The Town of Ladysmith is moving forward to hold a public hearing for the new official community plan.
At a meeting on Tuesday, March 7, at the Ladysmith Seniors Centre, councillors unanimously supported moving the ‘Ladysmith Unparalleled’ OCP forward after months of deliberation, recommendations, and public surveys.
The plan prioritizes affordable and diverse housing, better-connected neighbourhoods, access to the waterfront and other natural areas, and support for arts, culture and heritage.
Members of the council are happy with the plan, and anticipate moving forward with the hearing.
“Hopefully we’ll see the finish line this year so we can start implementing it, and making our community as vibrant, ecologically sustainable, and as financially viable as it can be for the future,” said Mayor Aaron Stone at the meeting.
A main talking point at the meeting was a “subtle change” of an OCP policy allowing developments up to eight storeys at Coronation Mall if they provide “extraordinary benefit” aligned with the OCP’s priorities.
According to Jake Belobaba, the town’s director of development services, after “feedback about the concern of that scale of development,” zoning will be limited to six storeys; however, if a developer were to come to the council with a compelling project, “there would be OCP policy that would speak to what would justify eight.”
Building heights have been a controversial issue in the past.
“For folks who grew up here, a six-storey building may be a condo tower,” said Stone. “But it’s still considered low-density residential, it’s the kind of density that fits with the character of our community.”
A date for the public hearing will be set in a later council meeting.