BY KATHY BEVAN
The Toronto Real Estate Board’s (TREB) new CEO came through his first general meeting with colours flying high. Don Richardson received a standing ovation after he outlined new directions he wanted the board to follow. Alluding to the fate of the Titanic, Richardson asked members not to let the country’s biggest real estate board lose its way.
“TREB is the largest, most beautiful and most powerful real estate board afloat,” said Richardson. “But we are off course. We have been led astray by the quest for dollars. We do not have to be like the Titanic – together we can slow down, re-assess and yank the wheel over to steer a new course.”
called for a new emphasis on member benefits and fiscal responsibility, enumerating 10 principles he wants the board to pledge to adhere to (See page 14). Included in those principles are a return to the board’s not-for-profit roots, a streamlined infrastructure, retooled procedures and improved financial accountability.
also helped smooth over differences between TREB president Marilyn Baubie and president-elect David Pearce. Baubie and Pearce joined Richardson at the end of his speech and shook hands. In a show of support for board members, Baubie and Pearce publicly handed in their reserved parking space signs, to give members a “first come, first served” opportunity to access the board offices. It was a small gesture, but one that was apparently well received by the Realtors attending the meeting.
A number of changes of greater significance have taken place since Richardson took over as TREB CEO in September. The next generation MLS technology project that TREB is jointly pursuing with the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board (GVREB) continues to move forward, but at a more deliberate pace, with no new launch date yet announced. Instead, renewed efforts have been dedicated to improving technology and other member services currently in place.
Concerns raised by the large franchisors, through the Industry Leaders Group, are being discussed at one-on-one meetings between Richardson and the franchisors involved. And at CREA’s Annual General Meeting in Toronto at the end of September, the presidents of TREB and GVREB came forward and made the long-awaited announcement that they intended to become full participants in mls.ca.
“The current mls.ca platform needs some expansion, but that expansion is currently underway,” says Richardson. “As soon as we can arrange uploading of our data, we’ll be fully participating on the mls.ca website.”
TREB is also set to participate in RealtorLink, one of the key proposals contained in the Four Point Accord, approved at CREA’s AGM. “Yes, we’ll be using RealtorLink, probably as a communications portal for uploading. It contains a lot of Realtor-to-Realtor information that will benefit our members.”
Full participation in mls.ca and RealtorLink will go a long way toward another goal Richardson has been promoting: rebuilding relationships within organized real estate. “We need to redevelop and improve positive working relationships on all fronts,” says TREB president Marilyn Baubie, who added that TREB is also working hard to rebuild relationships closer to home as well. “It really is the people who contribute to an organization’s success, and in TREB’s case that means the staff, members and our other friends in organized real estate.”