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Town of Ladysmith shares first concept of planned city hall complex

Alternative-approval process continues until June 25
An artist's rendering showing what a new Town of Ladysmith city hall might look like at the corner of Buller Street and 1st Avenue.

With an alternative-approval process now underway, Ladysmith residents have a better idea of what a new city hall would look like downtown.

The Town of Ladysmith, in a press release June 4, shared the first concept drawing of the Buller Street revitalization project, which includes 80-90 purpose-built rental suites on top of a 19,000-square-foot city hall and to-be-determined institutional space.

The town is seeking residents' blessing for long-term borrowing of $13.5 million for the city hall portion of the project, which it said would amount to $7.17 per $100,000 of residential property assessment. The town's estimated debt payments would be approximately $861,000 per year.

"The project will revitalize Buller Street, create jobs and serve as a catalyst for future development in the area," the release noted, adding that the current city hall is more than 70 years old and has "exceeded its useful lifespan as a functional municipal building."

The housing portion of the project would be funded through the provincial government's B.C. Builds program, meant to fast-track housing through partnerships with local governments. According to the Town of Ladysmith's website, the town would lease the apartments to project partner Catalyst Community Developments for a 60-year term.

READ ALSO: Ladysmith launching AAP to try to borrow $13.5 million for new city hall

The building's maximum height is 21 metres, which would allow for six storeys with the fourth, fifth and sixth storeys "stepped back" from Buller Street and 1st Avenue. The apartments would range from 500-1,000 square feet, with at least 20 per cent of the units designated to be rented below market rate.

The alternative approval process started May 24 and ends on June 25. If more than 10 per cent of electors submit voter response forms indicating opposition, the alternative-approval process will fail. A failed AAP would not necessarily lead to a referendum on the project.

"The town could go to referendum, allow a different development on the Buller street site, sell the Buller Street site, seek other ways to fund the project and/or provide city hall services a different way, such as satellite offices in various locations," notes the town's website.

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