The efforts to clean up the old Ladysmith train station are starting to take shape.
Volunteers have been hard at work repairing the building since 2019. They’ve been taking care of the grounds and added a new coat of paint to the building, which had been covered in graffiti.
“We wanted to keep it tidy so our visitors that pass by the building see something nice, rather than something that appears to be abandoned,” Bill Drysdale said.
The building is owned by the Island Corridor Foundation. The ICF recently paid for a new roof to be put on the station. Volunteers are working with the ICF to determine how much it would cost to run a BC Hydro line to the building so there can be electricity inside. Drysdale has also inquired with the Town of Ladysmith to see what would be needed to reactivate water services to the building.
There remains some serious work to be done inside the building. Volunteers will work through July to paint over graffiti that covers the interior walls and some old flooring needs to be replaced. Washroom facilities in the building need to be upgraded as well.
Community groups like the Ladysmith Rotary Club and the Ladysmith Kinsmen have chipped in money to help add new eavestroughs to the building and a new door.
The group plans to hold an open house toward the end of July or sometime in August for community groups to view the building and see if they could use it.
“We’re trying to get it ready as soon as things open up,” Drysdale said. “Ultimately, we can get as many people to put their ideas forward and we can discuss them as a community to come up with the best solution to use the building.”
Drysdale says that the train station presents a unique opportunity for the future as it would exist within the proposed Arts and Heritage Hub. The station is also positioned close to Transfer Beach and Ladysmith’s downtown core, which would make it an attractive stop if rail service is ever restored along the E&N line.
Anyone with an idea on a proposed use for the old train station or anyone who wants to get involved in the restoration work is encouraged to get in touch with the volunteer group through the Ladysmith and District Historical Society at: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 250-245-0423.