Kensington Union Bay Properties vice-president Brian McMahon. Photo by Scott Strasser.

Largest development project north of the Malahat unveiled

345-hectare proposal aims to create nearly 3,000 homes, bring businesses to Union Bay

The largest development proposal on Vancouver Island north of the Malahat was unveiled Thursday in Union Bay.

Sporting a new name, Kensington Union Bay Properties unveiled its long-awaited development plans for for the small Comox Valley community at the Kingfisher Spa and Resort on March 1.

The initiative — Union Bay Estates — is an 850-acre real estate and commercial development project that could transform the hamlet into a full-fledged town larger than Ladysmith or Chemainus.

“The project itself is going to be a game-changer for the community,” said Kensington vice-president Brian McMahon. “It’s going to be a game-changer for the Comox Valley as a whole.”

The the multi-phase development, which has been in the works for many years, promises 2,949 residential units featuring multi and single-family residences, as well as both retirement and affordable housing units. When completed, it could increase the population of Union Bay by 7,500-9,000 people. Roughly 1,200 people live there currently.

Read More: Kensington Island Properties provides $250,000 to homelessness support agencies

Alongside the housing provisions, Kensington also aims to bring several commercial and social amenities to Union Bay. At the launch event on Thursday, McMahon mentioned possible provisions for a pharmacy, a walk-in clinic, a movie theatre, hotels, and a bank.

“We’ve had discussions with people who are interested in pursuing these things,” he said.

The company is also donating parcels of land to the Union Bay Improvement District for its new water treatment plant and a fire hall and says it will commit land to School District 71 for a new school.

“If we’ve got 2,949 new homes coming in, there’s going to be the need for a new school again,” he said.

Development 20 years in the making

Previously known as Kensington Island Properties, the company purchased more than 1,000 acres of land in Union Bay in the late 1990s, with the long-term goal of building a golf course, a marina walkway, a water filtration system and housing developments for the community.

Read More: Kensington Island still in limbo

But due to several political and regulatory hurdles over the years — as well as a few legal battles — none of the projects have yet been realized.

McMahon says despite the rocky past, the “stars have aligned” this time around. He brought up revisions to the company’s master development agreement with the Comox Valley Regional District, which were approved in December 2017.

Read More: Revised master development agreement gives green light to Union Bay development

“Everything is approved now. Before, we had ongoing hurdles we kept trying to overcome. Everything has improved,” he said.

Next steps

Before construction of any of the housing units can occur, Kensington will have to supply a wastewater treatment facility in order to service the projects.

“We have to get the wastewater treatment plant up and running before we can sell any homes,” he said. “In order to do that, we need to get the pipes in the ground, we need to get roads built. We were meeting this morning talking about where the pipes are going to go.”

McMahon said the company has applied to the Ministry of Environment to begin work on implementing a wastewater treatment facility.

“That application is in the process,” he said.

McMahon added the goal is to possibly begin construction on homes by summer 2019.

“Before that, there will be roads, pipes put in the ground. There will be all the underground servicing going in,” he said.

Just Posted

Windstorm topples tree onto townhouse in Nanaimo

Heavy winds have thousands of B.C. Hydro customers without power

Lantzville council approves financial plan, property tax increase of 5.6-per cent

Councillors to vote in the new year on motion to lower property tax increase

Coast Bastion Hotel, union reach tentative deal

Deal between hotel chain and union representing Nanaimo workers reached early Friday

UPDATE: Winds knocking out power across the Nanaimo region

More than 12,000 residences affected across B.C. Hydro’s Vancouver Island North area

Nanaimo city council starts pitching ideas for Island-wide debate

Councillors begin brainstorming Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities resolutions

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

Beefs & Bouquets, Dec. 13

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo city council will reconsider waterfront walkway plan

Project included in financial plan but councillors want to examine scope and timelines

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Woman guilty of impaired driving in death of Vancouver Island pedestrian

Man in his 70s killed in 2016 Courtenay multi-vehicle incident

Most Read