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Marina talks stall in Ladysmith, maritime society planning to petition province

Society asking that operations at Ladysmith Community Marina continue uninterrupted
The Ladysmith Maritime Society says its talks with the town and Stz’uminus are making little headway, and the society plans to start a petition to send to the province. (Black Press Media file photo)

The Ladysmith Maritime Society says community marina discussions with the Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith are making very little headway.

According to a news release from the society, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone expressed an interest in ongoing talks to secure a future for LMS before the open house event on May 3; however, the society contends there has been no follow-up.

READ MORE: Community members in Ladysmith say they’re ‘frightened’ for future of marina

Talks between the parties renewed in late April after the society received a notice to vacate the Ladysmith Community Marina by the end of 2023 due to reconciliation agreement between Stz’uminus and the province, in which the nation will take ownership of the property.

According to the town, LMS was presented in 2022 with a non-negotiable operational agreement with Stz’uminus that would allow the society to operate the harbour until 2026 which was “very similar to the current agreement;” however, LMS argues there were aspects to the agreement that would have made it illegal for a not-for-profit organization to sign.

“We would like the Town of Ladysmith to support collaboration with Stz’uminus, so that the community marina operations can continue uninterrupted. The society has for years shared revenue with the town on an annual basis in accordance with the current [agreement] in place since 2009,” said LMS president Kelly Daniels in the release. “Looking forward, we continue to actively pursue a collaborative approach. We have the expertise and the well-earned reputation as one of the friendliest marinas on the coast with state-of-the art facilities that attract more than 3,500 visiting boaters every year.”

Richard Kinar, a member of the Ladysmith Yacht Club and an advocate for Ladysmith’s waterfront, says the issue lies more with the province, rather than the town.

READ MORE: Ladysmith marina operator being evicted from the harbour

“If this is how the B.C. government manages land claims then they need to be held accountable for this disaster,” he said. “What should have been co-operation and a working model for all of B.C., we instead have a community feeling betrayed not by reconciliation, but by a government that has chosen to work behind closed doors.”

The maritime society is planning to petition the province.

The town declined comment.

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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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