This story was reported by Macleans Magazine and given to me by a local Union Bay resident.
A lost world returns
BY TERRY GLAVIN ·
Human remains unearthed on Vancouver Island have resurfaced the tragic story of the Pentlatch people
On a sunny day in August, at the controls of a Komatsu 300 excavator, 32-year-old Jesse McKay was pulling up a gnarled and rotted old-growth tree stump on the north side of Washer Creek, just outside Union Bay, a sleepy old Vancouver Island community overlooking the Strait of Georgia about two hours’ drive north of Victoria. A massive commercial and residential project was going in, and McKay was picking up some work there.
The Union Bay Improvement District’s (UBID) referendum to convert its water supply, fire protection and street lighting services to the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) has resulted in 72% of votes in favour of conversion. More than half of the eligible voters cast ballots during the advance and regular voting day, on November 28, 2020. 418 votes were in favour of the conversion compared with 159 votes against. “The landowners have provided clear direction to the UBID board with respect to conversion, and on behalf of the board I want to thank all landowners who took the time to express their opinion,” UBID Chair Ian Munro stated following the vote. “I recognize that this is an historically significant moment for our community, as UBID has been in place for 60 years. However, UBID does not define the character and significance of Union Bay. We as residents do that, and I feel proud to be a part of this community going forward.” The referendum occurred following an extensive study into the governance, finance, and operations of the improvement district. The study resulted in a comparison between service delivery under the improvement district and under the regional district as well as included discussions with stakeholders and the public through online and in-person information sessions. “UBID, CVRD, and the Province worked well together.” noted Area A Director Daniel Arbour. “I am quite conscious of the high public expectations in Union Bay regarding responsible stewardship of these public services. As we move into the CVRD transition, I look forward to furthering the work on upgrading the water pipes and giving consideration to a new fire hall in consultation with the community.” A few steps are required before the conversion can officially occur:
Both the improvement district and the CVRD must adopt board resolutions agreeing to move the process forward.
The Minister of Municipal Affairs will need to prepare and approve the legal papers and make a recommendation to the Lieutenant Governor to dissolve the improvement district and for the assets and liabilities to be transferred to the Comox Valley Regional District.
Elected officials and staff from both organizations will begin the detailed planning to have a seamless transition; and an advisory group will provide leadership and guidance throughout the transition.
Conversion is being targeted for July 1, 2021. For more information on the referendum results and the conversion study, visit the Union Bay Improvement District website at https://union-bay.ca/.
If the majority of electors vote for conversion, how would the transition occur? If the referendum results indicate that the majority of electors vote for UBID conversion, the UBID Board and the CVRD Board would both be asked to adopt resolutions supporting the conversion. The Minister would then consider the request, and if approved then implementation would occur partway through 2021. Local knowledge from Union Bay would be utilized as much as possible through existing UBID staff and Trustee input, as well as a potential committee to advise CVRD. The transition would seek to maintain consistent levels of services until a solid understanding of operations and financials is obtained. This would also provide transparency as the CVRD goes through the technical and legislative requirements to establish the local service areas for water, fire, and street lighting.
Recommendation from the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer: THAT the Comox Valley Regional District remains committed to working with K’ómoks First Nation towards implementation of the Royston/Union Bay Sewer Extension Project;
The CVRD is committed to reconciliation and relationship building with the KFN and support KFN in building capacity towards independent government and future economic stability. The Royston/Union Bay Sewer Extension Project provides a long-term viable option for sewer servicing of KFN’s south lands and compliments the extension of water services already committed to, therefore realizing the full potential of these lands. The project will also help to restore the natural environment of Baynes Sound and ensure ongoing safe access for the KFN to shellfish for food,social and ceremonial purposes as well as support their extensive aquaculture interests in Baynes Sound.
To facilitate ongoing communication and collaboration, this project will be a standing agenda item at monthly CVRD/KFN meetings. The CVRD will also work with the KFN to capture the recommendations of this report in a Memorandum of Understanding.
Where—-Union Bay Community Centre 5401 S. Island HWY
When—- Saturday November 28th
9:00a.m. to 6:00p.m.
Make your Voice heard
From Chair Munro Update
This past two month period has been important and impactful for the future of Union Bay Improvement District as we have seen the publishing of the draft Conversion Study report, virtual and in person open houses and the start of voting for the referendum question of “Are you in favour of dissolving the Union Bay Improvement District and converting to Comox Valley Regional District local service areas?” As I write this the virtual open house video has been viewed over 230 times on YouTube and a dozen people attended in person sessions. It appears that we had a good start to voter turnout on November 10th, but we encourage all eligible voters to make their preference known. A strong turnout indicates a strong signal to the board, and to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing who willmake the final decision on the direction moving forward. Please vote and express yourself!
Essential Service Provider The Union Bay Improvement District (UBID) is an essential service provider as defined by the Province of British Columbia. “Essential services are those daily services essential to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning. They are the services British Columbians come to rely on in their daily lives”. Further, all employees of UBID are consider Essential Service Providers in their role as support or operations. With this, it is vital that a COVID Safety Plan is adhered to as per the most current recommendations from the Provincial Health Office. Internal protocols will be updated accordingly.