Patient McMahon still hanging on

Brian McMahon has already ‘played’ No. 7, which the vice-president of Kensington Island Properties calls a “killer hole.”

Kensington Island Properties vice-president Brian McMahon stands next to what he anticipates will be the ninth hole of Kensington’s golf course

Brian McMahon has already ‘played’ No. 7, which the vice-president of Kensington Island Properties calls a “killer hole.”

Quite a feat, considering the golf course has yet to include a single sand trap, fairway or pin. But by the time of his anticipated soft opening in the spring or summer of 2012, the Scottish Links-style course will straddle the Old Island Highway, culminating in an 18th green next to a marina.

Kensington’s plan also includes housing (a 3,354-door maximum buildout to be exact), a pedestrian walkway around the marina, a series of parks and trails, and a freshwater treatment plant for water coming out of Langley Lake.

It may appear nothing has transpired in the 14-plus years since Kensington purchased 1,060 acres in Union Bay, but McMahon said the company has already spent millions of dollars on stream enhancement, security and other expenses.

Calling him a patient man would be an understatement, considering the project has been so close yet so far away time and time again.

“It’s been tough,” McMahon said.

In 2009, following a legal challenge by the Baynes Sound Area Society for Sustainability, KIP’s original bylaws were thrown out by the B.C. Supreme Court, putting the project back to square one. Later in the year, it received third reading for the fourth time at the inaugural Comox Valley Regional District meeting.

The company appeared to have received the green light last year when the CVRD board approved a master development agreement. However, Kensington has since needed to re-apply for development permits, which expired in May. The company is also required to compile another storm water management plan, an updated water master plan and a sewer servicing plan. McMahon hopes to have water and sewer in place by the fall.

Langley Lake will not be used to irrigate the golf course.

“We have huge volumes of water; we just need to capture it,” McMahon said. “The land will be totally irrigated with our own water.”

When and if the time comes to start turning dirt, KIP plans to build homes on 830 acres in Union Bay.

The company also plans to donate land for the construction of a new firehall and possibly a school.

“There’s going to be growth, and there’s going to be kids,” said McMahon, who hopes to start building by spring 2012.

In conjunction with the Hart/Washer Salmon Enhancement Society, of which McMahon is a member, KIP has been trying to restore Washer Creek to enable the return of salmon.

“We have chum and coho that are coming back. The numbers are increasing,” McMahon said.

For nearly 15 years, the company has been monitoring wells on a piece of Crown land scattered with coal on the ocean side of the property. The parcel contains an acid-generating contaminant that needs to be capped before the golf course is built.

“We know what’s in it. We know what has to be done,” McMahon said. “The Ministry of Environment has approved our remediation plan, and we’re going to get going on it.”

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