Union Bay voters will decide on the fate of the community this month.
A referendum question will ask whether Union Bay Improvement District (UBID) services should be folded within the Comox Valley Regional District.
In recent months, there have been studies, focus groups and information sessions for the community to look at what changing could mean versus maintaining the status quo. The specific question, as proposed by the consulting firm Urban Systems is: “Are you in favour of dissolving the Union Bay Improvement District and converting to Comox Valley Regional District local service areas?”
Voters in the community south of Courtenay can choose during advance polls on Tuesday, Nov. 10 and 17, with general voting day set for Saturday, Nov. 28. Voting time each day occurs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Union Bay Community Hall. Election staff will be following COVID-19 safety protocols, which include mask requirements, physical distancing, availability of hand sanitizer and the presence of screens or barriers between staff and the public.
UBID recently released a final draft of the conversion study report on its website. The draft provided a basis for public information sessions in the community in October in preparation for the referendum. The services in question, currently provided by UBID, are fire protection, water and streetlights. The report examines the implications, including costs, of making the services the responsibility of the CVRD compared with continuing to have the UBID board and staff oversee them.
“This report provides the basis for discussion amongst UBID residents and ratepayers, as they look to make an informed decision on the future of the Union Bay Improvement District. While there is additional information that could have further assisted in our analysis, the report provides a neutral and unbiased view of the potential impacts and considerations of both options,” Urban Systems senior planner Dan Huang writes in the concluding remarks in the final report.
In recent years, the board has seen division, including resignations, suspensions and legal action. This led last fall to the process to look into how the community should be governed, with the consultants and the CVRD acting as partners throughout the process.
To vote in this month’s referendum, a person must be a Canadian citizen; 18 years of age or older; an owner of land in the UBID service area, or the spouse of a landowner with a substantial interest or right to possession of land; an owner of land in the improvement district on title for at least 30 days previous to the day of registration; a resident of B.C. for the previous six months; and entitled to be registered as a voter under the Elections Act.
The Union Bay Community Hall is at 5401 South Island Hwy. Anyone needing further information can contact the UBID office by phone at 250-335-2511, fax at 250-335-1178 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.