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

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