Union Bay voters chose a new direction last fall and held their last annual general meeting on April 29. The improvement district will be transitioning its services to the regional district for July. Record file photo

Union Bay voters chose a new direction last fall and held their last annual general meeting on April 29. The improvement district will be transitioning its services to the regional district for July. Record file photo

New Union Bay water system working, though costly

No boil water advisories, as community prepares for transfer to regional district

In a year marked by major transition for Union Bay, one of the biggest developments was the new water treatment plant.

A major project on the Union Bay Improvement District agenda, the project is costing $5.3 million, including $3.5 million of debt for the community. The original cost was slated to be $4.2 million. In April, the board decided to set up a select committee to gather any information on events and actions that led to under-funding of the plant.

At the same time, UBID itself will be handing over responsibilities to the region. Last fall, most Union Bay voters supported a referendum measure to roll UBID’s services of water, fire protection and streetlighting into the administration of the C0mox Valley Regional District.

The good news is the system seems to be working as planned since coming online a year ago. At the last-ever UBID annual general meeting held on April 29, public works superintendent Dan McGill outlined how the new plant is performing.

“The water system is constantly sampled for turbidity, pH [level], temperature and chlorine 24/7 from our online analyzers,” he said.

Other testing includes Ministry of Health checks of raw water and water in the distribution system for coliform three times a week.

“All of the samples in the distribution system were negative in 2020,” he said.

Of note, there were no boil water advisories after the system started operating. Heavy rain in October increased raw water turbidity, but no advisory was necessary then or through the winter that followed, McGill said. A previous advisory ended last May shortly after the new system went online.

He also outlined the amount of water the community used in 2020, with highlights on the minimum amount on Jan. 27 and the maximum on July 20. Overall, UBID is using 24 per cent of its total annual licence from Langley Lake.

McGill also touched on the number of new connections as well as leak repairs to the systems, particularly on aging pipes.

Board chair Ian Munro thanked McGill, along with other staff, for their efforts. He cited McGill’s efforts to work through adjustments to the new system.

“It’s taken a lot of work on your behalf to stabilize this and give us the great water that we’re all enjoying now,” he said.

During his opening report at the AGM, Munro also noted that boil water advisories should be a thing of the past.

RELATED STORY: Union Bay board hikes water rates due to operating costs

One of the main tasks for the board in the remaining time is to come up with a five-year capital plan for the system, which can be passed on to the CVRD.

For a board that has faced in-fighting and dissent in years, the AGM was business-like in tone, with remaining trustee Susanna Kaljur and former trustee Ted Haraldson, whose term expired April 22, thanking Munro for his work as chair.

During the question period for landowners near the conclusion, board watcher and resident Mary Reynolds said she did not have a question but a comment, which was that she was happy the community had chosen to join with the regional district, and she criticized members of previous boards.

“What we’ve had has just been unacceptable,” she said. “We were not treated properly.”

The remaining board members will meet through May and June for the final steps toward transitioning the UBID services to the regional district. As well, UBID is holding an online open house on May 18, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., to provide information about conversion. People should pre-register through the UBID website at https://union-bay.ca/



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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