Union Bay Improvement District Conversion Study Excepts Referendum Question

INAUGURAL BOARD MEETING MINUTES
Thursday, September 17, 2020

2020-17-09 – 6 – Motion – To accept the referendum question as proposed by Dan
Huang, Urban Systems upon approval from Catherine Lee, Province of BC, as follows:
“Are you in favour of dissolving the Union Bay Improvement District and converting all
services, assets and liabilities to the Comox Valley Regional District as local service
areas?” Moved, seconded, carried (3 for and 2 against)

October 1, 2020 COW ( committee of the whole) Meeting

2020-17-09 – 4 – Motion – To schedule Review of Governance Study and discuss
outstanding issues and concerns on the Thursday, October 1st, 2020 COW meeting. Moved, seconded, carried

I will post more information on dates as I receive them…

Best of the week

Union Bay Air Quality Health Index High Risk

Union Bay into third day of 10+-10 high risk.

Smoke may smell good, but it’s not good for you

While not everyone has the same sensitivity to wildfire smoke, it’s still a good idea to avoid breathing smoke if you can help it. And when smoke is heavy, such as can occur in close proximity to a wildfire, it’s bad for everyone.

Smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic materials burn. The biggest health threat from smoke is from fine particles. These microscopic particles can penetrate deep into your lungs. They can cause a range of health problems, from burning eyes and a runny nose to aggravated chronic heart and lung diseases. Exposure to particle pollution is even linked to premature death.

https://www.lungsask.ca/protect-your-lungs/air-quality/forest-fires-and-lung-health-fact-sheet

Stay Safe

UNION BAY IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT CONVERSION STUDY

Union Bay Improvement District
Conversion Study
1.2. KEY ISSUES from Final Draft Report September 2020


As outlined in the Terms of Reference for this study, UBID faces a number of ongoing
governance challenges, including:

  1. three resignations at the Board in July 2016 resulting in the
    loss of quorum,
  2. suspension (and then reinstatement) of a Board Trustee,
  3. the resignation of the Board Chair elected in April 2019,
  4. the resignation of the new Board Chair again in April 2020,
  5. and currently the requirement to extend the terms of two Board members in order to maintain quorum.


In addition to governance challenges, there are potential service:

1) delivery issues related to the capacity of UBID staff to address increasing demands due to growth and development,

2) as well increasing regulations and service level requirements for water and fire service delivery.
3) There have been a number of staff transitions in recent years, including the UBID Chief
Administrative Officer recently retiring in July 2020.


Finally, with respect to finances,

  1. as an improvement district UBID was not able to access senior government grant funding for its most recent water treatment plant project estimated at a capital cost of $4.2 million.
  2. The entire amount is therefore being funded and financed by the ratepayers.
  3. As a small community there is concern over the potential burden of infrastructure
    debt for both new and aging assets.

Concerns from a Union Bay landowner’s

  1. Cost to maintain the new water treatment plant and other unseen expenditures. e.g. a required new outbuilding for employees working on the Water Treatment site.
  2. Water system upgrades, example replacement of water mains, specially those that are asbestos pipe.
  3. New fire hall, and required replacement of equipment.

Question…..How much is in your wallet

Union Bay Conversion Study Key Summary Observations Highlights

Regardless of the option the assets and liabilities will remain with the community ratepayers

Based on the available information and assumptions in the study, conversion to a Regional District local service is estimated to be cost neutral (with a potential small cost savings depending on labour costs).

Conversion to a Regional District local service would mean the dissolution of the UBID Board of Trustees, but

—Conversion to a Regional District local service would provide access to a larger pool of expertise

Conversion of the Fire Service would involve the provision of an annual operating grant from the CVRD to the Union Bay Volunteer Firefighters Association

—Although the analysis was based on the UBID 2020 budget, there will be additional costs under either option

—Costs for watermain replacement could increase under the conversion option, due to the CVRD’s higher level of service for watermain repair. However,

For more information, please refer to the UBID website (www.union-bay.ca) under “UBID Governance Review” or e-mail your questions to : UBIDgovernance@urbansystems.ca

Union Bay Sunflowers with a personality

From our Garden, Can you pick out Droopy, or I follow the sun and I’m taking my time….

Sunflowers are a member of the aster family. The large flower head is actually an inflorescence, or composite flower, made up of two kinds of tiny florets. The disc florets are located in the center of the composite flower, and the ray florets bear the outer ring of petal-like structures. 
Ray florets are sterile, and disc florets have both male and female structures, including a single ovary that develops into a sunflower seed.
A single flower head may have up to two thousand disc florets, each with the potential to develop into a seed. If there are multiple flower heads on the same plant, the number of disc florets per head will be much lower. The disc florets open in sequence, beginning at the periphery of the disc and moving inward.
Each floret is first male, with the pollen-bearing anthers extending above the rim of the floret. Later, the style pushes up and the stigmatic lobes spread, opening the receptive surfaces for pollination. If pollinator activity is adequate, the pollen is removed from each floret before the stigma opens, reducing the chances for self-pollination.
The anatomical features of the florets of the sunflower Helianthus annuus var. macrocarpus are being studied through cooperative research involving the USDA North Central States Bee Research Lab, Madison. WI and the USDA Oilseed Research Lab, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND.
The purpose of thesestudies is to identify and evaluate all of the structures of the sunflower inflorescence that influence honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) visitation.The sunflower inflorescence has two types of flowers on a single head or capitulum.
Typically, the outher rim is defined by pistillate, sterile ray florets. Each is composed of five united petals that range in color from cream or yellow through yellow-orange to almost red. The remainder of the capitulum is filled with hermaphroditic, protandrous disc florets. The corolla tube of each floret is comprised of five fused petals which open distally to accommodate the emerging anther tube. Five fused anthers are attached to the base of the swollen corolla by flattened filaments.

https://sites.google.com/site/npncitizenscience/sunflower-anatomy

We found that migrating birds will move under the hanging sunflower head to eat the seeds and bees are the pollinators.

Union Bay Improvement District Conversion Study Final Draft Report September 2020

KEY ISSUES

As outlined in the Terms of Reference for this study, UBID faces a number of ongoing governance challenges, including:

  • three resignations at the Board in July 2016 resulting in the
    loss of quorum,
  •  suspension (and then reinstatement) of a Board Trustee, the resignation of the Board Chair elected in April 2019,
  •  the resignation of the new Board Chair again in April 2020,
  • and currently the requirement to extend the terms of two Board members in order to maintain quorum.

In addition to governance challenges, there are potential service delivery issues related to the
capacity of UBID staff to address increasing demands due to growth and development, as well
as increasing regulations and service level requirements for water and fire service delivery.
There have been a number of staff transitions in recent years, including the UBID Chief
Administrative Officer recently retiring in July 2020.
Finally, with respect to finances, as an improvement district UBID was not able to access senior
government grant funding
for its most recent water treatment plant project estimated at a
capital cost of $4.2 million. The entire amount is therefore being funded and financed by the
ratepayers. As a small community there is concern over the potential burden of infrastructure
debt for both new and aging assets.

STUDY OBJECTIVES


The UBID Conversion Study is a joint initiative between the CVRD and UBID to review the
existing governance and administration framework for service delivery by UBID, compile
stakeholder views on how the current services are being provided, and examine two
governance options as follows:


Option A. Convert UBID’s services to CVRD services, or
Option B. Improve governance and service delivery in Union Bay while maintaining
UBID’s structure as an improvement district.

A key policy principle of the conversion process is that consideration must be given to the
opinion of local residents,
as well as all interests in the community, in order to determine the
future of governance within UBID. Both the study content and public consultation process
follow industry best practices outlined in the Improvement District Conversion Guide (2004)
published by the Ministry of Municipal affairs and Housing.
Following the completion of this study, the UBID Board of Trustees will review the report and
feedback from the residents,
in order to determine which governance option to move forward
with (i.e. conversion to the Regional District or remain as an Improvement District). Depending
on the level of community support, additional elector assent may be obtained by UBID and/or
CVRD, which could include a referendum

Note…Sorry about the broken paragraphs, still working on cut and paste, thought this was to important and needed to post right away…

This is the link from UBID web site;

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wOswbCsW-iAe_clRhBC-HdftMifSS85A/view

PLEASE READ to help UNDERSTAND HOW IMPORTANT THE study is for you and the UNION BAY COMMUNITY.

Update from Chair Munro..

Hi Paul,

Thanks for using your platform to highlight this very important document to the landowners of Union Bay.  I’d like to clarify a couple of things in your email to help get the most out of the right resources.

First, the most effective place to direct questions will be to Urban Systems, who is the consultant who put this report together.  There is a specific email address for questions relating to the study … UBIDgovernance@urbansystems.ca.

Second, an open house is being planned for the fall where landowners will be able to speak to those who prepared the study and gather further information.  Final planning for this event including online options to help manage public health concerns is underway. Keep your eyes on the UBID website for more information.

Finally, the trustees on the working committee were Trustees Kaljur and Bitten. Trustee Bitten has left the board leaving Trustee Kaljur as the remaining representative.

Hope this helps!

Ian Munro

Chair, UBID Board of Trustees

KEY SUMMARY OBSERVATIONS

While the report is intended to provide a neutral analysis of the potential options, there a number of key summary observations outlined which may help the residents and elected officials of UBID and CVRD in making an informed decision.

• Regardless of the option the assets and liabilities will remain with the community ratepayers, either as an improvement district or regional district local service. For the latter, although all assets and liabilities would transfer to the Comox Valley Regional District, they would remain with the specific local service established for the Union Bay community for water, fire protection, and street lighting.

• Based on the available information and assumptions in the study, conversion to a Regional District local service is estimated to be cost neutral (with a potential small cost savings depending on labour costs). This is based on the CVRD support service costs of approximately 4 – 5% of expenditures for water and fire protection, with nominal support service costs for street lighting.

• Conversion to a Regional District local service would mean the dissolution of the UBID Board of Trustees, but local representation would still be through the Electoral Area Director for Area “A”.

• Conversion to a Regional District local service would provide access to a larger pool of expertise (e.g. engineering, planning, finance and administration), access to senior government grants, and financing through Municipal Finance Authority (MFA).

• Conversion of the Fire Service would involve the provision of an annual operating grant from the CVRD to the Union Bay Volunteer Firefighters Association, who would then operate the fire services contract with the Regional District, for administration, bookkeeping services, insurance and utilities, and volunteer firefighter remuneration. The Union Bay Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chief would become employees of the CVRD.

• Although the analysis was based on the UBID 2020 budget, there will be additional costs under either option including additional operating costs for the new water treatment plant (commissioned in May 2020) and additional labour costs due to the new union collective agreement (currently under negotiation).

• Costs for watermain replacement could increase under the conversion option, due to the CVRD’s higher level of service for watermain repair. However, with either option it is recommended that additional asset management practices be incorporated into the organization, in order to support sustainable service delivery.

NEXT STEPS

This newsletter and Draft Report will be used to inform the community at the upcoming Public Open House (both virtual and in-person) in Fall 2020. Based on the feedback from residents and ratepayers, the Final Report will be presented to both UBID and CVRD Boards to determine next steps, which may include a community vote through a referendum.

For more information, please refer to the UBID website (www.union-bay.ca) under “UBID Governance Review”

or e-mail your questions to : UBIDgovernance@urbansystems.ca

Important…. talk to your neighbours and share

Union Bay Fall Webworms

Out in the garden today and look what I found on my apple and mountain ash trees….

MOUNTAIN ASH TREE

WEDWORM NEST ON MOUNTAIN ASH TREE

AS MANY AS FIVE ON THE APPLE TREE

The difference between Tent Caterpillars and Fall webworms is that tent caterpillars show up earlier in the year and are dark caterpillars with rusty brown hairs. Fall webworms show up in July-August and they are paler caterpillars with white hairs.”

“The best advice is to let mother nature take care of them. Fall webworms are a natural phenomenon, they are natural to the area and they have many natural enemies.”

Tent caterpillars are moderately sized caterpillars, or moth larvae, belonging to the genus Malacosoma in the family Lasiocampidae. Twenty-six species have been described, six of which occur in North America and the rest in Eurasia. Some species are considered to have subspecies as well. They are often considered pests due to their habit of defoliating trees. They are among the most social of all caterpillars and exhibit many noteworthy behaviors.

Tent caterpillars are readily recognized because they are social, colorful, diurnal and build conspicuous silk tents in the branches of host trees. Some species, such as the eastern tent caterpillarMalacosoma americanum, and caterpillars of the small eggar moth, Eriogaster lanestris, build a single large tent which is typically occupied through the whole of the larval stage, while others build a series of small tents that are sequentially abandoned. Whereas tent caterpillars make their tents in the nodes and branches of a tree’s limbs, fall webworms enclose leaves and small branches at the ends of the limbs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tent_caterpillar

Well I did not know that, however I have a plan to remove them….

For the Mountain Ash the nest was on the lower branches so I removed the nest by hand, now my Apple Tree three nests were high up, and I dowsed them with a mixture of dove soap in a sprayer under water pressure.

Plan B- I will use my high pressure gas washer and blast the nest from the tree……

Union Bay Improvement District Landowners Were Treated to its first ever livestream Video AGM

Link to livestream of 2020 AGM Well worth the the time to view.

I watched the meeting via computer and video link and I asked a question. Will the board have working groups? The chair needed more clarification, I sent him this email today.

Good afternoon Chair Munro,

First let me thank you for turning this board around. The AGM was well organized and factual. Hopefully, this forum will be available to future meetings.

My question to you from video link was rushed so I will attempt to clarify. The Trustees Handbook page 30 discusses committees.

Committees

There may be times when a board of trustees will need to reduce its workload or obtain expertise from people other than the trustees or improvement district employees. One of the ways to manage these needs is for the board of trustees to create a committee. There are two types of committees that can be established: a select committee; and a standing committee.

 A select committee is established to consider or inquire into a specific matter and then report its findings and recommendations to the board. For example, a committee may be established to investigate options for water treatment, or to review contractor bids. Once the review has been undertaken and a report is presented to the board of Trustees, the committee’s business is finished, and it ceases to exist.

 A standing committee is established for matters that are more ongoing in nature. For example, where an improvement district delivers multiple services, the board of trustees may choose to establish a committee that deals with issues related to one of those services. The board may also want to establish a standing committee to deal with specific subjects such as finance, or public works.

 The board of trustees establishes select and standing committees and appoints their members. Persons who are not trustees may be appointed to committees, but at least one member of the committee must be a trustee.

Select and standing committees are purely advisory in nature. The board of trustees is ultimately responsible for making all decisions being considered by a committee and cannot delegate any of its authority to a committee. The board of trustees is not obligated to accept the committee’s advice

 The role of the committee and its purpose must be clearly defined by the board when the committee is established so that its members can focus on accomplishing the task at hand rather than discussing the committee’s role. Committees are not intended to undertake or duplicate any actions that are the responsibility of improvement district employees, and committees do not have any authority to give them direction.

 Select and standing committee meetings can be scheduled for times that are convenient to its members. In the interest of transparency, committee meetings should be open to the public – just as trustees’ meetings should be open.

I was on the 2015  Public works committee chaired by Trustee Alan Webb and the new trustee Eve Gaudreau was chair of the Fire committee Under Chair Molstad.

Hope that clarifies my question,

Respectfully submitted.

Paul Allard

Chair response,

Hi Paul.

Thanks for the question at the AGM and for clarifying it further here.  My answer wasn’t thorough at the meeting so I appreciate the ability to elaborate.

First I will answer as the Chair of the previous board with the caveat that the new board will elect a new Chair, and establish their own strategy with respect to committees.

With respect to the past board there were a few committee related activities:

1. The board had recently asked our Fire Chief to recommend committee members for a select committee to recommend what to purchase for a replacement fire engine.  That is in process and should be brought forward to the new board.

2. A Governance Study Working Committee was struck by CVRD and UBID had three members on that committee: Trustees Kaljur and Bitten along with Acting Administrator Swanson. Membership on that committee may be reviewed by the new board but at present nothing has been proposed. 

3.  In 2019 Trustees were appointed to head standing committees for Water and Fire services respectively. To the best of my knowledge those committees were not active over the past year. It will be up to the new board to decide whether these committees will remain.