Ladysmith Waterfront Area Plan

Itst uw'hw-nuts' ul'wum - We are working as one

Urban Planning & Policy

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.

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Ladysmith, BC
Town of Ladysmith, in partnership with the Stz’uminus First Nation
DIALOG Services

Planning & Urban Design

A shared commitment

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.

Collecting thoughts

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.

Tactile engagement

Participants rolled up their sleeves and shared their vision for the waterfront using plasticine, blocks, and cardboard.

Listening and learning

The process was designed to remove barriers for participation, encouraging listening and learning about other perspectives and experiences.

Bringing together the input

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.

Creativity meets reality

The project team brought together technical and economic insights to operationalize the communities’ visions into a workable site plan.

Vetting the plan together

DIALOG worked with both communities to review and revise the draft plan.

Award-winning project

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.

Two communities, one plan

Both communities endorsed the final plan and, building on the momentum of the planning process, have since begun collaborating on implementation.

The Team

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.

Aaron Stone, former mayor – Ladysmith, BC
Exploring with sketches

Early sketches were based on participant input, and then tested for technical feasibility.

Envisioning a brand new waterfront

The new waterfront will be a vibrant ‘people magnet’ that include homes, shops, industry, parks, recreation, and heritage and cultural spaces for both communities.

Incorporating various elements

The new plan includes a pedestrian bridge over the highway, which will help stitch together the waterfront and Ladysmith’s historic downtown.

Implementation already underway

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.


2019 Brownie Reach Out Award Canadian Brownfield Network