Union Bay Estates


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). Covering 309 hectares (764 acres), the development is anticipated to create up to 2,889 dwelling units in the form of houses, secondary suites, carriage houses, townhouses and apartments. The development also includes areas for commercial, institutional, recreational and resort land uses.

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). 

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 sections 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.
  • In early 2020, a contractor will be onsite to maintain existing sediment and erosion control features and install additional features. Following that, the contractor will be continuing with remediation work on the lands east of Highway 19A. 
  • In mid 2020 a borrow pit will be created. The excavated material is to be used solely on the Union Bay Estates site.
  • The owner intends to begin construction in 2021 on the real estate sales centre ("Discovery Centre"). For conceptual design details, see Kensington Comprehensive Development Permit (DP 5A 19) below.
  • In mid-2021, contractors working for the owner will be installing underground utilities and road infrastructure on the east side of the highway.
  • Application sumbitted for Development Permit (Files DP 5A 21 & DP 6A 21) to install utilities and subdivide within 30 metres of watercourses in CDA2.
  • Application for subdivision within CDA2 submitted. Corresponding Kensington Comprehensive Development Permit (as described in section 88 of the Official Community Plan) to be reviewed by the Advisory Planning Commission on February 1.

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.


The CVRD received the following information from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change:

"The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change received on November 11, 2019 a final application package from Kensington Union Bay Properties GP Limited for registration under the Municipal Wastewater Regulation for a seasonal discharge of up to 1,875 cubic meters per day of treated municipal sewage to Hart Creek during the months of October through May with storage and reclaimed water use during the rest of the year. The proposed discharge would serve a commercial and residential development in Union Bay subject of a Master Development Agreement with the Comox Valley Regional District. 

The Ministry’s next steps are a comprehensive review of the application for compliance with the Municipal Wastewater Regulation including review of the Environmental Impact Study, and First Nation consultation. There is no formal public consultation process for registrations under regulations such as the Municipal Wastewater Regulation. The review and decision phase takes up to 10 months to complete. Questions regarding the review of this application may be directed to Melanie Mamoser at melanie.mamoser@gov.bc.ca. The status of the application can be viewed here using the Tracking Number 370094 or Authorization Number 109314"

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