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Mar 07, 2019

Ladysmith Council Notebook for March 4, 2019

Ladysmith Council met on Monday, March 4, 2019, for just over an hour.

Council directed staff to apply to the Union of BC Municipalities for up to $2,000 in grant funding through the provincial Community to Community Forum. The funds would be used to help cover the cost of hosting Stz'uminus First Nation Council for a roundtable discussion where topics of mutual interest can be discussed, such as remediation of the Ladysmith Harbour and matters outlined in our joint 2015 Memorandum of Understanding.

Ladysmith Council also approved allocating up to $2,000 in cash or in-kind services as the Town's contribution for the event, which will be held prior to March 31, 2020.

The Town and Stz'uminus have both hosted several of these community forums dating back to 2009.

Ladysmith will soon join the likes of Nanaimo, Victoria and Duncan as Council continues to move ahead with plans to appoint the Town's first Poet Laureate.

Council referred the draft of the Poet Laureate's Terms of Reference to the Parks, Recreation and Culture Advisory Committee for feedback.

A call for nominations will take place after Council approves the Terms of Reference.

Final selection of the Poet Laureate will be done through a partnership between the Town and the Arts Council of Ladysmith and District.

Council approved tendering a pipe arch culvert for the Rocky Creek crossing on 4th Avenue after Herold Engineering determined this option as appropriate for the location and the least expensive - compared to a concrete box culvert and precast concrete bridge.

The Town will purchase the pipe arch culvert now before tendering the project in the near future, helping to save time on manufacturing and delivery, and ensuring that construction can start as soon as the contract is awarded.

An engineering estimate for the pipe arch culvert -the same design used at the Davidson Road crossing - is within the $750,000 budget for the project, and significantly less than the precast concrete bridge option tendered by the Town in August 2018.

The base Water and Sewer Rates are increasing starting in the second quarter of this year.  The utility fees collected by the Town are in order to maintain the operational costs of water and sewage systems for Ladysmith residents.  These costs include running our Water Treatment Plant, Wastewater Treatment Plant and Biosolids Facility, including having appropriately certified staff on site, and the anticipated operating costs for the new Water Filtration Plant, expected to be up and running later this year.  

Council had previously discussed the increases as part of the 2019 Financial Plan workshops and approved the bylaws to set the new rates on Monday.

For a single family household, the per-quarter billing impact will be a $12 increase for sewer charges and nearly $16 for water charges using 90m3 of water over a three month period.  

Council also amended the connection rates for the utilities and they are now $3,000 for water connections, $2,000 for sewer connections and $3,800 for storm connections.

Council also considered a letter from the Ladysmith & District Historical Society (LDHS) requesting additional funding through a service agreement with the Town to operate the Ladysmith Archives and Ladysmith Museum on First Avenue.

LDHS president Ed Nicholson asked that the current line item in the annual budget be increased from $23,970 to $45,250 going forward.

Council referred the letter to Town staff to determine if the request can be accommodated. Options will be brought back at a future meeting.

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