The Union Bay Improvement District (UBID) is an independent local government that provides street lighting, fire protection and water supply and distribution to property owners in Union Bay. In August and September 2019, UBID and the Province of BC exchanged correspondence that lead to a Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) Board resolution to partner with UBID and the Province to undertake a study that would:
- conduct a condition assessment of Union Bay Improvement District assets and liabilities;
- analyze the governance options to remain as an improvement district or convert the street lighting, water supply and distribution and fire protection services to regional district services; and
- develop and execute a communication plan that:
- assesses public perspective on the topic of Union Bay governance and service delivery; and
- informs the public on potential outcomes from the assessment and governance models
The Province has awarded grant funding to conduct a conversion study. Early in 2020 Urban Systems was selected to undertake the study work in partnership with the CVRD and UBID, which will include public engagement with property owners in Union Bay. For further details please see UBID Conversion Study Newsletter #1 below.
Q. Why is a municipality not being considered in this study work?
A. UBID initially advised the Province that it wanted to study three outcomes: becoming a municipality, converting to CVRD services and continuing as an improvement district. The Province advised that it would support a study to explore converting to CVRD services or continuing as an improvement district. If a conversion to CVRD services does occur, that conversion could be a ‘stepping stone’ towards municipal incorporation further into the future.
Q. Will Union Bay property owners be able to vote on the outcome of the study work?
A. Public support is required for conversions from improvement districts to regional district services. UBID will determine that a referendum would be held.
Q. What is happening with the conversion study due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
A. Background research will still be conducted and some materials will be developed to support the project, though stakeholder outreach and public engagement is being paused at this time. Only when it is safe to do so will public engagement be considered to inform Union Bay residents and ratepayers about the project and implications for staying as an improvement district or converting services to the CVRD. Further updates will be posted online and shared with the community as the project evolves.