Background

Union Bay Estates, formerly known as Kensington Island Properties, is a comprehensive development area within the settlement node of Union Bay (Electoral Area A – Baynes Sound – Denman/Hornby Islands). The development will have a variety of land uses including residential, commercial, institutional, recreational and resort amenities. The Union Bay Estates lands are 309 hectares (764 acres) in size. 

The residential component of the development will be a maximum of 2,889 units, including carriage houses, affordable housing and secondary suites. If the developer donates additional affordable housing lots, beyond what is required, they can build up to 60 more residential lots. Further details are available within the Master Development Agreement.

Aerial Map of Union Bay Estates

Master Development Agreement

The Master Development Agreement was approved by the Comox Valley Regional District Board in 2010 and amended in December 2017. The agreement details community amenities that the developer will provide as well as the installation of infrastructure to ensure road, water, and sewer servicing are available to the lands. The Master Development Agreement and Amending Agreement (which made changes to the original agreement) are intended to be read concurrently.

Details on the amendment can be found in the staff report dated December 8, 2017.

Regional Growth Strategy and Official Community Plan

The subject properties are designated as a Settlement Node in the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) and Rural Comox Valley Official Community Plan (OCP). Settlement Nodes (Union Bay, Saratoga Beach and Mount Washington) are areas where increased growth is anticipated provided new development is appropriately serviced (e.g. with water and sewer).

Zoning Bylaw

In 2010, the subject properties were rezoned to Kensington Comprehensive Development Zone (K-CD). The K-CD zone is divided into five Comprehensive Development Areas (CDAs). Please note, as part of the ongoing zoning bylaw review, the K-CD zone will be updated to reflect amendments to the Master Development Agreement.

Map of Kensington Comprehensive Development Areas (CDAs)Map of Kensington Comprehensive Development Zone (K-CD)

Kensington Comprehensive Development Permit Area

Local governments have the ability to create development permit areas. These are areas that need special consideration prior to development. In order to be issued a development permit there are a series of guidelines a developer needs to address. The guidelines for the Kensington Comprehensive Development Permit Area primarily focus on the form and character of the development. The developer has to obtain a development permit prior to subdividing the lands or constructing a building. The guidelines can be found in the Rural Comox Valley Official Community Plan

Environmental Development Permit Areas

Several environmental development permit areas were created to protect the natural environment. If site alteration is proposed within a development permit area (e.g. removing trees, constructing a building, site grading, etc.) then a development permit is required. For example, site alteration within 30 metres of a watercourse requires an Aquatic and Riparian Habitat Development Permit. Other development permit areas include:

  • Eagle Nest
  • Blue Heron Nest
  • Steep Slopes
  • Shoreline Protection Devices

The development permit guidelines, including what areas they apply to, can be found in the Rural Comox Valley Official Community Plan

Current Activities

  • In October 2018, a collapsed culvert was replaced in Creek 2 (near Washer Road). SLR Consulting led the permitting process with the Ministry of Environment as work is within the jurisdiction of the province. 
  • In November 2018, clearing commenced outside of the development permit areas. This clearing is mostly complete, however grubbing (removal of tree stumps, shrubs, debris, etc) has not yet occurred on much of the site.
  • In January 2019, Leighton Contracting has been installing a temporary construction access to Comprehensive Development Area 2 (CDA-2) from Highway 19A (opposite Washer Road). A permit was issued by Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for this access in December 2018. This work is within the jurisdiction of the Province.
  • As of July 2019, site preparation outside of the environmental development permit areas (e.g. more than 30 metres from a watercourse) is ongoing. This includes a new temporary construction access. 
  • Starting in late-October 2019 and continuing through to late 2019/early 2020, QM Environmental and Wacor Holdings Ltd. will be expanding the roadway on Highway 19A, in the general area of the Jones Street intersection in Union Bay, BC. Construction of a gravel access road is also taking place during the same timeframe. This work is in support of the coal pile remediation project.
    • The construction on Highway 19A involves adding turning lanes for both the north and southbound traffic, while creating a merge lane onto the highway from the gravel coal pile remediation access road. Intermittent, temporary road closures will occur in and around the work zone on Highway 19A.
    • QM Environmental and Wacor Holdings Ltd. will carry out the work, with direction from Keystone Environmental, David Nairne & Associates, and GeoPacific with regards to civil design and construction, and participation from Baseline Archaeology and K'ómoks First Nation.

Contaminated Site Remediation

  • On Monday, August 19, Union Bay Estates will start their next major phase of the development with the construction of a noise mitigation and soil management berm along the east side of Highway 19A.
  • Leighton Contracting will carry out the work, with support from SLR Consulting on soil management, McElhanney Consulting directing the civil construction, and participation from Baseline Archaeology and K'ómoks First Nation.
  • The berm construction and other soil movement associated with the development will be carried out under a permit (Approval in Principle) granted August 2nd by the BC Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy.
  • The project work zone will not encroach into the riparian areas next to Hart Creek and other watercourses.
  • Union Bay Estates expects the berm construction to take up to four weeks to complete, at which time other site grading and soil management activities will continue under the ministry permit.
  • Any questions about the above activities can be directed to ubeinfo@mcelhanney.com

Role of Different Agencies in the Union Bay Estates Project

Several different agencies are involved in the Union Bay Estates project. While the CVRD is not involved in certain approvals (e.g. sewer treatment plant), the CVRD does play a role in confirming the requirements of the Master Development Agreement (MDA) are met.

Agency Jursidiction/RoleCommitments in the MDA (basic summary – see MDA for more details)
BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI)

Rural Subdivisions

Highway access permits 

Activities in the road right-of-way

Several amenities are triggered at time of subdivision such as:

  • Affordable housing lots
  • School site donated to school board
  • Parkland dedication/transfer to CVRD
BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (MOECC)

Sewer treatment plants

Contaminated site remediation

Design and construct sewer system to service the Union Bay Estates development.

The wastewater treatment facility to be designed to accommodate additional cells to handle the sanitary sewer flow from Royston and Union Bay if those sewer systems are tied into the Union Bay Estates sewer system in the future.

BC Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD)

Water Sustainability Act (for works in and about a stream)

Activities on crown lands

Heritage Conservation Act Alteration Permits (archaeological sites)

Developer to develop lands in an environmentally sensitive matter in accordance with provincial and federal principles, guidelines and objectives.

Union Bay Improvement District (UBID)

Water and fire services

The Developer must enter into an agreement with UBID to distribute potable water to the development. 

 

Active Planning Applications

There are no active planning applications at this time. This section will be updated as new applications are received. 

Approved Planning Applications
Kensington Comprehensive Development Permit (DP 5A 19)
  • On February 21, 2019, Blue Sky Architecture submitted an application for a Kensington Comprehensive Development Permit on behalf of the developer.
  • The Kensington Comprehensive Development Permit was triggered by the proposed construction of a building. The proposed works include construction of two buildings connected by a covered walkway to be used as a real estate sales centre and a café/deli. The proposed development is within Comprehensive Development Permit Area 3 (CDA-3).
  • The applicant is working with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (Environmental Emergencies and Land Remediation Branch) to address contamination issues associated with the former industrial use of the lands. As per Section 557 (2) of the Local Government Act, a development permit cannot be issued until the applicant receives a release letter from the Director under the Environmental Management Act. 
  • On May 16, 2019 the CVRD received a release letter from the Ministry of Environment which allows the development permit to proceed through the review process.
  • The development permit was heard by the Area “A” Advisory Planning Commission (APC) at its June 11, 2019 meeting. The purpose of the APC is to review the application and provide advice to the area director, Daniel Arbour. The minutes from the meeting can be found here.
  • The development permit was heard by the Electoral Area Services Committee (EASC) at its July 15, 2019 meeting. The staff report and minutes can be found here.
  • The Regional Board approved the development permit at its July 30, 2019 meeting.  The minutes can be found here.

 Map of Subject Property

Steep Slopes Development Permit (DP 11A 19)
  • On July 12, 2019, McElhanney Consulting Services submitted an application for a Steep Slopes Development Permit on behalf of the developer. The proposed works include land clearing, grubbing and minor regrading of a steep slope located on Lot 2.
  • A Steep Slopes Development Permit is required if land alteration is proposed within 7.5 metres of a steep slopes (defined as an area with average slopes greater than or equal to 30 per cent for a vertical distance of three metres or more or slopes designated as hazard lands by a professional engineer with experience in geotechnical engineering).
  • In August 2019, the BC Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy granted a permit (Approval in Principle) that allows the developer to begin the contaminated site remediation. With the Approval in Principle in place, development permits are able to proceed through the CVRD review process (development approvals were previously on hold). 
  • In November 2019, the Steep Slopes Development Permit was approved to allow land alteration (land clearing, grubbing and minor regrading) within 7.5 metres of a steep slope.

Map of Subject Property

Aquatic and Riparian Habitat Development Permit (DP 2A 19/DP 3A 19/DP 4A 19)
  • On February 6, 2019, McElhanney Consulting Services submitted an application for an Aquatic and Riparian Habitat Development Permit on behalf of the developer. The lands on the west side of the Island Highway are not subject to this application.
  • An Aquatic and Riparian Habitat Development Permit is required if site alteration is proposed within 30 metres of a watercourse (Hart Creek and Creek 2).
  • The proposed works include land clearing, grubbing, contaminated site remediation, site grading, removal of a concrete structure and related site works outside of the Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area (SPEA). The SPEA for Hart Creek and Creek 2 is established by the Provincial Riparian Areas Protection Regulation (RAPR).
  • The application has been reviewed and accepted by the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD). FLNRORD is responsible for reviewing RAPR assessments to ensure compliance with the RAPR methodology.
  • In August 2019, the BC Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy granted a permit (Approval in Principle) that allows the developer to begin the contaminated site remediation. With the Approval in Principle in place, development permits are able to proceed through the CVRD review process (development approvals were previously on hold). 
  • In November 2019, the CVRD approved the Aquatic and Riparian Habitat Development Permit. 

Map of Subject Properties