The three-and-a-half hour town hall meeting held July 19 at Aggie Hall is still giving residents something to talk about.
Last week, the Chronicle reported on some of the key issues that were discussed at the meeting, such as waterfront revitalization and cat licensing. However, due to the wealth of information presented at the meeting, there was not enough space to completely cover all the issues.
Presented below are the final three topics.
Meeting attendees spent at least a good 15 to 20 minutes discussing public transit, which included a lengthy discussion on the Ladysmith Trolley.
While some argued that the trolley is not environmentally efficient, others expressed a desire to see the trolley transfer to other systems travelling to other cities.
“I think it brings some ambiance to Ladysmith. I like it, the concern is under utilization,” said Linda Brown.
The Ladysmith Trolley, which was introduced in 2009, has carried approximately 52,000 riders in its two years of service for an average of 8.6 plus riders per hour.
The Trolley Committee has recommended that council implement a fare structure for trolley users effective October 1, 2011. While children up to age five would still ride free, youth six to 18 and seniors will pay $1 per fare and adults would pay $2 per ride.
Hutchins warned that there would be an administration cost involved with charging a fare. Trolley donations average about 30 cents per rider and are generously collected by volunteer staff at the Ladysmith and District Credit union.
“It’s not costing the taxpayer any money, but as soon as we start doing a ticket system where there’s monthly passes, it is going to be a public responsibility, it’s going to be a town responsibility and we cannot expect the credit union to provide that service,” he said.
It was the second highest voted topic up for debate, however there was very little discussion on the secondary suites issue. Hutchins dished out information on council’s decision to phase in legalization of in-home suites.
The move came after a recommendation from consulting firm CitySpaces.
One audience member inquired as to why detached suites are not being considered at this time. Hutchins explained that detached suites have the potential to alter a neighbourhood’s landscape, which some community members are opposed to. Design standards for those will be considered in the fall.
Meeting attendees were later asked to consider the feasibility of a dog park for Ladysmith.
A dog park is considered an outdoor recreation area designed for owners to exercise their dogs and are usually fenced in with access to water and poop bag dispensers.
According to Hutchins, the off-leash area at Transfer Beach is a popular spot for canines, however because it is unfenced it has posed a hazard at times for dogs running in front of passing cars.
The cost to fence a dog park is approximately $10,000 per acre. To date, council has requested the Parks and Recreation Commission to look at possible sites that could accommodate an off-leash dog park, as well as the possibility of using one of the town’s existing ball fields in the off season for dog owners, as they are generally fenced and have water available.
While many attendees were in favour of creating a dedicated dog park, some expressed concern that allowing dogs to urinate and defecate on the ball field would cause a health issue for the youths who use the parks during the regular season.
Due to the time constraints, the meeting ended an hour later than planned. Council plans to hold a second town hall meeting in September.
Keep reading the Chronicle for the details.