Feb 20, 2020

Council Notebook for February 18, 2020

Ladysmith Council met on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 with development applications for two retail cannabis stores and a service agreement with the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce for economic development and tourism attraction among the agenda highlights.

The meeting opened with Mike Hooper, Chair of the Select Committee on Council Remuneration as well as CEO and President of the Nanaimo Airport,  summarizing a report on the Council agenda which included a set of recommendations on phased salary increases for the Mayor and councillors.

The citizen committee is arms-length and independent from Council and was formed in December.  A call for nominations was advertised in the local newspaper, posted on the Town’s website and circulated on social media late last year for anyone interested in participating.

The Select Committee met twice, supported by Town staff, and discussed and compared the compensation given to Ladysmith Council with that of other BC municipalities.   These communities included Castlegar,  Qualicum Beach,  Sidney,  Summlerland and others in the CVRD.

Council approved the recommendations from the committee for phasing in a total increase of $11,266 over the next three years. These increases to remuneration are designed to place compensation for Ladysmith elected officials on par with City of Duncan councillors and the average for CVRD mayors.

Future increases after 2022 will align with the Consumer Price Index, up to a maximum of 2% per year.

Next, Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce President Tammy Leslie presented an expression of interest for the business organization to take a greater role in tourism and economic development, including management of a new visitor website and walking tour app.

Both of the new digital products for the community, still currently under development, will support business and residential attraction as well as destination marketing and promotion.

The Chamber currently operates the Visitor Centre on Roberts Street and is an important contact for the public when it comes to relocation services.  The Town currently makes contributes $43,500 annually to the Chamber's business and tourism functions.

Council approved entering into a pilot two-year service agreement with funds to come from the Town's general reserves.

The partnership between the Town and Chamber supports the implementation of the Ladysmith Economic Development Strategy and Council’s 2020-2023 Strategic Plan.

Mayor Stone has proclaimed March 6, 2020 as World Lymphedema Day in the Town of Ladysmith, in recognition and support of the courageous individuals living with this chronic, progressive and debilitating disease.

Council then recommended to the province approval of two separate applications for non-medical cannabis stores - one to be located on 510C Esplanade Avenue and another at Unit B 720 1st Avenue. 

As part of the provincial government's process for issuing licences for retail cannabis stores, Council approved several resolutions summarizing its opinion on the impact to the community and the proposed locations with respect to the Zoning Bylaw.

Written submissions from the public were distributed to Council and will form part of the Town's response to the province.  The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch of BC will now review the information provided by the Town and decide on whether to issue a licences. 

Council received the results of the Alternative Approval Process to allow for the borrowing of up to $6.2-million over 25 years for the three water supply projects.  

The AAP closed at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 following a period of 30 days in accordance with the Community Charter.   The number of Elector Response Forms received by the Town did not meet the 699 required to defeat the proposed borrowing, and the borrowing bylaw was deemed to have the support of the voters.

Council the adopted the bylaw to allow for the borrowing of funds. The Town is applying for an infrastructure grant that would cover 73.33% of the estimated costs of the projects.

There are enough funds within the current water parcel tax to fund the borrowing for these projects provided that the Town receives the full grant requested.

The next Regular Council meeting is scheduled for March 3, 2020 at 7 p.m.