(File photo)

(File photo)

Ladysmith council update: Town in ‘good position’ financially

Auditor explains 2021 financial statements

Ladysmith town council briefs from April 19, 2022.

• Acting Mayor Tricia MacKay filled in for Mayor Stone due to illness.

• The Town declared that May 2022 be proclaimed as Lyme disease Awareness month in the town.

• A presentation from Cory Vanderhorst, representing MNP the town auditors, explained the 2021 financial statements of the town. The report to council is legislated under the Community Charter, and states that they be prepared by the financial officer, an auditor must be appointed by council and the auditor must provides the annual report to council.

He said “overall the Town is in a good position and the financial actions the town incorporates are appropriate and have been consistently applied.”

• A second delegation, Ekistics urban planning, explained the development concept for Lot 5 Holland Creek. The presentation also had members from Lamont Land, the owners of Lot 5. Paul Fenske, from Ekistics, gave a description of the various housing concepts as well as the companies plan to preserve the Arbutus Hump and trail system. He showed where the dedication of green space and parkland, which encompasses 30 per cent of Lot 5, will be and explained the reasoning behind these decisions. The development will be a phased program and the company will be developing lots to sell to other builders/homeowners as well as doing some of the building themselves. Fenske said “167 single-family and townhomes not only provide for a diversified style of living as well as can fit various lifestyles as well as life stages.”

When asked about affordability Fenske said “the company does and will work towards keeping the cost of housing as low as possible, but the word affordability is tough to define.”

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• The next item on the council agenda was the application for “Rezoning and OCP Amendement” for Lot 5 Holland Creek. There was a series of recommendations from staff in regards to the applications with one being that “Bylaw 2106” be referred to our neighbours, Stz’uminus First Nation” and that council give first and second reading to proposed new bylaws 2061 and 2017 which both have the various “rules” and guidelines for the development, if approved.

Many of the series of recommendations, from staff, included protection of vegetation, erosion and run-off concerns, invasive species and parking. Council gave first and second reading to the two proposed bylaws and the Town hold a public hearing 30 days after the the applicant has held a neighbourhood information meeting.

• A letter, dated Feb. 9, 2022, from School District 68, regarding the institution of a “School Site Acquisition Charge” and asking at the Town of Ladysmith, under the guise of the Local Government Act, adopt a bylaw imposing a School site Acquistion Charge including duplex units. Under provincial legislation municipal approval is not required but it does require school boards to seek input from municipalities the district encompasses.

The question was asked that any funds collected, for the charge, in the Ladysmith area, be held specifically for school site acquisition in Ladysmith. Staff replied that any funds collected are used to acquire sites within the district.

It was discussed by council in regards to what this can do to the affordability of new homes but at the end of the debate council voted in favour of drafting the bylaw and accept the school district’s resolution towards SSACs in the district.

• Four bylaws relating to Town property (1250 and 1260) on Churchill Place were brought to council for final adoption.

Bylaw 2105 was to dedicate 1250 Churchill as park which required a two-thirds majority vote of council. Bylaws 2087 and 2088 were adopted to change permitted uses of 1260 Churchill Pl. from single unit to a mix of multi-family residential, single family and park. The last one, Bylaw 2108, was to have a covenant placed on 1260 Churchill Pl. having an “affordable housing component” identified.

• Council also moved forward on bylaws in relation to the town’s 2022 budget.

Bylaw 2108, to adopt the five-year financial plan (which is required under legislation) was given first, second and third reading.

Bylaw 2109, to set property tax rates in accordance with the 2022 financial plan, was also given the first three readings. Water Parcel Tax Rate bylaw 2110 had the first three readings done as was Bylaw 2111 which is the Sewer Parcel Tax Bylaw.

At the end of the meeting there were no questions from the public in attendance or from the Town’s online site for residents watching the meeting on the internet.

— Submitted