Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I get my cottage-hogging brother to play fair?

Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I get my cottage-hogging brother to play fair?

Dear Urban Diplomat: How do I get my cottage-hogging brother to play fair? (Image: Stephanie Pakrul/Flickr)
 
Dear Urban Diplomat,
A few years ago, my brother and I inherited the family cottage, on Lake of the Woods near Kenora. He and his family live a half-hour away and use the cottage a lot. My partner and I can only make it out there about three times a year. My brother told me he’s buying a new $850 barbecue for the place, and he wants me to split the cost with him 50/50. I don’t feel that this is justified. Shouldn’t I be paying less? How should I respond?

—Weber Warfare, Richmond Hill

You could suggest splitting the cost based on your projected percentage of use. That is certainly an option and might even seem the fairest way—to you. But it’s also the myopic and miserly way. Given your brother’s proximity to the property, he’s probably doing more than his share of the maintenance and mouse/ant/porcupine/deer repelling. I suggest you suck it up, spring for half, then get your parsimonious self out of Toronto and up to the cottage, and throw some steaks on the ’cue. Sounds like you need to decompress.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com