Former trustee accuses UBID board of ‘hidden agenda’ with KIP issue

A former trustee of the Union Bay Improvement District feels the current board is not acting in the best interest of the community when it comes to Kensington Island Properties.

Dave Godfrey suggests the UBID board has “some kind of hidden agenda” that doesn’t make sense or provide information to landowners.

“Without Kensington’s financial support via their development, the average landowner is going to be faced with a horrendous bill,” said Godfrey, who was unseated in the 2011 election.

Kensington plans to build houses and a golf course on 1,000-plus acres in Union Bay. A marina walkway, and a series of parks and trails are also in the plans.

Godfrey notes that KIP vice-president Brian McMahon had secured government approvals and was prepared to install a temporary water treatment system.

“They (board) basically rejected that,” said Godfrey, who suggests McMahon is being “stonewalled” for approval of a new water agreement, which expired at the end of last year. “He was prepared to follow the phased-in approach that was given under the previous agreement, and that was affordable. He’s said many times that he has to start the development on a slow scale, small scale, to start recuperating some of his monies. To invest all of this up front, and no assurances that they would even approve him putting in one house, is ridiculous. Who would expect that?”

The UBID is working toward plans to construct a water treatment system and reservoir that would comply with Island Health standards, the Drinking Water Protection Act and the pending Water Sustainability Act. It has until Aug. 31, 2018 to construct a water filtration plant.

At the district AGM Saturday, board chair Carol Molstad said the UBID has spoken with McMahon about moving forward with an agreement but nothing has been finalized. While KIP’s proposal has drawn mixed reactions in Union Bay, Molstad said a Master Development Agreement has been signed with the Comox Valley Regional District. The UBID’s job, she added, is to negotiate the best deal for water to enable the development to proceed. Whether residents support it or not is a moot point.

“It’s a done deal,” said Molstad, who fielded several questions about the project but would not engage in an “us and them” debate. “Now the board is working on the next step.”

Over the past four years, she said, trustees have spent more hours than they can count learning about Union Bay’s water system. The board has concluded that it has a comprehensive plan that has met with Island Health approval.

“We’re a group of volunteers who have worked very hard to make sure the long-term interests of landowners are met,” Molstad said. “We’re not going to be rushed. We’re going to do it very carefully.

“This is a business arrangement for the best interest of our community,” she said to applause. Molstad dispelled the notion that a water facility constructed by KIP would be free of charge. McMahon says the company is willing to pay 100 per cent of water system upgrades.

Besides water charges, Godfrey said landowners also face the CVRD’s impending Liquid Waste Management System.

“It’s going to be totally unaffordable to live in this community pretty soon,” he said. “And with that added annual burden hanging over everybody’s heads, how can you sell your property and get out from under it? Who’s going to buy? It really becomes a conundrum. The average landowner, they’re oblivious to all this…We had a perfectly good working agreement with them (UBID) that they purposely let expire without moving forward in a phased approach. It just became ridiculous.”

 

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