Union Bay water picture less murky after agreement reached
By Scott Stanfield – Comox Valley Record May 8, 2012
Kensington Island Properties took another step forward Friday when the regional district and Union Bay Improvement District (UBID) signed an agreement that will enable the company to proceed with constructing a water filtration system for the Island community.
“The water resolution is now reached, which gives KIP the go-ahead for water,” KIP vice-president Brian McMahon said.
The company still needs to reach an agreement with the Ministry of Environment for a wastewater treatment plant, which needs the Comox Valley Regional District’s stamp of approval, as was the case with a water infrastructure agreement between KIP and the UBID.
The CVRD board signed a master development agreement in 2010. A clause calling for a transfer of the water licence to the regional district had been a sticking point for the UBID throughout discussions.
UBID board chair Carol Molstad said Friday’s agreement recognizes the long-term need for water management and allows Union Bay to retain control of the UBID water supply system.
It also identifies two conditions under which a transfer of the district’s water supply assets could occur — if the UBID requests a transfer and the CVRD accepts, or the Province changes UBID’s letters patent and requires a transfer. But Molstad said neither of these triggers will happen in the foreseeable future.
“We have been given every indication that the Province has no intention of forcing a transfer,” she said in a statement. “UBID retains ownership of the land around and under the lake as well as the pipeline right of way, including after a potential transfer.”
Before applying for a building permit or subdividing, the regional district says KIP needs to prove there is an adequate amount of water from Langley Lake to supply the land in question.
McMahon expects to reconvene soon with the ministry and consultants to discuss the wastewater treatment plant.
“The grass is growing and the paint is drying,” he quipped, referring to the 13 years that have passed since KIP purchased 1,000-plus acres in Union Bay.
The company plans to build houses, a golf course, a marina walkway, and a series of parks and trails. McMahon said KIP has so far invested more than $12 million into the project.
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The centrepiece of KIP’s proposal is a Scottish Links-style, 18-hole destination golf course overlooking Georgia Strait, designed by world-renowned golf course architect Gil Hanse.
The Philadelphia-based Hanse built Castle Stuart in Scotland, named course of the year by Golf Magazine in 2009. The publication also named him Golf Architect of the Year.
The Olympic planning committee has chosen Hanse to be the golf course architect for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
In addition, Donald Trump has asked Hanse to rebuild the course at the Doral Golf Resort in Florida.
“His stock price has gone up substantially since we got him,” said Kensington Island Properties vice-president Brian McMahon. “He’s going to be here hands on to build it.”
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