Representatives from the Comox Valley Regional District, the Union Bay Improvement District and the provincial government met Monday to discuss water supply relating to the proposed Kensington Island Properties (KIP) development.
The UBID is objecting to an apparent clause in the Master Development Agreement (MDA) that calls for a transfer of the water licence to the regional district.
“It’s certainly the number one priority for the UBID board,” said chair Carol Molstad, hopeful the end result will be a new water treatment plant for Union Bay.
“All parties are committed to working together.”
CVRD board chair Edwin Grieve said Monday’s meeting was constructive.
“It’s all about baby steps forward and building trust and understanding some of the history that has got us to where we’re at,” Grieve said. “We all care about this development and make it the best it can possibly be for the community.
“Water issues are very emotional,” Grieve added, noting a provincial directive for regional solutions for major issues such as water. “If we’re going to have any infrastructure at all for the future, we’re going to have to see what we can do as a Valley. A lot of these things go back to a previous era with previous players…We’re a family, and families sometimes disagree.”
Aside from the MDA which the CVRD board signed in 2010, the process has involved a water supply agreement between KIP and Union Bay (which is the water purveyor) and the transfer of the water supply asset.
“CVRD is taking that position (transfer of asset) because of the direction from the province on regional water supply and controlling the supply asset from a regional level,” said Kevin Lorette, CVRD’s general manager of property services.
In the last couple of years, Lorette said Union Bay did not want to negotiate water supply transfer until they secured an agreement with KIP, which occurred last year.
The MDA says KIP should not apply for building permits until Union Bay boundaries expand — which they have — and until the CVRD and UBID enter an agreement to transfer Langley Lake’s water supply assets, including the lake’s water licences.
“That clause was referring from the provincial direction that we had, but it doesn’t say they have to transfer asset to us before KIP can proceed,” Lorette said. “What’s it’s saying is that all we need is an agreement. This transfer of the asset may take place several years down the road and it’s defining when does it make sense for that to take place. No, we’re not holding up the development until the asset’s transferred, we’re trying to just get an agreement on when — what would cause the asset to transfer.”
“I’m optimistic that we can work out something,” Grieve said.
Discussions continue Monday.