A second protest was held in front of the Union Bay Improvement District office on Thursday, with residents lined up along the highway, holding signs and voicing their concerns about their local governing board.
A similar protest was held two weeks prior, with residents showing their disapproval of the cancellation of board meetings, as well as their closure to the public. Many also showed their support for trustee Susanna Kaljur who had been temporarily suspended from the board.
READ MORE: UBID board suspends trustee
A Thursday’s protest, Kaljur stood on the side of the highway, alongside approximately 35 residents, holding a sign emblazoned with the words, “We want clean water now”.
Though she has been reinstated to the board, she said she is angered by the cancelled February and March meetings as there are currently many important issues that need a functioning board to progress.
Kaljur said her hope for the protest was to raise awareness about some of the issues and to get two like-minded candidates to run for the two board positions available in the upcoming election.
“We have a lot of things at play like the water treatment plant – our tenders are up right as we speak,” she said. “With two people and myself, we regain the majority and we will get [a service agreement] initiated with the Comox Valley Regional District so that we can proceed with our treatment plant and all the other infrastructure that needs to be done.”
Kaljur explained that entering into a service agreement with the CVRD would mean the regional district would take over the administration and the collection of the taxes, and Union Bay would also then qualify for infrastructure grants and municipal financing. Currently, as an improvement district, UBID does not qualify for these grants to cover the estimated $4 million cost of a water treatment plant.
“In essence, that move would save 700 households $2 million because that’s what the borrowing costs would be to borrow $4 million at your regular interest rate over 25 years,” she said.
Kaljur also discussed her unlawful suspension from the board, the closing of UBID meetings to the public in January and the changed election date. At the in-camera January meeting, which Kaljur was not a part of, the election date was moved five days before the Annual General Meeting, a move Kaljur worries will prevent landowners from making an informed decision while voting.
This is a sentiment that some of the protesters shared as well.
“My concern is that we won’t have a financial report and we won’t know about the new water treatment plant before the election,” said one landowner.
Another landowner expressed her concern for the ongoing boil water advisory and the lack of information that has come from the board.
“It’s pretty upsetting that we don’t get representation,” she said. “I’ve been here for only a year and a half and I’m just shocked. We’re being kept in the dark.”
The election is scheduled for April 20 with the advanced poll on April 9. The AGM is scheduled for April 25.
Kaljur’s term as trustee is finished in April 2020 and she says she is not planning on running for another term.