troughs on top of Block 11 have been emptied, relined to resolve the water leaks, irrigation fitted and replanted to develop a wonderful coloured outward vista of the community. The final two troughs work is being carried out in May and will be replanted ready for the summer. 
  2. A sand and soil topcoat mix has been put on the grass around the pool to deepen the base levels and smooth out any dips and hollows, reseeding has been done to stimulate new growth on the bald patches.
  3. The white stones on a number of flowerbeds has helped reduce weeding and improved the gardens appearance. It is envisaged, budgets allowing, that a number of other flowerbeds will receive the same treatment during the forthcoming year.
  4. General pruning and the introduction of flowering plants to fill gaps took place in the summer, some of these have developed into big banks of colour further re-planting ready for the summer will hopefully be done in the next few weeks. We hope to organise a community gardening weekend soon to get a number of larger projects completed at little or no cost to the budget, your support would be appreciated.
  5. Commercial flycatchers also appear to have reduced the irritation of flies in the garden and these will be put up again in the next few weeks for the summer.

 

Repairs

We took the step of appointing Angel as our part-time community maintenance man early in January. It has been his responsibility to put right and work with us to resolve the problems we have. He is able to maintain our water system, the gate motor and his work also includes maintenance of the pool. All of the work he has done for us has been to an excellent level. 

As any good maintenance man he often checks to sees if any problems of wear and tear is occurring and reports or corrects it before anything serious happens. He has recently repaired and repainted all scuffs on some of the stairwells, which has returned these to a newly finished level again. After the monthly walkabouts, Joke has been overseeing any necessary repairs we need, which is ensuring we are aware of and staying on top of the major maintenance issues.

Committee members Joke Beemster, Dave Lines and Ivett Hart have also undertaken a regular walkabout inspection and then implemented a repairs programme.

The biggest issue the community faced this year was the ongoing problem of loose roof tiles roofs on all the community blocks. This problem has been a bone of contention in AGM’s for the past 3 years. With no response from the Promotor we were budgeting that the community would have to find in excess of 41,000 euros to complete the repairs.

However, with the help and assistance of Lazara at Intercala and Joaquín our community lawyer, we have been able to pressure Ferrovial, the builders, to come back on site and make these repairs and a few other small problems for us. The alternative was for us to pay out for repairs and try to win our money and legal costs back through the Spanish courts. After the repair work we carried out an inspection with our architect and Angel going on the roof checking the tiles, we found one area of loose tiles so Joaquin has asked Ferrovial to return before we sign off the repair.

This for me is our biggest achievement this year and one I hope that the community will not have to face again. I can only highlight for the community that had we been unsuccessful, we would be discussing at the AGM the need for a supplementary fee from every owner, fortunately this looks to have been averted, so our thanks need to be recorded to Lazara and Joaquín

In summary: 

 

  1. Our cleaner Carmen has performed her tasks competently, the complex has looked tidy and smelt clean throughout the year, our thanks go to her.
  2. A programme of “Things to Do” has in the main been completed, a new set of maintenance jobs I’m sure will present themselves during the coming year. 
  3. We now have a number of serious water leak problems around the complex that need to be delt with quickly.  If we do not establish and rectify these leaks soon we could be facing major repair and rebuilding costs. 
  4. The budget concerns regarding the roof, put a halt on almost all improvement projects. This included the extension to the concrete pool surround, this will again be considered for the forthcoming year, as during the summer the area around the pool does become muddy, which affects the filtration and cleanliness of the pool water.
  5. The overhaul of the water pumping system last year seems to be working satisfactorily and a maintenance programme for the pumps and tanks by Angel ensures they remain in full working order.
  6. The pool will be due for a maintenance and repair overhaul either this coming winter or the following depending on everything working correctly and tiles and lights staying in place. When the pool needs to be drained, we are hoping to build a set of tiled steps in the shallow end to ease pool entry, for the disabled, old and young children, this has recently been done successfully on phase 3 and we will establish the costs.
  7. The new chemical dispenser for the pool has been installed and the corrosive problems incurred by the previous storage of the chlorine has been resolved.
  8. The new lift maintenance company Schindler, finally appear to have resolved all the major bumping and stalling problems.

 

TV Channels

An overhaul of the community TV channels has been undertaken and the power boosters previously fitted by Terry Stone have been replaced with ones that work! This has resolved viewing issues for most owners. One major expense this year has been the purchase of extra distribution panels for some portals where owners have required more than one satellite box connection. Only a couple of satellite dishes remain in view and owners have been notified that  they are required to drop them down out of view or connect to the community system.

Post Boxes

Due to issues with the postal service refusing to enter communities, we resolved the situation by installing at the main gate individual postboxes that cost the community over 2500 euro’s. We are intending to add a tiled roof to post boxes later this year to give more protection from the rain. 

Keys for your personal postbox must be collected from Intercala. Please can you ensure you only use the nameplate to mark your name and refrain from writing or placing stickers on the outside. Thank you.

Community Rules

Last year we took the opportunity to remind all owners of community rules and to ask that all properties that are rented out have the community rules clearly displayed inside the apartment so that tenants and holidaymakers are aware that strict community rules do exist for the benefit of everyone.

We will be presenting at the AGM a revised set of community rules (included with the AGM notification) and these will be implemented subject to the satisfactory vote.

 

  1. The lifts in each block will have the new community rules in Spanish and English, so there is no excuse for not knowing  what the community rules are. Extra signage has also been installed around the community.
  2. With the summer season almost upon us rule breaking will be rife - towels hanging over balconies, rubbish dumped in the garages and stairwells, graffiti, vandalism, damage, ball games in the gardens, lilos and ball games in the pools, pool  hours not observed, sun beds not put away, parking all around the access roads and in other peoples parking places and serious noise issues. Unfortunately it is not just holiday renters that are always to blame. It’s your community, it will cost you money for repairs and reduce the value of your home. We want this to be a nice place for nice people, if you see a problem, please just say something, if you ignore it, you are really saying its ok!
  3. Last year we requested that all renters be supplied with front gate remote controls, thereby enabling them to park in the underground garages. I hope that all owners who rent out their properties have arranged for this to happen. Please ensure that renters and visitors are aware of your own numbered parking space, so that they do not upset your neighbours by parking in someone else’s space illegally.
  4. We only had to throw a handful of renters out of the pool in the early hours of the morning during the summer 08, so we should consider ourselves lucky when compared to other communities. Please make these “Late Night- No Swimming” rules known to your guests – or ask them to go to the beach! 

 

Theft & Damage

Thankfully there have only been a small number of incidents on our community due mainly to the high number of visible cameras, fences and increased CCTV signage we have installed.

The recording system has also been upgraded recently, to give us better visual pictures when problems, theft or damage does occur. However we should always remember and remind renters to be on their guard against opportunist thieves. 

New key pads have been installed for block 11 entrances and catches to the doors to the garden to give increased security.

There have also been a number of garden flowers, shrubs and walls which have been broken either deliberately or through ball games in the gardens or people climbing over walls – again why anyone would want to do this is something I personally cannot comprehend.

Riviera Grand Community 

Joke Beemster has represented us at the recent Grand Community (GC) meeting and we have now seen the replacement and renewal of all lights along the entrance road. The GC gardeners have repaired and cleared small areas alongside the path, which has now been replanted to hopefully give us a more colourful drive up to the complex. 

The Graffiti on the electricity building at the end of our road was painted over by Dave Lines and his trusty roller, and the GC president has made investigations to having the unused building removed.   

Basura

The situation regarding our rubbish bins has remained unsatisfactory during the year, however they have been emptied regularly. With the GGM phase III Community only having one bin at the moment its just not enough and our bins get used and then overflow as well. I have been assured by the phase III president that an extra bin is in hand for the summer. 

The GC president has requested some co-operation with the golf course to enable the bins to be removed from the road and into a purpose built storage area, as it is GC policy that bins do not sit on the roadways. We are still awaiting the response to this request.

 


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