A $1.7-million gift from Kensington Island Properties to Union Bay will help ensure residents of the seaside community have clean drinking water.
The gift comes in the form of a Water Treatment Infrastructure Agreement, which the Union Bay Improvement District and KIP ratified last week.
The UBID says the agreement will provide mandated water treatment at no cost to landowners, and will solve surface water challenges around turbidity.
The agreement also represents a step forward for the developer, which had hoped to have the water issue resolved a long time ago, KIP vice-president Brian McMahon said at a Monday news conference.
“We’re getting close,” McMahon said, mindful of the limited window in a building season. “We have a lot of pipe to lay.”
The company has planned to build houses, a golf course, a marina walkway, and a series of parks and trails since purchasing 1,000-plus acres in Union Bay more than 10 years ago.
The plan includes a freshwater treatment plant for water coming out of Langley Lake. McMahon figures the company needs about six or seven months to secure upgrades to the water system before it can apply for subdivision and building permits.
The company also plans to donate land for the construction of a new firehall and possibly a school.
“They (KIP) want the best for the community that is involved where they are located,” UBID chair Alan de Jersey said.
McMahon said the agreement is the first of multiple phases of water treatment, the first of which involves a new UV facility and filtration system at the McLeod Road reservoir, which will serve “about 500 doors” in addition to about 650 existing Union Bay residents.
Later plans include upgrades to water lines and roads.
“We have been working with (UBID) over the past years so that we can have certainty,” McMahon said, noting stipulations of a master development agreement between the regional district and Kensington. “We needed certainty of water before we could start moving forward.”
UBID trustees Cleve Goldswain and Bruce Livesey — both members of the Taxpayers for Accountable Governance (TAG) group in Union Bay — opposed the agreement.
The UBID suggests there was “third-party involvement” in reviewing the confidential document, which Goldswain and Livesey denied. According to the UBID, reports submitted by the two trustees were authored by a third party, those being TAG members Carol and Dave Molstad.
“I’m outraged that this thing was leaked to the community by Livesey and Goldswain,” McMahon said. “That’s outrageous that a confidential document would be leaked to the community at a time when this thing was so crucial to strike a deal.”
After de Jersey asked for Goldswain’s and Livesey’s resignation, which they refused to do, the UBID board resolved to “investigate and take further action.”
Livesey remained silent during the news conference. Goldswain did not attend.
The board notes that Carol Molstad has forwarded her name as a nominee for trustee, to be decided at the UBID AGM on Saturday.
In a news release, Molstad and fellow TAG member Anne Alcock, also a trustee candidate, said KIP “offers an opportunity for us to develop our potential and bring much-needed improvements to Union Bay.
“While we would have preferred a more open process, we congratulate the entire board on achieving this agreement.”
The document is available at www.union-bay.ca.
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Trustees Dave Godfrey and Denis Royer have decided to seek re-election to another three-year UBID term.
“The TAG organization, who have put forward two candidates, have been campaigning that they will take over the board, and that they will bring trust and management back into the UBID, which I find somewhat insulting in so far as they don’t believe that the existing board or even previous boards and the administration have been doing an adequate job,” Godfrey said.
“To not put forward my candidacy — and I believe Denis feels the same way — really is not fair to the majority of landowners in Union Bay. We feel that the majority of them may not agree with the TAG philosophy and would prefer to have an option to decide for themselves.”
Royer is concerned dramatic tax cuts proposed by the TAG group might prevent projects such as a new firehall from coming to fruition.
Saturday’s AGM’s begins at 2 p.m. at the Union Bay Community Centre.