Ladysmith Waterfront Area Plan
Itst uw'hw-nuts' ul'wum - We are working as one
The Town of Ladysmith and Stz’uminus First Nation signed an agreement to work together to remediate and redevelop a highly contaminated 50-acre waterfront parcel. DIALOG led a year-long engagement and design process, working in partnership with both communities, to help them navigate this venture. The experience strengthened relationships while establishing a vision, policies, and actions to guide redevelopment of the waterfront. In addition to planning and design, DIALOG also provided public engagement services.
- Ladysmith, BC
- Town of Ladysmith, in partnership with the Stz’uminus First Nation
- DIALOG Services
Planning & Urban Design
This project started with a concept: naatsumaaat, which means “one heart and one mind”. The entire project team would be working together with a common goal to drive the outcome.
The project team used diverse methods to collect input from both communities, including online surveys, pop-up engagement, youth mapping, workshops, a speaker’s night, and a two-day charrette.
Participants rolled up their sleeves and shared their vision for the waterfront using plasticine, blocks, and cardboard.
The process was designed to remove barriers for participation, encouraging listening and learning about other perspectives and experiences.
DIALOG’s facilitators drew out key ideas from all participants, and worked with both Stz’uminus and Ladysmith residents to distill them down into a concrete plan of action.
The project team brought together technical and economic insights to operationalize the communities’ visions into a workable site plan.
DIALOG worked with both communities to review and revise the draft plan.
The Ladysmith Waterfront Area Plan was recognized by the Planning Institute of BC with a Gold Medal Award in the Excellence in Planning Small Town & Rural Areas category.
Both communities endorsed the final plan and, building on the momentum of the planning process, have since begun collaborating on implementation.
Aaron Stone, former mayor – Ladysmith, BC
I think this is being seen as beyond a community plan, or a restoration or economic development project – it’s about the future of our communities as one.
Early sketches were based on participant input, and then tested for technical feasibility.
The new waterfront will be a vibrant ‘people magnet’ that include homes, shops, industry, parks, recreation, and heritage and cultural spaces for both communities.
The new plan includes a pedestrian bridge over the highway, which will help stitch together the waterfront and Ladysmith’s historic downtown.
Both communities have begun implementation of the plan, including securing funding for the revitalization of the historic machine shop, further transforming it into an arts and heritage hub.