By LADYSMITH MAYOR ROB HUTCHINS
A key quality of an enterprising individual—and an enterprising community—is the ability to make opportunities happen…and here are just a few examples of Ladysmith opportunities at work.
In 2012, Western Forest Products, a key economic giant in our community, announced a significant investment in the Saltair and Ladysmith mills which will pay dividends to the local economy for years to come.
Also in 2012, our enterprising business people began working closely with Council to undertake joint economic development initiatives that could provide exciting investment opportunities.
Community Economic Partnership
Members of the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Business Association, Stz’uminus First Nation and Council have formed a partnership to develop new opportunities for expanding our local economy.
Partnerships with Stz’uminus First Nation
Town Council has implemented a number of agreements with the Stz’uminus First Nation that will position us for sharing services and creating exciting partnerships for generating economic wealth. We are working on agreements for water and sewer services and a partnership for creating jobs and economic wealth for both sides of the harbour, in addition to potential joint development of an industrial park at the south end of Ladysmith. All these opportunities will help to create more jobs for our citizens and economic wealth for our communities.
Ladysmith Maritime Society Community Marina
Ladysmith’s waterfront is a defining feature of our community’s identity and a key driver in our local economy. Marine tourism offers tremendous opportunities for growth — it is estimated that in 2012, visitors to the Ladysmith Maritime Society Community Marina spent over $300,000 in new money in our local businesses. The Ladysmith Maritime Society, in partnership with the Town, has upgraded the Community Marina to draw boaters to our community and more work is planned. Recent upgrades to the Community Marina include the beautiful new Welcome Centre (complete with gathering spaces, washrooms and laundry facilities) and a sewage pump-out station, while new docks are planned for 2013.
This state of the art artificial turf playing field, opened in 2011, means that the community can now host large sports tournaments and be a player in the sports tourism field. When we host teams, officials and supporters, as we did twice in 2012, with the Mini World Cup and the Stz’uminus Soccer Tournament, we saw significant new dollars spent in our community. The second phase of the project — including new ball fields — is being planned and will expand both the recreation and the economic opportunities for our town.
The Town of Ladysmith offers excellent opportunities for economic growth and investment. We have tremendous potential for a healthy, prosperous and rewarding future, because the people that make up this great community of ours are caring, generous, and enterprising and know the ingredients that make a wonderful place to call home. Most important of all, we all recognize the power of partnership. Working together, we can achieve so much in terms of economic opportunity and community resiliency for all our citizens.
Soaring High – Nanaimo Airport
Nanaimo Airport is a strong economic generator. In 2012, YCD supported (directly and indirectly) an estimated 700 full time jobs and, through its activities, generated approximately $54 million to the regional economy in total gross revenues. By 2026 this is estimated to grow to 1,617 full time jobs and $121 million to the regional economy.
Nanaimo Airport is Vancouver Island’s third largest airport and services customers in the central Vancouver Island area. YCD is a not-for-profit authority owned by the Nanaimo Airport Commission. Since the $26 million two-phase airport enhancement project was completed in 2011, the Nanaimo Airport passenger numbers have been growing at record rates.
WestJet Encore’s announcement of service to Calgary, starting June 24, the Nanaimo Airport passenger numbers will grow even faster. Now that flights to Alberta have been established, the next focus will be for flights to the Pacific Northwest.
NAC is working with local governments to develop a memorandum of understanding that can be used in the coming decades regarding non-aviation land use at the Nanaimo Airport. Work on site will ensure full environmental compliance while meeting the needs of the various communities in their primary service area who depend on safe, reliable, effective air transportation.
The NAC is doing its part for future generations. They are committed to fully managing environmental issues at the airport, including ground water protection, streams, adjacent ALR lands and operational components. In effect, sound environmental practices which respect ground water will be a focus of all airport activities. NAC is committed to investing in our communities through donations, sponsorships and in-kind contributions that lead to long-term growth and success. In 2013 NAC investments will focus on Family and Community, Environmental, and Economic Development.
Nanaimo Airport will continue to grow and generate significant economic benefit to the Central Vancouver Island area.
The Town of Ladysmith began the process of acquiring District Lot 108 for a new recreational facility in 1994. In the kind of win-win move that Ladysmith is known for, a parcel of the original Sports Field site at Lot 108 was turned into a new manufactured home park, Parkside Estates, to help meet the need for affordable housing in Ladysmith.
Ladysmith Marina development
Ladysmith Marina was purchased in 2004 by the Oak Bay Marine Group. To date they have spent around $6 million rebuilding marina docks, dredging and pile driving, using local trades whenever possible. The marina is on 22 acres of land development with future plans to develop single and multi-family homes. A new road into the marina as well as a new office, washrooms and laundry facilities are also in the plans. Ladysmith marina has over 400 berths. They are currently building 50’ – 92’ boathouses. All houses are constructed on site using local trades.
Coast Salish Development
Coast Salish Development Corporation is a partner in a Golf Course & 400 Housing Unit project. This development will enhance the area and create numerous business opportunities for the Oyster Bay/ Four Corners project. The development of a new community including tourist accommodations, retail and a centralized main street with unique shops will satisfy the growing demand for new infrastructure and facilities through the golf course and new housing in the area. The 4 Corners project is a mixed land use development situated along the Trans Canada Highway at the intersection of Oyster Sto-Lo Road and includes extensive ocean front properties for retail, residential and tourism.
Also designated for development is Deer Point Land, a 25-acre parcel in Yellow Point.
Expanding the involvement of First Nations as partners and linking First Nations with economic opportunities allows us to participate in ventures that would be too big an undertaking for just one of our Nations, stated Chief John Elliott, Stz’uminus First Nation.
Ladysmith’s new “Gateway” development
The local owners designed and constructed Oyster Bay Quay to be Ladysmith’s ‘Gateway” development.
Oyster Bay Quay lease units vary in size from 2,000 sq ft to over 13,000 sq ft. Phase one of the development is now ready for occupancy. The development is designed to include a restaurant complete with outdoor seating, ocean views from windows facing east, south and west, and visibility from the Trans Canada Highway.
Oyster Bay Quay is located at the strategic north entrance to Ladysmith, visible to the more than 24,000 cars per day that travel through Ladysmith. The location is also close to marinas, downtown shopping and the Nanaimo-Cassidy airport.
Sewage Treatment Plant Upgrade
A state-of-the art secondary sewage treatment system is being built in the Town of Ladysmith, thanks to over $5.2 million from Canada’s Gas Tax Fund. The upgrades will benefit Ladysmith’s residents as well as its harbour.
In 2013, The Town is initiating the final phase of the Secondary Treatment System Upgrade Project, which provides for biological treatment. The biological component of the plant will have the capacity to serve a population of 17,200, with potential to expand to 32,000. Detailed design for the upgrade is currently under way with the completion of construction scheduled for 2015.
Peerless Road Recycling Depot
The Peerless Road Recycling Depot will be improved to be a modern, user friendly recycling drop-off centre, thanks to $950,000 investment from the federal Gas Tax Fund.
Ladysmith Resources Centre, Boys and Girls Club, and Spirit Square
The High Street project contains Ladysmith Resources Centre, the Senior’s Centre, the Boys and Girls Club and daycare, as well as Spirit Square. The project was made possible due to a partnership between the Town of Ladysmith and several non-profit organizations, as well as grant funding. The building, a LEED project, serves as a demonstration of the Town’s sustainability vision in action.
Chamber of Commerce Visitor Centre
The Visitor Centre is located at 411 B 1st Avenue (Chamber office) in Ladysmith and is open from 9am to 5pm, 7 days a week in the summer and 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday in the off-season. In 2012 there was an increase in visitors of 14.1 per cent.