The Town of Ladysmith is adding to its green space after receiving title to a 3.2 acre piece of property in the Waterfront Area following an adjudicated expropriation process.
In May 2018, Council directed staff to make an offer to purchase Lot 5, Plan 45800, based on a professionally appraised value.
Lot 5 is predominantly a fairly steep rock face covered with mature Arbutus and other tree species, running north from just above the Transfer Beach Amphitheatre. It also includes portions of well-used pedestrian trails and is surrounded by provincial and town lands.
The land parcel is currently zoned as Waterfront Reserve and designated in the Waterfront Area Plan as Parks and Open Spaces. The Town anticipates preserving Lot 5 for public use, including park and road access to the Ladysmith Community Marina.
A local government can acquire private property for park when it’s in the public interest by following a provincially legislated process.
In recent months, the Town made an offer to purchase Lot 5 at market value from the property owner based on the appraised value. The Town's offer, however, was not accepted by the other party.
The Town then proceeded on Oct. 31, 2018 to begin the expropriation process set out in the Community Charter and Expropriation Act by filing a notice with the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia.
On Nov. 30, 2018, the property owner requested that a provincially appointed Inquiry Officer review whether the proposed land expropriation was necessary to achieve the Town's objectives or whether those objectives could be better achieved by an alternate site, varying the amount of land or interest in land being taken.
Submissions were made by both the Town and property owner and the Inquiry Officer recommended that the expropriation be approved.
"On behalf of Council, we are pleased with the decision arrived at by the provincial inquiry officer as we move forward with Stz'uminus First Nation and our community partners on implementing our Waterfront Area Plan," said Mayor Aaron Stone.
"Public ownership of Lot 5 allows the Town to ensure trails are properly maintained and the Arbutus and other mature trees are preserved for future generations."
The Waterfront Area Plan's broad consultation and community engagement process involved stakeholder meetings, open houses, speakers' nights and surveys that took place over several months.
"We heard from the community during the extensive Waterfront Area Plan consultation that preserving green space was important for the aesthetic of a publicly accessible waterfront," said CAO Guillermo Ferrero.
Ladysmith boasts over 110 hectares, or 271 acres, of parks and open spaces offering seaside fun, nature experiences, playgrounds, and play fields.
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