Ladysmith town council focused on its third budget workshop meeting as part of its Nov. 16 regular meeting. Town staff provided a presentation of the proposed capital projects.
Capital projects are funded through a variety of sources including taxation, reserves, development cost charges and infrastructure funding, such as the gas tax. Council directed staff to prepare the 2022 Sewer Parcel Tax Bylaw as well as the 2022 Water Parcel Tax Bylaw. No increases are proposed next year for these parcel taxes.
Council also directed that the Water Rates Bylaw be amended to increase consumption rates by 5 per cent, starting in January 2022. The fourth 2022 budget workshop meeting is scheduled for Nov. 30 at 6:30 pm.
Council approved allocating $100,000 from the COVID-19 Safe Restart Reserve and amending the 2021-2025 Financial Plan to fund a new audio-visual system for council meetings to be held at the Seniors’ Centre. The room will be set up and torn down for each council meeting, helping to accommodate use of the shared space. As a result, all of the equipment must be easily portable and securely stored.
In 2020, the town received just over $2.4 million in provincial funding to offset costs and revenues as a result of COVID-19. A large portion of those funds remains and the purchase of AV equipment meets the criteria outlined by the province.
Council approved allocating up to $1,500 from the Grants in Aid budget to donate to the Ladysmith Family and Friends “It Takes a Village” fundraiser on Friday, Dec. 10 at Aggie Hall.
Mayor Aaron Stone recognized Louis Riel Day at the meeting — a day to celebrate Metis culture and heritage and to honour Riel, who fought for equality, social justice and minority language rights.
A public hearing was held to amend the zoning bylaw for 431 1st Avenue to increase the permitted floor space ratio and reduce the minimum rear setback. The changes would allow for construction of a fourth dwelling unit in the attic space. There were no speakers at the hearing and council gave third reading to the bylaw amendment pertaining to the property. Staff were also directed to refer the item the Ministry of Transportation due to the proximity of the address to the highway.
Council recommended that Mayor Stone write a letter on behalf of council expressing thanks for the Ladysmith Healthcare Auxiliary’s donation of $11,077.50 towards the purchase of six Automated External Defibrillators. The medical devices will be installed at the Frank Jameson Community Centre, Transfer Beach, Seniors’ Centre, Ladysmith Community Marina and the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association.
Mayor Stone also proclaimed November 2021 as Adoption Awareness Month in Ladysmith.