Ladysmith town council voted to issue a development variance permit to allow construction of a new private dock adjacent to Pamela Anderson’s property.
Council voted Jan. 25 to allow the dock, designed to be built over the existing footprint of a former dock and connect to her boathouse on the beach. It will have a walkway which will lead to a 3.6 x 12.2 metre float for boat moorage.
“Owner Pamela Anderson is currently planning a small-scale residential development to provide suitable accommodations and amenities so her family can settle on the property and continue to reside in the community they treasure,” noted a letter submitted to the town from Darryl Jonas, architect. “Design and planning of the property is currently underway, and we anticipate a comprehensive development permit submission to be made early in 2022.”
The variance permit was required because design of the dock did not meet several zoning bylaw regulations, including allowable surface area and the maximum height and maximum length of dock structures.
“The applicant has expressed that the purpose of the dock’s length is to reach deep water to allow boats to moor without scouring the seabed and to prevent the moorage float from bottoming out,” noted a town staff report.
The applicant submitted several reports with the application for the permit to address concerns about environmental impact and First Nations consultation. It included engineered drawings, as well as consultation with the province and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
“I think you can take a lot of comfort in the environmental side of things, although that was a theme that came through in the letters [from the public], whether enough was being done,” said Coun. Marsh Stevens.
A 30.5-metre section of the walkway will be made of a grated material to prevent it from blocking sun from marine life below. A letter submitted to council by Castor Consultants also notes replacing the existing creosote timber pilings with steel will be better for the marine environment. Creosote is a preservative used to prevent marine growth and removal of the current compromised structure will have a positive effect on the broader environment, the letter said.
Stevens was the only councillor to vote against issuing the permit. He expressed concerns around public access of the beach and the number of boats that will be able to tie up to the dock.
“A sign that says you are welcome here is not quite the same thing as infrastructure that says you are welcome here and I think there is an opportunity at the end of Gill Road, there is an unused public right of way there. I would like to see something developed in terms of having a pedestrian trail there,” he said.
The existing boathouse encroaches on Crown land and hinders pedestrians walking along the beach at high tide, but pedestrians will be able to walk under the dock at lower tides, according to the staff report.
Coun. Rob Johnson responded to Stevens’s concern about the number of boats by pointing out the majority of the structure will be the walkway and there will only be space to tie up two or three boats at one time.
He added the walkway is not designed to have boat tied to it, as it will not float with the changing tide.
Council received letters from the public expressing concerns including impacts on the adjacent shellfish aquaculture area, ecosystem shading and increased boat activity.
“A lot of the letters we received clearly had been prompted by Facebook, not by reading the staff report because most of the letters that I had read were actually having suppositions in them like, ‘I hope the federal and provincial governments and the First Nations would be consulted’ – that was all included in the staff report,” said Mayor Aaron Stone.