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Mar 21, 2019

Ladysmith Council Notebook for March 18, 2019

The Town of Ladysmith's Council met for an hour and fifty minutes on Monday, March 18, 2019.

Cowichan Green Community's executive director Judy Stafford appeared as a delegation on the Duncan-based non-profit’s 2018 year in review.

A video recap of the 12 months highlighted efforts of staff and volunteers:  22,836 lbs of produce recovered and distributed to 7,500 clients, 400 emergency meals delivered after the December windstorm and 550 young people participated in farm work and educational programming at Kin Park Youth Urban Farm.

Cowichan Green Community was also able to purchase a van last year as a result of funding received from the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s Grants in Aid Program.  Ladysmith residents contribute to this program through taxation.  

Next on Council's agenda was final review of its own 2019 Grants in Aid requests which were first reviewed at last Monday's Municipal Services Committee meeting.

The Grants in Aid program provides financial assistance to local celebrations and programs. 

Monies are collected through property taxation and the available funding for this year is $59,930 – an increase from 2018. There were 23 requests received from organizations before the Feb. 28, 2019 deadline.

Grants in Aid program funding is also put towards Waiving of Fees, the National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration at Transfer Beach each year on June 21, as well as the Frank Jameson Bursary given annually to a Ladysmith Secondary School graduate. 

Separate from Grants in Aid spending is the Town's service agreements with the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association and Ladysmith & District Historical Society

Committee members approved allocating $56,350, while the remaining balance will be retained for any late Grants in Aid requests, or similar applications that might be submitted throughout the rest of the year.

The final version of the Public Art Strategy was received by Council and staff recommendations were approved to make the document part of Council's Strategic Planning discussions later this spring.

In 2018, the Town had contracted with the Arts Council of Ladysmith and District to help develop a broad-based public art strategy, anticipated to guide future decisions related to installations and donated works.

The Public Art Strategy sets out recommendations with ongoing, medium (2-5 years) and high-priority (1-3 years) timelines.

There is $10,000 allocated in the Town’s 2019 draft Financial Plan towards high-priority recommendations.

Ladysmith's historic Machine Shop on Oyster Bay Drive near Transfer Beach will see $1.75-million in upgrades and improvements over the coming months, and as part of the retrofits, some changes could occur to the space allocations for the current tenants.

Following several months of consultation with those groups and individuals presently utilizing the space in the building, as well as an assessment done by a team of engineers and architects, three potential layouts were presented to Council for the upper and lower floors.

Council approved Layout Option 2 and based on its decision directed Town staff on Monday to prepare draft lease agreements for all spaces within the Machine Shop and outer buildings.

Town staff were also directed to prepare, issue and assess a call for commercial or industrial use proposals for the west portion of the building and return to Council with recommendations based on best practice and market viability.

The Machine Shop is central to the new Arts and Heritage Hub featured in the new Waterfront Area Plan.  The federal government provided $1.75 million in Gas Tax funding for the building improvements. 

Council received a letter from Gerry Beltgens on behalf of the Rotary Club of Ladysmith requesting a letter of support from Council for an application to the Vancouver Island University sponsorship program.

Ladysmith service clubs including Rotary, Ladysmith Lions ClubLadysmith Kinsmen and the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie and Auxiliary #2101 along with the Town of Ladysmith, Stz'uminus First Nation and the Mid-Isle Soccer Association have joined together to build the multi-purpose foot path around Forrest Field/Lot 108.

A successful application could lead to a partnership with the Vancouver Island University Trades Program on completing the trail and potential future opportunities at Lot 108.

A letter will be sent on behalf of Council supporting the service clubs' application.

Council supported Councillor Jacobson's recommendation that a formal joint meeting with the Board of Trustees of School District 68 be held locally before the end of April.

Mayor Stone and Councillor Jacobson will work with representatives of SD68 to develop the agenda for the meeting.

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