Sep 17, 2020

Council Notebook for September 15, 2020

Ladysmith Council met virtually for a Regular Council Meeting on September 15, 2020 with approval of the scope for the Official Community Plan review and recognition of our local firefighters among the agenda highlights. 
The meeting opened with a special tribute to Ladysmith Fire/Rescue members for their efforts as part of a coordinated emergency response last week to suppress a major industrial fire; over 70 firefighters from more than eight departments were involved. 
Mayor Aaron Stone and Fire Chief Chris Geiger issued a joint statement thanking everyone involved on the front lines and behind the scenes in the collaborative community effort.  You can read the statement here. 
Economic Development Cowichan’s (EDC) manager Barry O’Riordan provided a delegation to Council on EDC’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan and the impact of COVID-19 in the region. 
EDC continues to support local businesses in the economic recovery from COVID-19 – focusing on spurring innovation in the Cowichan Valley’s technology, industrial and food/beverage sectors, promoting opportunities for film production and assisting in the implementation of sub-regional plans such as the Ladysmith Economic Development Strategy. 
Mayor Stone proclaimed September 20-26 as National Forest Week, an annual celebration organized by the Canadian Institute of Forestry.  This year’s theme is "Healthy Forests, Healthy Future" and focuses on the importance of safeguarding the health of Canada’s forests as a critical nature-based solution to mitigate climate change
Next, Council approved recommendations from last week’s Committee of the Whole meeting, including the scope for the Official Community Plan (OCP) review. 
Council approved an OCP review that is comprehensive/new in its scope –meaning more in-depth consultation will take place with residents, businesses and other community stakeholders. The OCP review is one of Council’s strategic priorities for this term. 
The kickoff date for the OCP review community engagement is set for February 2021. 
The OCP review process will be discussed in more detail at a Special Committee of the Whole meeting in October. 
Resident Alien is returning to Ladysmith in October to resume the second round of filming originally scheduled for earlier in the year. 
Council approved intermittent closures for various locations across town, including downtown, between Oct. 1-8, 2020. The closure requests are all subject to negotiation of final schedules between staff and the production company. 
Resident Alien have presented a full COVID-19 plan to the Town that will help to limit any potential spread of the virus in our community. Watch for more details from the Town in the coming days on parking closures. 
Council gave the first three readings to the 2021 Permissive Tax Exemptions bylaw and the Community Services Centre Tax Exemption Bylaw. 
Included in the Community Services Centre Tax Exemption Bylaw bylaw is a 10-year exemption for the property at 220 High Street and 630 2nd  Avenue. The Town owns both of these buildings. 
Under the Community Charter, permissive exemptions are allowed for properties owned by a non-profit or charitable organization, or for a specific use, such as a care home or place of worship.
The next Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 7 pm.