Apr 02, 2020

Town following safe work practices to provide services to the community

The Town of Ladysmith continues to provide services to the community with some staff across all departments performing regular duties from home and others returning to on-site duties after two weeks of voluntary self-isolation by all staff.

Public facilities and administrative offices have been closed since the end of day on March 19, 2020. Staff were asked to stay home and self-isolate for 14 days as we follow the recommendations of BC's Chief Medical Health Officer to practice physical distancing.

We are now able to provide more details to residents on next steps regarding how to reach us with your requests, which services we are currently providing remotely and the status of deadlines for future bill payments.

Infrastructure Services crews are maintaining the essential road, water and sewer services and working on parks, trails and flower beds; Development Services staff have been processing applications and responding to inquiries; the Parks, Recreation and Culture team have reached out to patrons about program cancellations and are making strides in creating online content; finally, our Finance Department is processing invoices, responding to property information requests and processing payments to the Town; Corporate Services has been supporting Council in continuing to meet, providing internal and external communications and responding to inquiries received through info@ladysmith.ca

Measures have been put in place for staff to resume duties that comply with the orders for physical distancing, while also upholding standards for workplace safety.

We kindly ask that members of the public do not approach staff who are performing duties and that you maintain a minimum distance of two metres of separation. 

"The one thing that all Ladysmith residents can do together right now during this unprecedented time is to follow to the recommendations from public health agencies to physically distance and embrace the challenge to stay home as much as possible," said Mayor Stone.  "I would also like to extend a special thank you to our dedicated healthcare workers, first responders and everyone providing essential services - we are full of gratitude and cheer nightly to let you Ladysmith stands behind you in this fight."

Currently, the Town continues to follow the recommendations and health orders issued BC's Chief Medical Health Office and our administrative buildings, facilities and all playgrounds will remain closed until further notice.

On Tuesday, March 31, Ladysmith Council held a Special Meeting of Council virtually using Zoom - a secure video conferencing service – respecting orders from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to limit public gatherings and practice physical distancing.

The Town and Council understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has also created significant challenges and stresses for our residents. 

Unless the Province changes its legislation, Council has until May 15 to make any changes to the current draft 2020 Financial Plan, including adjustments to future service levels, and approve the bylaw for setting the municipal property tax rates.

The Town continues to wait for any programs the Province may introduce specifically for alleviating any financial strain from the payment of property taxes - for those households needing it.

Altogether, 41 per cent of your total property tax bill last year was set by other agencies to pay for services like schools, the Vancouver Island Regional Library, the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the Cowichan Regional Hospital fund. 

At this time the Town is still required to pay over to those agencies.

We will keep you updated on Council's decisions regarding the 2020 Financial Plan, as well as any changes to Town bill payments.

In the meantime, residents are encouraged to practice information hygiene and access information from official sources, a list of which is available along with all Town updates on our dedicated COVID-19 webpage: www.ladysmith.ca/covid-19

"In so many ways the COVID-19 pandemic has brought us closer as a community, at least from afar, as we see our residents putting hearts in their windows, meeting up virtually to stay connected, cheering outside nightly for healthcare workers and first responders, and supporting local businesses who are making efforts to stay open during this challenging time," said Mayor Stone.

Have a specific Town enquiry? Click here to find out how to connect with our staff during this time.