Just because Vancouver Island Health Authority mandated Union Bay Improvement District to provide landowners with 4321 treated water by Aug. 31, 2018 doesn’t mean that the board can recklessly spend taxpayer dollars.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is responsible for Improvement District governance and finance and should ensure that due diligence is undertaken. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that this will happen. Under this situation UBID is obligated to acquire landowner approval to borrow funds to finance this project. Similarly, the CVRD is seeking approval for financing for its treatment plant through the Alternate Approval Process. The other more reliable option is for UBID to hold a referendum. Regardless of what approach is taken, landowners will be asked to approve the borrowing of funds to build a water treatment facility to meet the requirements specified by VIHA.
From 2010 to 2014 the cost to finance was zero because a “Good Samaritan” was going to provide water treatment for free, that didn’t happen. In 2016 the estimated cost was $1.7 million and in 2018 the cost has ballooned to $5 million.
These are not the only capital costs facing landowners, as you could soon be financing a new fire hall, sewer system and other infrastructure upgrades. It is unfortunate that improvement districts don’t qualify for government grants.
Bruce Livesey, Comox