Comox Valley Year In Review: December

RCMP disallows Christmas light trucks, UBID deletes board meeting footage

RCMP bans Christmas lights on trucks

Many local residents deemed the Comox Valley RCMP “The Grinch” this December after the detachment disallowed brightly decorated trucks from making their annual trips through the community.

Several commercial truck owners adorn their rides with brightly coloured Christmas lights for the annual Cumberland Light Truck Parade. Some keep the decorations on their trucks after the parade in the hopes of “spreading Christmas cheer” by driving to the homes of sick kids and care facilities for seniors during the Holidays.

But this year, the local RCMP deemed the bright lights a safety hazard and a violation of the Motor Vehicle Act. The police issued warnings to two truck drivers and told them they had to turn off their lights.

Following some initial backlash from residents, RCMP inspector Tim Walton told Comox council on Dec. 13 that the detachment would stand by its decision.

The controversy gained media attention throughout Vancouver Island as well as traction on social media. A petition to allow the truck drivers to continue with their annual tradition garnered nearly 1,800 signatures.

CVRD signs amended Union Bay agreement

In terms of local politics, plans for long-awaited development projects in Union Bay took a major step forward in December after the Comox Valley Regional District board approved several amendments to a Master Development Agreement with Kensington Island Properties (KIP) on Dec. 12.

The updated agreement, which was originally signed in 2010, gives KIP the green light to begin its multiple projects in Union Bay.

“Kensington Island Properties is going to breathe new life into the Union Bay community and region,” said the company’s vice-president, Brian McMahon.

“The new amenities, infrastructure and affordable housing units are going to make Union Bay great place to live.”

KIP bought over 1,000 acres of land in Union Bay in the late 1990s with the long-term goal of developing a golf course, 2,000+ housing units, a marina walkway, a water filtration plant, a fire hall, and a network of parks and trails.

The developer has faced countless political and regulatory hurdles over the years (as well as some legal battles) that have prevented the projects from being completed. Or, in many cases, even started.

UBID erases footage of board meeting

Also regarding Union Bay, many residents were upset with their local governing authority — the Union Bay Improvement District — after 17 minutes of footage from a Nov. 16 board meeting were deleted. Because of a bylaw that UBID passed earlier this year, the footage was the only legally allowed recording of that meeting.

UBID claimed the erasure was an accident, but some landowners expressed skepticism considering the portion of the video that was deleted. The erased footage was from a discussion regarding a contentious motion from UBID trustee Susanna Kaljur. Her motion was to send a letter to the CVRD requesting the information on the pros and cons of having UBID join the CVRD as a service area.

The motion ultimately passed 3-2, though UBID still has not sent the letter to the CVRD as of Dec. 19. UBID board chair Peter Jacques said the motion should be further discussed at the January board meeting.

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