Kensington Union Bay Properties vice-president Brian McMahon. Photo by Scott Strasser.

Largest development project north of the Malahat unveiled

The 850-acre proposal aims to bring create nearly 3,000 homes plus businesses to Union Bay

The largest development proposal on Vancouver Island north of the Malahat was unveiled Thursday in Union Bay.

Sporting a new name, Kensington Union Bay Properties unveiled its long-awaited development plans for for the small Comox Valley community at the Kingfisher Spa and Resort on March 1.

The initiative — Union Bay Estates — is an 850-acre real estate and commercial development project that could transform the hamlet into a full-fledged town larger than Ladysmith or Chemainus.

“The project itself is going to be a game-changer for the community,” said Kensington vice-president Brian McMahon. “It’s going to be a game-changer for the Comox Valley as a whole.”

The the multi-phase development, which has been in the works for many years, promises 2,949 residential units featuring multi and single-family residences, as well as both retirement and affordable housing units. When completed, it could increase the population of Union Bay by 7,500–9,000 people. Roughly 1,200 people live there currently.

Read More: Kensington Island Properties provides $250,000 to homelessness support agencies

Alongside the housing provisions, Kensington also aims to bring several commercial and social amenities to Union Bay. At the launch event on Thursday, McMahon mentioned possible provisions for a pharmacy, a walk-in clinic, a movie theatre, hotels, and a bank.

“We’ve had discussions with people who are interested in pursuing these things,” he said.

The company is also donating parcels of land to the Union Bay Improvement District for its new water treatment plant and a fire hall and says it will commit land to School District 71 for a new school.

“If we’ve got 2,949 new homes coming in, there’s going to be the need for a new school again,” he said.

Development 20 years in the making

Previously known as Kensington Island Properties, the company purchased more than 1,000 acres of land in Union Bay in the late 1990s, with the long-term goal of building a golf course, a marina walkway, a water filtration system and housing developments for the community.

Read More: Kensington Island still in limbo

But due to several political and regulatory hurdles over the years — as well as a few legal battles — none of the projects have yet been realized.

McMahon says despite the rocky past, the “stars have aligned” this time around. He brought up revisions to the company’s Master Development Agreement with the Comox Valley Regional District, which were approved in December 2017.

Read More: Revised master development agreement gives green light to Union Bay development

“Everything is approved now. Before, we had ongoing hurdles we kept trying to overcome. Everything has improved,” he said.

Next steps

Before construction of any of the housing units can occur, Kensington will have to supply a wastewater treatment facility in order to service the projects.

“We have to get the wastewater treatment plant up and running before we can sell any homes,” he said. “In order to do that, we need to get the pipes in the ground, we need to get roads built. We were meeting this morning talking about where the pipes are going to go.”

McMahon said the company has applied to the Ministry of Environment to begin work on implementing a wastewater treatment facility.

“That application is in the process,” he said.

McMahon added the goal is to possibly begin construction on homes by summer 2019.

“Before that, there will be roads, pipes put in the ground. There will be all the underground servicing going in,” he said.

Just Posted

Vanier basketball star earns scholarship with University of Saskatchewan Huskies

Levi Timmermans was the Towhees’ leading scorer and MVP this season, as well as an Island all-star

Hospice care to remain at The Views until purpose-built location is completed in 2020

The four community hospice beds at The Views facility at the St.… Continue reading

Courtenay man arrested after fleeing police twice

A 33-year-old Courtenay man is facing charges including obstructing a police officer… Continue reading

Compass Adventure sails into tourism market

The Comox-based sailing school is offering two-hour guided tours for sailing newbies

Lake Trail to be seismically upgraded

The project is a partial replacement that will ensure the entire school will be seismically safer

Monster trucks bring the noise at Black Creek’s Saratoga Speedway (video)

Thousands of racing fans were in Black Creek on Saturday and Sunday… Continue reading

Ferry sailing cancelled after ship’s second officer falls ill

Coastal Inspiration’s 8:15 p.m. sailing to Nanaimo on Tuesday cancelled, passengers to be compensated

B.C. man recounts intense rescue of couple caught in mudslide

Something told Dan Anderson to go back to the scene of a major mudslide on the long weekend.

Comox Valley schools project student enrolment increase

Council briefs: School district board meeting, May 22

The priciest home for sale in Canada: A $38M Vancouver penthouse

Canada’s luxury real estate: The top 10 most expensive properties for sale right now

9 temperature records broken across B.C. as warm weather continues

Clearwater, Golden, Williams Lake, Malahat a few of the cities that broke records Wednesday

COLUMN: Stanley Cup final prediction

Upstart Vegas Golden Knights clash with Washington Capitals

Vancouver Island wildfire burning near Campbell River coal mine

The fire is suspected to be human caused at this time

Big brew tanks headed for Chilliwack wrapped to look like beer cans

Snap a #beertanks selfie if you see massive tanks en route to Chilliwack

Most Read