The Stz’uminus First Nation (“SFN”) and the Coast Salish Group (“CSG”) have progressed on their continuing reconciliation efforts and we can now start sharing our future plans for Ladysmith Harbour. “We would like to thank the province and the Town of Ladysmith for their efforts to date to move our reconciliation forward.” Ray Gauthier, CEO, Coast Salish Group.
Reconciliation is a too often used term and is confusing to most people. In this context SFN has been working with the province for approximately 9 years to provide certainty around a number of different items one of which is Crown land resources, which include both land and water rights.
For thousands of years prior to colonization, SFN has been living on parts of Vancouver Island and the main land and one of those areas is known as Ladysmith Harbour. Colonization altered that and currently vehicles known as reconciliation and treaty agreements provide First Nations with their only choices in protecting their interests.
This is what makes SFN’s reconciliation agreement with the province so important. Reconciliation is an opportunity for your local First Nations to re-occupy land that was taken from them when they were placed on reserves 170 years ago; for SFN it is a coming home.
“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. We embrace the economic and recreational opportunities at Ladysmith Harbour to build a sustainable future for current and future generations.” Chief John Elliott, Stz’uminus First Nation.
We are working towards a December 31, 2023 transfer date where, SFN will be granted leases on water and land lots in the harbour. Long term plans include the re-development of the area from Slag Point to the federal wharf. The current plans are to create a mini–Granville Island concept and CSG is working with the province to remediate portions of the harbour, resulting from $10 M from Stz’uminus’ reconciliation. This money is intended specifically for environmental cleanup and CSG sees this as not only a benefit to the town but also the entire region. 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. This development is aligned with the town’s current waterfront area plan.
On an interim basis CSG will provide moorage on the existing site. Boaters should know they can contact CSG, starting October 1, 2023, to arrange for moorage coinciding with the transfer. Additional information regarding this transition will be shared over the next 4 months. Stay tuned for the Ladysmith Harbour concept plan, which will be shared with both communities over the next while.
“This is an exciting opportunity to advance Stz’uminus and Ladysmith united priorities. Our shared vision for the waterfront supports a deep desire to return Stz’uminus presence and culture to this area. We look forward with great anticipation to working with Stz’uminus as we continue to advance the Waterfront Area Plan together, working as one.” Mayor Stone, Town of Ladysmith
SFN and CSG are very excited moving forward with this opportunity. CSG’s past efforts include a partnership in the Fortis Mt. Hayes project, Holland Creek Residential Development project, Microtel Hotel, Owls Hollow, a new 600-unit subdivision and the development of 40,000 sq. ft. of commercial office space.