Front entrace of the Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery (Cole Schisler photo)

Front entrace of the Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery (Cole Schisler photo)

Preparations being made for multi-million dollar upgrade to Ladysmith Machine Shop

The machine shop will undergo upgrades to ensure it remains operational and publicly accessible

Ladysmith’s Machine Shop is preparing for $2.25 million upgrade. The project will be funded primarily by $1.8 million in federal gas tax funding.

The Town’s Waterfront Area Plan, created in partnership with Stz’uminus First Nation helped to secure funding for the upgrade.

The machine shop will undergo significant upgrades to ensure it remains operational and publicly accessible to arts, culture, and heritage. It currently houses the Ladysmith Waterfront Art Gallery, Harbour Heritage Centre, artist studios, and administrative spaces for the Ladysmith Arts Council and Ladysmith Maritime Society. The machine shop was built in 1943, and is in need of an upgrade to remain structurally secure.

“As an arts, culture and heritage hub in Ladysmith, the Machine Shop provides a wonderful location for people of all ages to appreciate and enjoy art in its many forms. Each year, thousands of people visit this treasured community space, and we are delighted that the Town was successful in its efforts to secure such a significant amount of external funding to renovate the building,” Arts Council president Kathy Holmes said.

Some artists have begun moving their work from the space in preparation of the upgrades. No upgrade work has started yet.

Grant funding for the project must be fully expended by the end of 2019. A large portion of the budget will be used to replace the roof of the building to upgrade it to current building code standards. Town Council approved a layout option that proposed a shared services model to better use building space.

Work is expected to commence in the coming weeks.