Granville Island architect coming to Ladysmith to talk waterfront plan

The three phase project is scheduled to be completed in June 2017 when a final plan will be presented to the community.

  • Jan. 26, 2017 3:00 p.m.
A map shows the area that's part of plans for the waterfront.

A map shows the area that's part of plans for the waterfront.

An architect behind the design of Granville Island as well as the first Indigenous woman to graduate from UBC’s Master’s of Architecture program will highlight a speakers series in Ladysmith next month meant to engage the public on plans for the waterfront.

The three phase project is scheduled to be completed in June 2017 when a final plan will be presented to the community.

The first phase of creating a plan for the Ladysmith waterfront has involved engaging those such as the Stz’uminus First Nation, seniors, students and others through conversation boards placed around town in November.

Consultant Dialog Design leading the engagement process and have organized the speaker’s night for Feb. 1 at Aggie Hall from 7-9 p.m.

“That’s really the keystone event of this process which is really seeking to inspire people and open their minds to different possibilities for the waterfront,” said Jennifer Fix, project manager and engagement specialist at the Vancouver-based firm.

The public will hear from Norm Hotson, who led the redevelopment of Granville Island and has directed the design of numerous waterfronts in Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

“His speciality lies in taking what is authentic and unique about a place and not changing it but actually leveraging it,” Fix said.

Ouri Scott will speak on reconciliation, placemaking and how urban design can reflect contemporary First Nations culture.

“She does a lot work with indigenous communities, looking at how indigenous values can be meaningfully incorporated into design,” Fix noted. “So it’s much more than a token piece of art, for example, it’s how can we actually make sure that those values are meaningfully represented in the landscape.”

On the evening the speakers night an online survey will also be launched where Ladysmith residents can weigh in on how the waterfront should be redeveloped.

Among the questions residents will be polled on are: what do you value about the waterfront? What current plan directions still make sense?

The area under consideration stretches from Fisherman’s Wharf, or Government Dock, to Slack Point and includes the land up to the Trans-Canada Highway.

Mayor Aaron Stone said he sees potential for capturing the industrial character, both past and present, of the waterfront in the planning process.

“I think the contrast between industrial spaces and leveraging them in a way can actually make the other areas surrounding them sparkle a little more brightly,’ Stone said, while making mention of conversations he and the city manager have had more recently with the province.

“Hopefully this all comes together and dovetails nicely at the end of the process and we’re able to have an actionable plan that we can move forward on.”

Stz’uminus Chief John Elliot told the Chronicle that the First Nation see economic opportunity in the waterfront while also ensuring what’s best for the harbour.

“We have built a partnership and relationship with the town that we move forward together, understanding that we’re going to do the right thing for the harbour,” he said.

“We look at economic opportunities for ourselves in the future and the only way those are going to work is if we work with the town.”

Dialog Design’s background analysis and results of the engagement process will come together in March as part of an important stakeholder meeting.

“That’s really where the rubber will hit the road where we’ll roll up our sleeves, put pen to paper and develop some designs for the process,” Fix said.

We’ll take what we learn through that exercise, create a draft plan, bring it back out to the community…and the revise that plan and bring it forward to (council) for adoption.”