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Ladysmith Council met on Tuesday, January 7, 2020, with an update on ongoing renovations to the historic Machine Shop and a new community street banner program among the agenda highlights.
Council approved amendments to the Town's zoning bylaw to allow for the retail sale of cannabis in the downtown (in the area between Esplanade, First Avenue, Ludlow Road and Baden Powell Street), Coronation Square as well as Rocky Creek Road.
Staff were previously directed to prepare the necessary changes to the zoning bylaw, including the areas where sales would be permitted in Ladysmith. A public hearing was held in December and the proposed amendments then forwarded to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for approval. The MOTI has since approved the bylaw.
The Town will charge an applicant for a retail cannabis store a $2,000 fee, which is the expected average cost of processing license referrals received from the province.
Council then received a progress update on renovations taking place at the Machine Shop.
The upgrades include building code, seismic and structural work to the large blue historic building on Ladysmith's waterfront. The Machine Shop is an important part of the waterfront Arts and Heritage Hub and the Ladysmith Economic Development Strategy.
The Town received federal Gas Tax funding for $1.8-million in March 2018 to complete the upgrades. More recent accomplishments include the installation of a new roof and important foundation work.
Read a news release with more information on the latest updates here.
Council referred a draft of the Park and Facility Naming Policy to a future Committee of the Whole meeting for discussion and review.
A request in May 2019 from two individuals asking for the Town to rename Russell Road Park prompted Council to direct staff to create the policy.
The document provides direction to staff when a naming request is received from the community.
Council approved entering into a service agreement with the Arts Council of Ladysmith and District for them to oversee the community banner program.
The program will develop and showcase banners for the downtown core and Transfer Beach Boulevard. The project confirms Council's strategic priority of supporting proposals that maintain a vibrant downtown.
The current banners used by the Town were designed for Canada 150 by Stz'uminus First Nation artist John Marston and two Ladysmith Secondary students.
There are roughly 160 banners in the community; Council will approve a new theme every second year before a call for submission is issued to artists.
Next on the agenda, Council received for information a report on the Alternative Approval Process for borrowing funds to complete three high priority water projects: increasing storage capacity of the Holland Lake Dam, building a connection between Stocking Lake and Holland Lake and twinning the Stocking Lake Main.
The Town is applying for a federal grant to help cover the costs of completing these projects.
The federal grant could fund up to 73.33% of the total $23.22-million required for the three water projects, not including contingency costs. The Town’s share of the grant would be up to $6.2-million.
Demonstrating that the community supports borrowing public funds for the projects will strengthen the Town's grant application.
Any residents opposed to the borrowing must indicate their position by returning an Alternative Response Form to City Hall by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.
The next regular council meeting is scheduled for January 21, 2020 at 7 p.m.