Ladysmith’s 2011 Annual Report highlights co-operation

The Town of Ladysmith's Annual Report looks at accomplishments in the past year and sets out strategic directions and goals for the future.

The power of partnerships is a theme running through the Town of Ladysmith 2011 Annual Report.

Council recently approved the report, which details the town’s financial statements, strategic planning directions and community profile and provides information about the town’s commissions, staff and committees.

To open the report, Mayor Rob Hutchins highlights the spirit of working together with the Stz’uminus First Nation and also with various groups around the community, which led to many achievements throughout the year.

“The desire to build a strong and resilient community is an excellent starting point for forging positive relationships with neighbours and fellow citizens as we work together to achieve our common goals and dreams,” he writes. “One of the reasons for the many successes and accomplishments all residents of Ladysmith can be proud of is that we know how to work well together — and to build lasting friendships as we build an even better community.”

In his message, Hutchins explains that the Town and the Stz’uminus First Nation came together throughout the year to draft a renewed Community Accord, which was signed this May and which lays out a framework for working together to improve the communities.

“The Accord, first signed in 2007, laid the foundation for a new way of working together on common issues and opportunities for our two communities,” writes Hutchins. “As with so many projects, the process will leave as big a legacy as the outcome. Through the process of renewing the Community Accord, we spent time together, sharing, getting to know one another, building honest and lasting friendships. We still have differences, but more than anything, we have a positive relationship and know how to work together.”

Co-operation was a strong theme throughout 2011 in the community, resulting in many major accomplishments, such as completing the new Community Services Centre/Spirit Square complex on High Street, completing the Liquid Waste Management Plan and moving ahead with plans for a secondary treatment plant; introducing a new policy to guide secondary suites in Ladysmith homes after public consultation and discussion; continuing the process to implement the Ladysmith Sustainability Vision; and others.

City manager Ruth Malli’s report also focuses on achievement.

“While the economic volatility of recent  years has certainly been very challenging, the uncertainty has also resulted in a stronger, more connected community,” she writes. “In the years ahead, I believe that 2011 will be remembered as the year that our community really embraced the immense value of partnerships and collaboration. Relationships have always been important, but as resources have become increasingly limited (people and money), the need to work together has intensified.”

In 2011, the Town’s organizational focus was centered on four key areas — sustainability, transparency, communication and service excellence, explained Malli, who went on to list key achievements in each of those areas.

The 2011 Annual Report outlines the Town’s strategic directions.

To achieve the Town’s vision that “Ladysmith is a spirited community that values its small town quality of life, where we work together as stewards of our heritage, environment and economy,” the Town follows seven strategic directions: wise financial management, effective land use planning and community design, dynamic economic development, enhanced standard of infrastructure, responsible stewardship of the environment, safe and healthy community, and supportive corporate governance.

Each strategic direction has associated goals and actions.

Some of the strategic and corporate objectives identified for 2012 include:

• commence phased review of waterfront vision to develop the waterfront

• consider new regulations for detached secondary suites, such as coach houses, to develop affordable housing initiatives

• continue to prepare “ease the approvals process” materials to facilitate retention and expansion of business

• complete servicing impact studies to negotiate the technical terms for sewer and water expansions to areas outside the current service area

• evaluate potential locations and determine the most acceptable site and amenities for dog park enhancements

For 2013, some of the strategic and corporate objectives identified include:

• work with Economic Development Cowichan and the development community to attract green business opportunities

• complete construction of a centralized treatment facility, ensure funding is available for the design and construction of a hydro generation plant, and ensure funding is available for the design and construction of an ultra-violet water treatment plant to ensure a safe and sustainable water supply

• complete construction of Phase II (solids handling) of the new Waste Water Treatment Facility and ensure funding is available for the design and construction of Phase III of the facility, continue to locate and eliminate inflow and infiltration throughout the sewer system

• negotiate a treatment plan with the Ministry of Health and update water supply and water quality data to develop a long-term water supply strategy

The 2011 Annual Report can be found online through the Town’s website.