Photo by Elvert Barnes/Flickr

Photo by Elvert Barnes/Flickr

Editorial: Housing situation grim in Ladysmith, but efforts are being made to fix it

Many people in town are working hard to make the community more affordable and sustainable.

Ladysmith is in a housing crisis with no easy fix — but it is important to give credit where it is due. There are many professionals in town working hard to make the community more affordable and sustainable.

The Ladysmith Resources Centre Association is working on a 36-unit affordable housing project for seniors, families and people with disabilities, which is expected to open next fall. This will have a large impact on the housing situation in town.

ALSO READ: Buller Street affordable housing project expected to open fall 2022

The Ladysmith Kinsmen Club is also stepping up to do what it can to lessen the crisis. It has created an affordable housing society and is trying to acquire a piece of property from BC Hydro for a small development that can house young families.

ALSO READ: Ladysmith Kinsmen form affordable housing society

The rental market in Ladysmith and across much of the Island is grim, but there is at least a sliver of hope when organizations like the LRCA and the Kinsmen take action.

Ladysmith town staff deserve credit for a set of complicated draft bylaws, which are designed to regulate renovations. This is particularly important now as tenants at 110 Esplanade are staring eviction in the face.

ALSO READ: Ladysmith residents facing renoviction concerned over zero per cent vacancy

ALSO READ: Zero rental vacancies has Ladysmith working to prohibit renovictions

In the month since the draft bylaws came to a Committee of the Whole, staff have refined and expanded them, based on committee direction.

Though nothing is perfect and they include exemptions, it is clear staff have tenants in mind while drafting policy. In order for a landlord to evict a tenant to carry out renovations, if the bylaw is carried as drafted, they will have to provide a minimum buyout of 12 months’ rent, plus an additional month for each year the tenant has rented the unit. This could see a tenant who pays $800 a month and lived in a unit for five and a half years receiving upwards of $14,000, according to a town staff report.

Town council carried three readings of the proposed bylaws at its meeting on Dec. 7.

It’s easy to see town councillors sitting at the table discussing these bylaws and give them credit (or grief) for decisions, but it is important to recognize the staff members who are creating reports and informing decisions. Ladysmith is lucky to have a team of professionals who provide detailed, well thought out reports to inform those who make important decisions.



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