Dec 05, 2019

Council Notebook for December 2, 2019

Ladysmith Council met on Monday, December 2, 2019, with highlights of the meeting being the fourth budget workshop and public hearings on a development at 336 Belair Street and an amendment to the Zoning Bylaw to permit the retail sale of cannabis in specified areas.
The first part of the meeting started at City Hall where Council received the 2020 general capital budget for information. A priority and risk level was assigned to each proposed project, helping to guide Council’s understanding of the importance of the work.
The projects will be funded through taxation, reserves, federal Gas Tax funding, Development Cost Charges or other grants successfully received by the Town, or a combination of those sources.  Council’s current policy is to allocate an amount equivalent to 10% of last year’s municipal taxation towards capital projects.
A few of the proposed capital budget highlights include sidewalk construction on Buller Street connecting First Avenue to 2nd Avenue, Aggie sports field improvements, storm water infrastructure improvements,  intersection work at 4th Avenue and Belair Street and Waterfront Area Plan implementation projects.
Council will vote at its December 16, 2019 meeting on early budget approval for select capital projects.
Next, Council revisited the higher level service requests presented at the first budget meeting on November 4, 2019 where the general operating budget was discussed.
Council directed staff to include in the 2020-2024 Financial Plan: approval of an increase in the staff communications position to 35 hours per week, creating two part-time positions for janitorial services, and hiring for a manager of facilities to help improve the Town’s asset management and oversee the growing number of Town buildings and facilities.  
Council will meet on Tuesday nights beginning in January 2020.  The change in the meeting schedule improves overall efficiency for both Council and staff by eliminating the need to cancel meetings when they conflict with statutory holidays.
The extra day between agenda publication and meetings also offers more time for Council, the public and staff to conduct research and prepare for the meetings.
The Municipal Services Committee is also changing its name to the Committee of the Whole (meaning that all members of Council are members of the committee) and will assemble on the second Tuesday of every second month to discuss emerging issues, and proposed policies and services, before making recommendations to Council.
The Council meeting was then adjourned and reconvened at Eagles Hall for the public hearings.
Following the opportunity for the public to make submissions, Council debated and ultimately approved the Official Community Plan amendment to allow for a proposed three storey mixed-use development at 336 Belair Street – the site of the former RCMP detachment.
The Zoning Bylaw amendment was referred to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) because the site is within 800 metres of a controlled highway intersection.  Council will vote on final adoption of the bylaw amendment at a future meeting.
Moving to the next public hearing, Council approved amending the Zoning Bylaw to permit the retail sale of cannabis in certain areas of Town.
The changes mean the sale of recreational cannabis would be permitted in the commercial zone (C-2) along First Avenue, approximately defined as the area between Baden Powell Street and Ludlow Road, as well as Coronation Mall and the light industrial area along Rocky Creek Road, north of Ludlow Road.
These Zoning Bylaw amendment was also referred to the MOTI for approval.
The next regular Council meeting is scheduled for December 16, 2019 at 7 p.m. Council will meet as Municipal Services Committee on Monday, December 9 at 6:30 p.m.