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Ladysmith will hold off on deciding how to spend $3.4-million ‘building communities’ grant

Council discusses road work, dam replacement and other options
Ladysmith council discussed possible uses for a $3.4-million grant from the province at a committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday, May 9. (Bailey Seymour)

Ladysmith council discussed possible infrastructure spending options for a $3.4-million grant they received from the province’s growing communities fund.

At a May 9 committee of the whole meeting, councillors deliberated over seven recommended options to use the grant; among the options were new roads, renovating the machine shop and replacing the Stocking Dam.

Councillors unanimously agreed that replacing the dam was the top priority; however, they are waiting to see if they can secure funding for the dam from the province first. Town council had decided to explore further funding options for the dam at a council meeting earlier this spring.

“I get that the dam replacement is a critical infrastructure piece based on some of the information we have received about its condition, but I don’t think the door has been closed to other assistance for that project,” said Mayor Aaron Stone.

He would like to see the money used on road work, specifically mentioning Sixth Avenue and Symonds Street, which haven’t been properly maintained, he said, “and are unrecoverable with crack-sealing and now need to be repaved.”

Both Coun. Ray Gourlay and Coun. Marsh Stevens thought paving Oyster Bay Drive, the road that connects Transfer Beach to the community marina, would be a strategic move related to the waterfront area plan.

Coun. Tricia McKay asked staff about possible renovations to the machine shop, but was advised the grant would only be enough to cover new siding, windows and insulation. Stone said that although the grant seems like a lot of money, in reality, “all that good news get wiped away when you really look at what needs to be done.”

Council eventually passed a motion to wait at least six months to make a decision, and wait to hear from the province about funding opportunities for the dam.

READ MORE: Ladysmith to receive $3.4-million share of ‘growing communities’ grant

The grant came from the $1-billion provincial growing communities fund announced in March to address demands for infrastructure and amenities that municipalities are facing. The town has five years to start spending the grant money.

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Bailey Seymour

About the Author: Bailey Seymour

After graduating from SAIT and stint with the Calgary Herald, I ended up at the Nanaimo News Bulletin/Ladysmith Chronicle in March 2023
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