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Kensington water supply discussions continuing for Union Bay

By Scott Stanfield – Comox Valley Record 

The Province is looking for a regional solution to Union Bay water service.

Talks continue between the Comox Valley Regional District and Union Bay Improvement District regarding water supply as relating to the proposed Kensington Island Properties development.
CVRD board chair Edwin Grieve estimates about half the issues were understood by the end of the meeting.
“There’s definitely a will to work together,” he said last week. “There’s been a lot of good dialogue, and a lot of concerns brought forward we haven’t considered. We’re getting closer.”
Discussions resume March 5. Until then, Grieve said the break will give the UBID a chance to speak with its members while the CVRD can clarify matters regarding the Comox Valley Water Supply Strategy.
“I think we have a ways to go but it’s nothing that’s insurmountable because the end result is definitely going to be worth it,” Grieve said. “We certainly don’t want to hold up the developer any more than we have to…. The more work we do now before everything gets going I think the better it’s going to be in the long run. And obviously there’s value for the taxpayer if we don’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time.”
Kensington 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. Last spring, KIP and the UBID ratified a Water Treatment Infrastructure Agreement worth $1.7 million.
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 CVRD meeting. The company appeared to have received the green light in 2010 when the CVRD board approved a Master Development Agreement. However, Kensington needed to reapply for expired development permits, and update storm water management, water and sewer servicing plans.
A critical part of discussions involves water licensing. The UBID is objecting to an apparent clause in the MDA that calls for a transfer of the licence to the CVRD.
“It’s a matter of when,” Grieve said. “At what point do we take over the bulk water? We’re just suppliers; we’re not the distribution network.
“The Province has been clear,” he added. “They want a regional solution to water in the Comox Valley. We’re talking about a 50-year water supply strategy.”

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