Ladysmith Maritime Society has declared 2013 to be “a pace-setting year” for the group.
In an update presentation to council, at last Monday’s government services committee meeting held at City Hall, Doug Bell from the society confirmed the Ladysmith Maritime Society Community Marina had experienced 1,380 visitor nights in the calendar year.
That’s a 71-per-cent increase from 2011.
“Some people told us it was the best visitor experience they’ve had on the west coast,” said Bell. “We’ve pushed our capacity right to the limit and were full for 40 nights part of July and all of August.”
Bell has predicted there is a potential of 1,800 visitor nights for 2014.
“The year 2013 is certainly a new benchmark. Is it going to grow? It certainly is,” he said.
The majority of boating visitors to the dock are from the United States — 32 per cent in all.
A further 25 per cent sail in from Vancouver Island, with another 25 per cent reported to be from Canada but off the Island.
“We’re not just attracting dollars from the Island,” said Bell, who also confirmed LMS has applied for funding of $65,000 to expand the dock 150 feet.
“This would be an excellent thing for the society in terms of community impact.”
Numerous council members, including Mayor Rob Hutchins as well as councillors Duck Paterson and Gord Horth, commended the work of the society and emphasized the positive economic impact it has on the town.
Horth described the numbers presented as a “great success story.”
Paterson said, “this is fantastic, you’ve done a lot of work.”
Bell said the society prompts a $72,000 benefit to the local economy per year if the visitor dock extension comes about, and said the society will continue to build bridges with the Stz’uminus First Nation.
In terms of improvements, he explained to council a hope of seeing more informative walking paths into town from the dock, improved signage to draw land-based visitors and a road upgrade from Transfer Beach.