Ian Munro, chair for the Union Bay Improvement District, says it will hold off looking for a permanent CAO until the governance question is settled. Photo supplied

UBID picks interim CAO, waits for governance study

Chair Munro says they need to wait for community to settle its future

With a change in the top administrative post at the Union Bay Improvement District, the board chair doesn’t expect anyone to be hired permanently just yet.

The community, according to Ian Munro, will need to settle the question of its governance first.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen with respect to the landowners and their vote at a referendum, when we’re able to have that,” he told the Record.

He said the board cannot look to hire someone permanently until the community decides its fate.

“We felt that an interim strategy was the right thing to do,” he said.

Union Bay has been in the midst of looking at whether to keep the status quo as an improvement district that oversees water, fire protection and streetlights for the community south of Courtenay or to move these services within the surrounding Comox Valley Regional District.

Munro said as far as the governance process, itself, the board has decided to leave any comments to the CVRD or the consultant hired to guide the process. He is expecting the consultants to produce a draft report soon, with an eye toward a final report at some point in August.

In the meantime, UBID has had a change of chief administrative officer as it was announced Gordon Mason retired on July 1. According to UBID minutes, Mason took over as CAO in the spring of 2017, replacing interim CAO Martin Gee. In February 2017, Gee, in turn, had taken over from Kevin Douville, who started as CAO in August 2012. He is currently manager of financial planning for the CVRD.

In the news release, Munro stated Mason had contributed to key projects such as negotiating a water infrastructure agreement with Union Bay Estates and the construction of the new water treatment plant.

RELATED STORY: Union Bay water plant now finished

To fill in, deputy CAO Janice Swanson has been appointed as acting administrator. As a news release states, she will work expanded hours as needed to cover the new responsibilities.

“Janice has great experience on the operational side of things,” Munro said.

A UBID newsletter from 2018 noted Swanson was hired as deputy CAO that June and that she has a strong background in local government and finance.

The board has also retained the services of Gary Nason to help them work through holding an AGM and elections under social distancing guidelines, as well as finalizing the governance study to present to property owners. Nason is a consultant with over 21 years of combined CAO experience with the District of Central Saanich, the District of Oak Bay and the City of Colwood. He was also retained by the UBID board in 2019 to help improve governance processes.

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