Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith are sharing more of their plans for the future of the Ladysmith waterfront.
In March 2022, Stz’uminus and the province signed a reconciliation agreement to establish commitments to collaborate on future remediation and infrastructure projects for the Ladysmith Harbour, and a few months later, the Town of Ladysmith signed an agreement to work with Stz’uminus to implement the waterfront area plan.
According to a joint news release from Stz’uminus’ development arm Coast Salish Group and the town, they’re working toward transferring town and federally owned land between Slag Point and the federal wharf – including the Ladysmith Community Marina – to the corporation on Dec. 31.
“This is a significant milestone in the long journey of reconciliation for the Stz’uminus people. Our ancestors lived on this land, thus Ladysmith Harbour has great significance to our community. This sets the stage for making things right,” said Stz’uminus Chief John Elliott in the release. “We embrace the economic and recreational opportunities at Ladysmith Harbour to build a sustainable future for current and future generations.”
The current plan for the waterfront is to create a “mini-Granville Island concept,” according to the release.
“When this portion of the harbour is fully developed, it is planned to accommodate approximately 1,200 boat houses, slips, moorage and commercial/retail space,” the release noted. “This development is aligned with the town’s current waterfront area plan.”
Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone called the plans an exciting opportunity to advance the “united priorities” of the town and the First Nation.
“Our shared vision for the waterfront supports a deep desire to return Stz’uminus presence and culture to this area,” he said in the release.
The economic development group said it’s working with the province to remediate portions of the harbour with a $10-million grant from the province for clean-up operations.
In the meantime, the Coast Salish Group will provide moorage on the existing site and boaters can contact the corporation starting Oct. 1 to make arrangements.
The Ladysmith Maritime Society, which operates the community marina, said “it was disappointing to read these announcements without prior notice to the society,” and added that it has continued to reach out to Stz’uminus First Nation “with the hope that doors will open for productive talks.”