On behalf of the Ladysmith Maritime Society, I would like to offer our hearty congratulations to both the Town of Ladysmith and the Stz’uminus First Nation for the vision expressed in the recent Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties.
The leadership from Chief John Elliott, Mayor Rob Hutchins, their councils and administration should be commended and celebrated in both communities. For far too long, “two solitudes” have existed on either side of the mere 700-metre width of the harbour.
The mutual dialogue, genuine understanding and co-operation that these communities so richly deserve are long overdue. Too often, they are overwhelmed by short-sighted or inward-looking attitudes.
Extension of water and sanitary sewer services to the Four Corners is a very important step. In addition to its clear economic benefits, it is an important environmental initiative in a harbour community where coal, logging and copper-smelting activity in the 20th century seriously degraded the quality of a previously pristine harbour having a thriving shellfish population that provided traditional livelihoods for many.
The Ladysmith Maritime Society, in its constitution, identifies its over-arching purpose as “serving the community,” which we stress as meaning both sides of the harbour. Our activities, from Maritime Festival to joint functions at the new Marine Reception Centre to a variety of marine and heritage activities, are designed to reflect the cultures of both sides of the harbour. The response from both sides has been rich and heartwarming.
In the well-chosen words of Chief John Elliott and Mayor Rob Hutchins, “Our communities are stronger when we work together.”
But for this vision to be truly effective, it must move beyond the councils’ chambers and into our businesses and homes. So let us, at all levels in our varied activities, be inclusive and generous, and together, we will make this a single and stronger community.
President, Ladysmith Maritime Society