Creation of the Willowbrook Community Society/Willowbrook Park Land Corp
(source: Willowbrook Community Society, Oct 2008)
In 1972, District Lot 26 was subdivided by Willowbrook Development Ltd into 54 residential lots plus a utility lot, an airstrip and a tennis court lot. The Subdivision was named Willowbrook Acres. Later changes to the airstrip and utility lots created 4 additional residential lots, making it a total of 58.
According to the Sales Prospectus, each lot buyer was to receive 160th undivided interest in some adjacent property to be used as park, consisting of approx. 478 acres east of the subdivision. This interest in the park land was included in the purchase price of the lots. The park is comprised of District Lots 3097 & 2073, plus Lot 57 in the subdivision (which was originally a tennis court, and is now a riding ring). This lot provides access to the main park land.
When it came time to transfer the park lands to the lot owners, the developer claimed that there were complications preventing them from making the transfer. A group of residents formed a committee to try and resolve the problem. After a lot of negotiating, the committee realized they were getting nowhere, and recommended that a lawyer be hired to sort it out. An association was formed, money collected, and Duncan Campbell, a Penticton lawyer, was hired. Of the 57 lot owners, 43 contributed $50.00 each for legal fees.
A company called Willowbrook Park Land Corp. was incorporated in 1979, and title to the park property was registered in the name of the corporation. The corporation was authorized to issue 160 shares. Each lot owner with the subdivision was entitled to one share, with the balance being held by Willowbrook Development Ltd. for future distribution. Shares were issued for the original 54 lots but, Willowbrook Development Ltd. initially refused to release shares for the utility lot or the lots from the former air strip. Subsequently, Willowbrook Development Ltd. did, in fact, release the shares for these four additional lots.
Each shareholder of Willowbrook Park Land Corp. is entitled to one vote in the affairs of the company. No one is allowed more than one vote, regardless of the number of shares they hold, thus, no one can control the vote. When a lot is resold, the share for that lot is to be transferred into the name of the new owner within 30 days. Initially, this was not an issue, as there was very little movement of properties. In the past few years, properties are changing hand quite regularly, and the executive of Park Land Corp. are doing their utmost to keep up with the transfer of shares to the new owners. Currently, a $20 administration charge is levied on each share transfer to cover the costs of the company, which are typically limited to various Provincial Government filing fees.
To provide a way to make the park land available to the whole community, a non-profit society (Willowbrook Community Society) was incorporated. On May 22, 1980, Willowbrook Park Land Corp. granted Willowbrook Community Society a 99 year lease of the park lands at the annual cost of property taxes plus $1.00. As the park lands are open to membership by anyone, and for recreational purposes only, the property is now exempt from property taxes.
The Willowbrook Community Society has minimal costs – director’s insurance, annual provincial filing fees, costs associated with notices of meetings, etc – therefore, requests an annual membership of $25.00. This membership is required by any person(s) wanting to use the park, resident of Willowbrook or not.
There are currently two types of memberships in the Willowbrook Community Society. Anyone living within the Willowbrook Fire Protection District receives a voting membership for their $25.00, while members from outside the Fire Protection District receive non-voting memberships. Regardless of the type of membership, there are no differing restrictions on park usage.
The Willowbrook Community Society holds its annual general meeting at the park in June of each year.