In a split vote, Town Council rejected plans for a Ladysmith Poet Laureate Program.
The motion sought to approve the Poet Laureate Programs for both youth and adult that would be overseen by the Ladysmith Arts Council; and authorize $2,300 in funding from the 2020 Grant in Aid budget to be allocated toward the Poet Laureate Program and administration of the program.
The proposed budget would have included $600 for the youth poet, $1,200 for the adult poet, and $500 for administration. The adult Poet Laureate would have served a two-year term, and the youth would have served for one-year.
Councillors expressed concern at the $2,300 amount – saying it was too much money taken away from the already tight Grants in Aid budget. Mayor Aaron Stone put forward a motion to lower the funding to $1,500 which would provide $1,000 for the adult poet, $500 for the youth poet, and no money toward administration of the program. His motion was defeated in a tie.
Town staff prepared a comparative analysis of Poet Laureate programs in Nanaimo, Victoria, Vancouver, and Tofino. Vancouver allocated $5,000 a year for the Poet Laureate, Victoria allocated $4,500 a year with $1,000 per poetry month event. Nanaimo allocated $1,300 a year with $200 in project funding per year. Information on Tofino’s program was requested but not received in time for publication of the report.