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Ladysmith Council met for a virtual Regular Meeting of Council on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 with proposed service level improvements to local emergency operations and public recognition for former Mayor Kathleen Grouhel among the agenda highlights.
The meeting opened with Mayor Aaron Stone acknowledging the 150th anniversary of British Columbia joining Confederation. The Mayor referenced the challenge in celebrating the past while at the same time reflecting on the ongoing injustices faced by First Nations as we respectfully move forward with the reconciliation process.
Next, Council heard a delegation from April Diver, CVRD Emergency Program Coordinator and John Elzinga, CVRD General Manager of Community Services, who provided an overview of a recent emergency program evaluation and a proposed new Cowichan Emergency Manangement Organization.
The current model for local emergency operations is a blended approach between the Town and the CVRD.
Following the delegation, Council endorsed the CVRD recommendation to establish a single regional emergency program, and a phased approached to implementing recommendations from the program evaluation, while at the same time continuing to explore grant opportunities to fund these initatives.
The new regional body will oversee emergeny operations, which will include its own governance structure and long-term strategic plan.
The new model will allow for greater efficiency of resources and improved collaboration among participating Cowichan region local authorities and First Nations.
Moving on, Council directed staff to install a historical interpretive sign as well as a poem etched into a sidewalk at Transfer Beach Park in honour of former Mayor Kathleen (Kay) Grouhel.
Grouhel is Ladysmith’s first and only female mayor and played an instrumental role in many important initiatives, including the creation of the community’s beloved waterfront park.
The poem will recognize Grouhel’s contributions made to the town, while at the same time promoting public art and literature. The recognition received support from Grouhel’s family who will be part of the ongoing process.
Next, Council endorsed the engagement strategy for the Official Community Plan (OCP) review and recommendation to expand the scope of the project to include a climate analysis.
Public engagement launched in April and the public has been encouraged to complete an initial survey to help shape the plan. In accordance with legal requirements under the Local Government Act, Council endorsed consulting with additional identified local authorities.
The climate change analysis component will gather useful data on greenhouse gas emissions to help Ladysmith’s transition to a carbon neutral future.
More information on public engagement for the OCP Review can be found on our website: www.ladysmith.ca/ocp.
Council endorsed an application to the BC Active Transportation Infrastructure Grant Program to obtain funding to construct a sidewalk along Colonia Drive from Brown Drive Park to Malone Road and along Delcourt Avenue. The installation of crosswalks and painting of bike sharing road markings are also part of the project.
If approved, the grant would fund new e-bike charging stations at Brown Drive Park, 1st Avenue and Transfer Beach, encouraging the use of active transportation throughout town.
The next virtual Regular Meeting of Council is scheduled for August 3, 2021.
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