Ladysmith council will consider whether to proceed with the boundary expansion proposal submitted by Couverdon Real Estate and whether to take the proposal to a referendum this week.
A special council meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Aggie Hall to deal with an amended proposal from Couverdon, the real estate arm of TimberWest. At the meeting, council will hear a presentation from Frank Limshue, Couverdon’s director of planning and zoning, regarded the application, and will receive a report from town staff on the issue.
At the end of July, Couverdon submitted an amended proposal that reduces the boundary extension area by 10 hectares.
As well, in a cover letter accompanying the amended application, Couverdon asks the town to consider having a referendum for the proposal at the same time as the municipal election in November.
Couverdon’s original proposal, which asked to have 283 hectares of TimberWest land included in the Ladysmith boundaries while transferring 202 hectares within community watersheds to the town, was put to the public by an alternative approval process (AAP) in the spring. The AAP found that more than 10 per cent of eligible voters did not support the proposal, and it can only go ahead if it is approved by electors through a referendum.
Mayor Rob Hutchins says after the AAP process and after hearing “considerable community concern” about whether the town has enough water to consider such a boundary expansion, council asked staff to add to a water study that was already underway factors such as climate change. The study, which was presented to the community Sept. 15, found that Ladysmith is unlikely to reach a crisis with its water supply any time soon, but a water crisis will be an annual occurrence if something isn’t done to increase capacity by 2054.
“Couverdon has put a request that we have a referendum, and we made it clear we would not consider a referendum until we receive and consider the water study,” said Hutchins.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the public will have a chance to ask questions of clarification about the proposal, and before council considers the report and recommendations from staff, there will be an opportunity for the public to speak up.
“It’s not a public hearing, but we’re giving an opportunity for people to voice their opinion in favour of or opposed to the question before us, which is to go to referendum or not go to referendum, and to consider the boundary extension or not consider the boundary extension,” said Hutchins.
For more information about the Couverdon proposal, click here.