VCC Update - December 2017
The Volunteer Coordinating Committee ("VCC") is an informal group of Embarc members seeking to advance the interests of all Embarc members. The following are current VCC members:
Konrad Kawalec (ex officio)
Please find below and in the next days, on behalf of the VCC, the Fall 2017 Update to Members. We split this Update in a few posts because there is a lot of content. The previous Updates to Members were published last summer and early in the Fall.
Embarc Club, formerly Club Intrawest, is not an organization that is truly directed or actually controlled by Embarc resort point members. It is in fact directed and controlled by Diamond Resorts International ("DRI") inasmuch as 3 of the 5 directors on the Board are Diamond employees (including the President of the Board).
Owing to that control, DRI employee directors always ensure absolute DRI control by making certain that the Board selects DRI itself or one of its subsidiaries as the Manager of Embarc. Thus DRI, as the manager, also controls the reservation system and shares your “vacation information” with DRI, the Developer sales force so that it can direct-market to members and vacationers during vacation stays, usually during the “members’ update” or other sales presentations. It is increasingly difficult to book units during Peak and Holiday periods at premium Embarc locations because DRI appears to be unfairly using its pool of developer-held Embarc points and making block reservations way ahead of the reservation window permitted in rules for resort point members . The cumulative increases of our annual resort dues remains unchecked. We members do not have our Club under our control even though we collectively own over 90% of the total resort points. This is not “negativity”, it is reality.
Under the control of DRI since 2016, 22,000 Embarc resort point members have seen a continued steep decline of the value of their points on the secondary market versus the steep increase in the retail price of points sold by DRI, cumulative increases of their annual “resort dues” above inflation, numerous bugs and errors with the online reservation system and increased difficulties in booking premium Embarc locations during Peak and Holiday periods. In addition, DRI makes it easy for members of the public to book our accommodation during Peak and Holiday periods by making rooms available on third party booking sites and by reserving blocks of resort units at prime vacation time many months and years in advance of the “reservation windows” under the rules for resort points members.
As of today, all of the questions that have been sent by individual members and the VCC to the Board of Directors asking about “What do members truly own” have not been answered adequately.
Finally, a recent Federal Court of Appeal of Canada decision confirmed that there does not seem to be evidence that resort point members have any beneficial ownership of real property in the Embarc resorts but rather, members only own “resort points” that convey merely a “right to use” to occupy the resorts. In other words, we resort point members are not “owners” but rather “users” of Embarc resorts. This essentially means that resort point members are not very different from members of the public who “rent” resort accommodations from DRI through such websites as Expedia or Travelocity. So much for the claims and sales representations that Embarc is an “exclusive club” and that members have beneficial ownership of resort units or assets.
In November 2015, when Intrawest announced the pending sale of its interests in the Club, mounting member dissatisfaction led a number of member volunteers to self-organize into a member group to examine how members’ rights could be affected by the pending sale and to understand and protect whatever rights members have. This group evolved over the next two years into the VCC of today.