The Stz’uminus First Nation and Town of Ladysmith have strengthened their commitment to working together with the signing of a renewed Community Accord.
The signing took place during the opening ceremonies of the new Ladysmith Maritime Society Community Marina Reception Centre Friday.
Mayor Rob Hutchins said the updated accord, titled Naut’sa Mawt [working together], contains a new article of implementation calling for specific action.
It outlines specific steps for how to work together on joint initiatives and forming economic partnerships that will generate wealth and secure employment within both communities.
“What is different about this accord than the first one we signed in 2007 is it is far less tentative … It speaks to a stronger commitment to work together,” Hutchins said at the signing ceremony Friday afternoon. “It speaks to a growing mutual respect and a growing level of trust, and I choose those words carefully, because we’re not quite there yet. The healing is not complete.”
Both communities have completed framework for a working protocol and memorandum of understanding and hope to have them complete in the near future.
“This accord is something that we take seriously, and we’re going to work together to make sure we work together to make a difference in everybody’s lives, on this side and the other side of the water,” said Stz’uminus Chief John Elliott.
Elliott said the Ladysmith Maritime Society has been a big part of building the relationships between Stz’uminus and the Town of Ladysmith.
Following the signing, Coast Salish Development Corporation CEO Ray Gauthier presented ceremonial paddles to Hutchins and Elliott.
Gauthier said the paddles were symbolic of the two communities paddling in the same direction to achieve a common goal together.
A paddle was also presented to John Duncan, minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, who was in attendance for the grand opening of the LMS Community Marina Reception Centre.