Christopher McBride pipes the Town of Ladysmith mayor and council into council chambers Tuesday, Nov. 1, at the Ladysmith Seniors Centre. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Christopher McBride pipes the Town of Ladysmith mayor and council into council chambers Tuesday, Nov. 1, at the Ladysmith Seniors Centre. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Ladysmith town council begins its new term

Mayor outlines priorities, council members swear oaths of office

Ladysmith’s municipal leadership has been refreshed, as the town held its inaugural council meeting this week.

Six incumbent members of council and one newcomer to the group took their oaths of office at a meeting Tuesday, Nov. 1, at the Ladysmith Seniors Centre.

Mayor Aaron Stone delivered a speech to mark the occasion of the inaugural meeting of the council term, and said “now is the time for a new level of determination and focus.”

Some of the priorities he mentioned included executing plans that have been developed, addressing aging infrastructure, taking on climate action, restoring and protecting ecosystems, broadening economic development, and ensuring action around reconciliation.

Stone underlined the points about reconciliation, saying it’s council’s top priority to recognize and reconcile past harms of colonization, repair relationships, and restore Stz’uminus presence on the First Nation’s unceded territory.

“The decolonization of our community serves all of us, opening up opportunities for cultural vibrancy, environmental restoration and economic opportunity,” he said.

The mayor added that all the town’s priorities are linked to each other and have been captured as part of the process of developing Ladysmith’s next official community plan.

“Our community has spoken loudly and clearly about our efforts to pursue infrastructure renewal, economic development, climate action, ecological stewardship, financial stewardship and reconcili-action,” he said. “It is incumbent on us to deliver on these priorities.”

He noted that town council, this term, will be tasked with carrying out some of the plans that started with previous councils, such as the waterfront area plan, local economy partnership, youth strategy, arts strategy and poverty reduction work.

After the meeting, the mayor told the Chronicle he’s excited to start another council term and while he anticipates challenges, he’s confident in the team of councillors that will be working with staff and community members to deliver on priorities “and make our community even better.”

Asked about the election, Stone said he thinks citizens felt that council navigated the pandemic well and provided good leadership.

While voter turnout was low for a few reasons including an absence of a mayoral race, Stone said council will represent all Ladysmith residents, whether they voted or not.

“We have a diverse group of people at our table that represents different segments of our community and I think when we have our discussions, that representation shows,” he said.

The mayor said during an election time, politicians are always keen to engage and it’s the time in between elections that better demonstrates a municipality’s interest in community engagement.

Town asking for input into long-term land-use planning

In related news, the town is holding a public engagement event this coming weekend to solicit feedback about the draft official community plan.

A drop-in open house will be held at Aggie Hall on Saturday, Nov. 5, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., starting with a free pancake breakfast hosted by the Ladysmith Kinsmen Club.

Stone said “strong themes” have emerged through the development of the OCP.

“I think they support the direction of our community over the last several years, but now we’re moving toward implementing that in a land-use plan that also includes climate action strategy for net zero by 2049 and a desire to provide complete communities that are more compact and better serve the community without continuing to sort of destroy greenfields,” he said.

A final survey about the OCP is available at www.ladysmith.ca and residents are also invited to submit input by e-mail to ocp@ladysmith.ca.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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Ladysmith’s council for the next four years includes Amanda Jacobson, left, Jeff Virtanen, Ray Gourlay, Mayor Aaron Stone, Marsh Stevens, Duck Paterson and Tricia McKay. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Ladysmith’s council for the next four years includes Amanda Jacobson, left, Jeff Virtanen, Ray Gourlay, Mayor Aaron Stone, Marsh Stevens, Duck Paterson and Tricia McKay. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)