Dec 12, 2019

Special Council and Municipal Services Notebook for December 9, 2019

Ladysmith Council met for a special meeting on Monday, December 9, 2019 followed by a regularly scheduled Municipal Services Committee meeting where transit, public art and suggestions for decreasing the Town's water usage for downtown plantings were among the agenda highlights.

Following the approval of bylaws, Council voted in favour of sending a letter to BC Hydro supporting Habitat for Humanity potentially building new affordable housing on BC Hydro property at 6th Avenue and Methuen Street.

The property is a former hydro substation and environmental testing could be required as part of the next steps.

The previous Habitat for Humanity project in Ladysmith was a three-bedroom home built on a lot donated by the Town.

Following a quick break, councillors reconvened as the Municipal Services Committee.

The Committee discussed a proposed Poet Laureate Program as a new opportunity to promote the importance of arts, culture and literature in the community.  The program proposes to engage both a youth (ages 13-24) and adult print or spoken word poet to compose original works for special occasions in the community.

Both artists would be compensated for their work with funds to come from the Town's Grants in Aid budget.

Staff have recommended that the Arts Council of Ladysmith and District administer the program through a service agreement with the Town. 

The Committee referred the details of the program, which includes selection criteria and duties, to the Parks, Recreation and Culture Advisory Committee for feedback, and hopes to have the program up and running in early 2020.

Individual councillors then made submissions on topics they wanted to bring forward to the Committee for a broader discussion. 

As a result of these discussions, the Committee approved staff researching and bringing back options for downtown plantings, including flower beds, hanging baskets, and shrubbery that would reduce water use. These alternatives will include the potential for incorporating public art.

Representatives from BC Transit and the CVRD will be invited to speak at a future Committee meeting on the present transit status, future improvements and schedules as well as the possibility of connections between Ladysmith and Nanaimo, and subsidized bus passes for children under 18 years of age.

A letter was received from a resident concerned about the safety of cycling lanes along Malone Road due to the median strips. These barriers are intended to act as a traffic calming measure.

Council will discuss active transportation in greater detail as part of the Official Community Plan review - currently scheduled to take place in 2020.

The Town is leading the way for communities our size with our new Public Art Policy.

Staff presented a draft of the policy to the Committee and it includes points that were raised during meetings with the Arts Council of Ladysmith and District as well as the Parks, Recreation and Culture Advisory Committee.

The Public Art Policy proposes a phased approached to implementation and allows for regular review. It's also manageable and deliverable allowing staff and Council to consider ongoing opportunities for enhancing capital projects by incorporating public art.

The next regular Council meeting is scheduled for December 16, 2019 at 7 pm.