Sixteen years have passed since Kensington Island Properties purchased 1,000-plus acres in Union Bay, where the company plans to build houses, a golf course, a marina walkway, and a series of parks and trails.
A major hurdle was cleared a few years back when the regional district and Union Bay Improvement District signed an agreement that would enable KIP to proceed with constructing a water filtration system for the community.
The company still needed to reach an agreement with the Ministry of Environment for a wastewater treatment plant. Then in 2013, the federal government announced a $17 million contribution towards a south sewer project, paving the way for three sewer collection systems in Royston, Union Bay and Cumberland, and a new wastewater treatment plant in Cumberland. At the time, KIP vice-president Brian McMahon expected Kensington to get going with its own wastewater treatment plant, as per a master development agreement with the CVRD.
But the company is “stuck once again,” he said Monday.
McMahon notes an April, 2011 water infrastructure agreement with the UBID was good until Dec. 31, 2014.
UBID chair Carol Molstad said the two parties have discussed the potential for moving forward with a new arrangement.
“KIP has been invited to participate with UBID in implementing the approved plan and we are waiting for KIP to negotiate a new arrangement with us,” Molstad said by email. “However, at this time there is no agreement.”
Kensington could not move forward due to a couple of issues with the provincial government — which were eventually resolved. Kensington needed an extension for upgrades to the water system but McMahon said the UBID denied the request.
“They do not want me to upgrade the water system on the existing site,” he said. “They feel the need to have the residents of Union Bay cost share the water system. We’re prepared to pay 100 per cent of the ($1.2 million) upgrades, and give it all to the Union Bay Improvement District.
“The agreement made a provision for upgrades on the existing site,” he added. “When we needed to upgrade again, we would move to a permanent site that Union Bay would have. They’ve been telling me for a few years that they were getting a Crown land grant, which they still haven’t got. The end result is that they’re turning down my money. I don’t know why — why, when a corporate body is going to pay 100 per cent of the costs — they would see the need to have the people of Union Bay pick up half of that cost. I don’t get it.”
He said the UBID has some conditions.
“Basically it’s to put all of the upgrades onto a permanent facility that they would own,” McMahon said.
Molstad said the UBID is working toward plans to construct a water treatment system and reservoir in Union Bay that would comply with Island Health’s surface water quality treatment objectives (4-3-2-1), the Drinking Water Protection Act and the pending Water Sustainability Act.
Island Health approved UBID’s plan, and amended the terms and conditions of its water system operating permit which stipulates the district has until Aug. 31, 2018 to construct and commission a water filtration plant.
“The UBID board of trustees has endorsed a phased approach that satisfies regulatory requirements within a reasonable time frame and allows the UBID to keep advancing the water treatment project at a rate which can be accommodated financially,” Molstad said.
The UBID AGM is Saturday, April 25, 2 p.m. at the Union Bay Community Hall. Doors open at 1 p.m. Land owners are encouraged to attend to learn about delivery and plans for water, fire protection and street lighting services.