From left

From left

Water, sewer connections complete at Oyster Bay

Water will soon flow from the Town of Ladysmith to Stz'uminus First Nation's Oyster Bay Reserve, paving the way for development.

Last August, MP John Duncan came to Stz’uminus First Nation to announce nearly $1.5 million in federal funding from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) to extend water and sewer services from Ladysmith.

Last week, Duncan was back in the area, this time to celebrate the completion of that work.

Duncan, Stz’uminus First Nation Chief John Elliott and Ladysmith Mayor Rob Hutchins stood on the Stz’uminus Oyster Bay Reserve at Oyster Sto’Lo Road beside the Ivy Green Husky Wednesday, Oct. 9 and cut a ribbon to celebrate the completion of water and sewer infrastructure for Oyster Bay.

“Your communities have much to be proud of,” said Duncan.

Water and sewer services at Oyster Bay will make way for proposed development in the area, and will also secure a safe water source for the Stz’uminus community currently residing at Oyster Bay.

Elliott expressed gratitude to everyone who has worked together on this project and explained that the completion of water and sewer “will help make an economy and build the local area.”

“It’s all about working together and making sure that we do this building of the local area together,” he said, calling this “the start of where we are going for our future.”

Calling the day of the ribbon cutting “a significant milestone between those two communities,” Hutchins noted that the Town of Ladysmith and Stz’uminus First Nation signed a renewed Community Accord in May 2012 and followed that up with a Memorandum of Understanding.

“Today, we’re actually celebrating the first real physical manifestation of that work,” he said. “We’re actually physically, finally, connecting our two communities together in a meaningful way through water and sewer. This is about the joint communities. This is going to allow the Stz’uminus First Nation to do something pretty powerful on this site. In turn, it’s going to allow the Town of Ladysmith, in partnership with Stz’uminus First Nation, to provide a better water supply, a healthier water supply, to the community.”

“It’s a huge milestone for us. It’s good for both communities, and I’m thankful to be part of it,” he added. “I’m sorry it’s taken so long. The next stages will go a lot quicker; we’ve finally figured out how to work together, and we have some pretty exciting things coming.”

Water and sewer connection has been one of the top priorities for Coast Salish Development Corporation (CSDC) — the economic development agency of the Stz’uminus First Nation — and, with the infrastructure in place, development of Oyster Bay can begin, according to a press release.

Duncan was serving as the Minister of AANDC during the construction of the water and wastewater infrastructure at Oyster Bay, and he “was a huge support for this project in securing a significant funding deal from AANDC, which provided Stz’uminus First Nation with nearly $1.5 million in August 2012,” according to the CSDC.

With this infrastructure complete, water will soon flow from the Town of Ladysmith to Oyster Bay. Development at Oyster Bay will be underway within the next 12 months, according to the CSDC.

The planned Oyster Bay Development includes residential housing, commercial space, resorts and lodging, marina and waterfront development, and seniors-oriented living on 99 hectares of land.