BC, Ladysmith sign framework accord for harbour assessment, cleanup plan
The British Columbia government and the town of Ladysmith have entered into a framework agreement to co-ordinate several levels of government, agencies and industry in order to solve the challenges faced in Ladysmith Harbour. The agreement enables an inter-agency technical team to act as a steering committee to form a plan of action for resolving those challenges, and to make suggestions for potential development opportunities of benefit to Ladysmith citizens.
Land and Water British Columbia and Ladysmith are committing in-kind resources and $110,000 to support implementation of the agreement.
The Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management (MSRM) is providing co-ordination and resources for the contaminated site assessments, at a total cost of $164,000. The Ladysmith Harbour contaminated site assessment has been designated by the Ministry as one of the projects to receive funding from the provincial Crown Contaminated Sites program. In addition, MSRM is using this project as a pilot for a broader brownfields strategy on provincially owned lands.
The technical team represents the following agencies:
Land and Water British Columbia, providing financial and advisory support;
the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management, providing technical expertise as well as funding the investigation of contamination on the foreshore and upland properties;
the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, serving in an advisory capacity;
the Ministry of Small Business and Economic Development, contributing economic analysis expertise;
the federal departments of Fisheries and Oceans and of Environment, providing technical expertise; and
the town of Ladysmith, supplying financial support as well as technical expertise.
The Chemainus First Nation has also been invited to contribute advisory support.
Heavy industries have operated in Ladysmith Harbour for more than 100 years. Previous activities included a copper smelter, coal washing and load-out facilities, and a log dumping and sorting area. For many years, until the 1960s, the town used a shoreline outfall to discharge raw sewage into the middle of the harbour.
Ladysmith and Land and Water British Columbia have been collaborating on a strategy for cleanup and development of Ladysmith Harbour for several years. In 1997, Ladysmith completed a Waterfront Area Plan to guide future development and use of the site. The waterfront development plan includes upland and water lots.
The harbour waterfront currently includes a public area at Transfer Beach, the government wharf, a small marina and a boat launch ramp. Except for pockets of industrial use, the land adjacent to the waterfront is generally undeveloped historic filled foreshore.
Slack Point (also known as Slag Point) is a 13-acre parcel of filled foreshore built from coal slack generated during past coal shipping operations on the site. This area is listed in the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection's contaminated sites registry. Adjacent to the waterfront as well are a number of benches separated by relatively steep and rocky topography.