The Town of Ladysmith is receiving $3,307,500 through the Investing Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) – Rural and Northern Communities (RNC) Program to continue implementing the shared vision for the Arts & Heritage Hub – the ‘public heart’ of the Waterfront Area Plan (WAP).
“This funding will complete the Arts and Heritage Hub in Ladysmith, providing a community gathering space for people to interact with art, experience performances and attend special events,” Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley said.
The grant funding is part of over $228 million in grant funding available through ICIP and RNC – a provincial-federal cost sharing program designed to invest in communities and green infrastructure. Investments made through ICIP are designed to create economic growth, sustain well-paying jobs, build inclusive communities, and support a low-carbon, green economy.
Centred around the historic Machine Shop, the Hub is identified as a key priority by both the Town and Stz’uminus First Nation in the award-winning Waterfront Area Plan created by DIALOG.
Much of the investment will be used to establish a 4,500 sq ft studio for local artists, including Stz’uminus First Nation carvers. Coast Salish craftsmanship will feature prominently as well in the architectural design of the new studio space, which will front onto Oyster Bay Drive.
“The Arts & Heritage Hub is the public heart of our entire Waterfront Area Plan and the receipt of this critical funding is another big step forward in our ongoing work to return our waterfront to a place for locals and visitors to explore history, culture and art in an integrated way,” Mayor Aaron Stone said.
The Town will also construct an above-grade boardwalk that will run the length of the hub. The boardwalk will connect the artist studios and the Machine Shop.
The Town will contribute to a portion of the project costs as part of the first implementation phase of the Arts & Heritage Hub Concept Plan. The Town has filed a grant applicaiton with the Island Coastal Economic Trust to help fund the Arts & Heritage Hub.
Future phases, subject to the receipt of additional funding sources, emphasize the creation of additional cultural public amenities such as a community meeting place, industrial arts building, café/gift shop as well as improvements to existing historic buildings.