Town of Ladysmith won’t subsidize Stz’uminus First Nation

Ladysmith Mayor Rob Hutchins and Stz'uminus Chief John Elliott respond to a recent letter to the editor.

Editor:

Re:  Water, Sewer Will Extend to Four Corners (Letter to the Editor, Sept. 4, 2012)

We would like to respond to questions raised in a recent letter to the editor about plans by the Town of Ladysmith and the Stz’uminus First Nation to extend water and sanitary sewer services to Stz’uminus First Nation’s IR 12 Reserve Lands (commonly known as Four Corners).

In short, the Town of Ladysmith is not providing any subsidy. Stz’uminus First Nation will pay all costs of pipelines and service connections and be responsible for the same cost of water/sewer services as town residents/businesses. The Stz’uminus First Nation will be paying for maintenance and metering services.

The Town cannot provide a financial benefit, and the Stz’uminus First Nation has not asked for one.

The Town (approximate population 8,200) is currently upgrading our wastewater treatment plant to secondary treatment capacity. The first stage of the upgraded plant will be able to service 17,500, with a full capacity of 30,000.

There is ample capacity to provide much-needed sewer services to Stz’uminus First Nation residents.

The Town’s new Liquid Waste Management Plan, which has been guided by a citizens’ Liquid Waste Management Committee, includes the provision of treatment options for communities outside the Town limits; this is an expectation of the provincial government.

It is far more cost-effective and environmentally sensitive to extend existing services from Ladysmith than to build new water and sanitary sewer treatment plants for a relatively small population. Also, adding users will reduce the capital costs for Ladysmith residents.

Economic development in Ladysmith and the surrounding area is a priority for town council and the Stz’uminus First Nation. In fact, the recent MOU also calls for joint development of industrial land in south Ladysmith.

Economic development in the area will mean increased demand for goods and services that are available within Ladysmith. This type of increased economic activity will benefit all of us.

The Stz’uminus First Nation will also be taking part in joint economic development meetings with the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce, the Ladysmith Downtown Business Association and the Town.  The intent of these meetings is, once again, to work together for the benefit of all our members and citizens.

The Community Accord guiding the working relationship and joint projects between the Town of Ladysmith and Stz’uminus First Nation is called the Naut’sa Mawt or “Working Together” Community Accord. A key guiding principle is that we work together on common interests and for the good of both communities.

Our communities are stronger when we work together, and we can accomplish far more for all of us by combining resources.

We welcome discussion on these important matters.

 

Mayor Rob Hutchins – Town of Ladysmith

Chief John Elliott – Stz’uminus First Nation