Ladysmith will place a ‘no build’ covenant above the 130 metre mark up the slope of what is known as the Arbutus Hump in the Holland Creek development “until such time that adequate water for fire protection is available to the satisfaction of the town.”
Council also directed staff to proceed with recommendations intended to preserve view corridors from a park site set aside atop Arbutus Hump, looking toward Ladysmith Harbour and the Strait of Georgia.
Those were two of the recommendations contained in a report from Ladysmith’s Director of Development Services to the Monday, April 18 meeting of council.
Prior to making their decision council heard a presentation from Director of Infrastructure Services John Manson on the options available for providing sufficient water pressure for fire fighting purposes to areas in Ladysmith above 130 metres.
Ladysmith cannot presently provide adequate pressure through the town’s system, he said.
The only way to provide adequate pressure would be to build a reservoir higher up Arbutus Hump than the proposed development, a project he estimated would cost $2.5 million; or to install a pump station to supply water on demand at a cost of about $750,000.
The reservoir option would be more reliable and less costly to operate and maintain, but the cost of construction would be more than three times as much. Manson said reservoir systems are usually built and operated by municipalities; pumping systems are often built privately and maintained by strata corporations.
Another consideration would be the effect of a reservoir on the 2.8 hectares atop Arbutus Hump that Ladysmith wants to preserve as park. “We’ve had significant discussion on council around protecting Arbutus Hump,” Mayor Stone said.
Manson said it might be possible to design a reservoir that would be unobtrusive, using as an example Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, where a reservoir is concealed under tennis courts.
Glenn Carey, representing Holland Creek Partners, said the no-build convenient would allow other parts of the development to go ahead while a solution is sought to the provision of water to fire protection standards on the higher elevations of Arbutus Hump.
Ladysmith also wants a 10 metre height limit on ocean view condominiums proposed below the 155 metre contour of Arbutus Hump. The three-story envelope would protect views from the proposed development, looking toward the the Douglas Islands and the Strait of Georgia.