Water study prompts meeting

The Town of Ladysmith is unveiling the results of its own watershed modeling study.

On the heels of  a study by a Vancouver Island real estate developer, the Town of Ladysmith is unveiling the results of its own watershed modeling study.

Ladysmith council will provide a presentation on the study results at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15 at Aggie Hall. The town commissioned the report to verify the ability of the Stocking, Holland and Banon watersheds to provide a reliable source of domestic water to the town for the medium and long-term future.

Ladysmith residents recently shared their thoughts and ideas about the growth of Ladysmith and a proposed expansion to the town’s boundaries through an independent public opinion survey conducted recently on behalf of Couverdon Real Estate.

Couverdon, the real estate arm of TimberWest Forest Corporation, conducted the survey to determine awareness of a proposal to extend the Town of Ladysmith’s northwest boundaries, which would add approximately 273 hectares (675 acres) of TimberWest forestlands to the town.

“I was pleased to see that the majority of Ladysmith residents have heard of the proposal,” Frank Limshue, Couverdon’s director of planning and zoning, said in a press release. “But, I think we need to be more proactive about sharing information and answering people’s questions — across the board, people wanted more information.”

The Justason Market Intelligence (JMI) survey was used to identify key values in Ladysmith, as well as gauge awareness and support for Couverdon’s proposal to extend the town’s northwestern boundaries as part of a long-term community development project. The findings show the majority (84 per cent) of Ladysmith residents are aware of Couverdon’s boundary extension proposal. Support and opposition to the proposal was about equal, as four out of 10 residents both support (38 per cent) and oppose (42 per cent) the proposal. Two in 10 residents (20 per cent) have yet to form an opinion on the proposal.

Over half of the Ladysmith residents polled (53 per cent) indicated that protecting watershed lands should be a top concern in the next 20-30 years for the town. As part of the proposal to expand the town’s boundaries, Couverdon would consider transferring 202 hectares (500 acres) of TimberWest forestland around Stocking and Holland lakes to the town.

“These survey results highlight the need for any future development in Ladysmith to recognize residents’ concern for water supply and take a long-term view of development,” says Limshue. “Our boundary extension proposal for phased development is part of a 30-year vision for these lands — we want to take the time necessary to understand and meet community expectations.”

The JMI survey sampled 300 adult residents aged 18 or older by telephone between June 5 and June 20. The margin of error for a sample of this size is plus or minus 5.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, according to Couverdon.