Business Resources

Ladysmith is a Business Friendly Community

Ladysmith is located in a highly desirable location on southern Vancouver Island. Its mild climate and proximity to major urban centres and transportation networks makes it a natural choice for business seeking a high quality of life in a well-connected, strategic location. The Town recognizes that these characteristics must be augmented by forward-thinking policies, strategies and programs designed to ensure that the community is positioned as a destination of choice for business. In fact, in 2011 the Town won the 'Most Small Business Friendly Community Award' from the B.C. Small Business Roundtable.

Town Economic Development Initiatives

Business & Development Incentives

DCC Downtown Waiver

The DCC Reduction for Downtown Specified Area Bylaw was adopted by Council on October 17, 2011.  This Bylaw provides an incentive to new development in the Downtown by waiving the Development Cost Charges for eligible development within the Downtown Specified Area.  This Bylaw applies to multi-family residential development and commercial development.

Downtown Initiatives

Revitalization Tax Exemption

Bylaw 1625 Revitalization Tax Exemption  was adopted by Council on October 15, 2007.  This Bylaw provides an incentive to existing commercial buildings in the Downtown Core and Downtown Mixed Use areas (as defined in the Official Community Plan) when the construction value of the project is at least $15,000.  The program supports the ongoing revitalization of the Downtown by tying the municipal portion of the property taxes to the assessed value established before the improvements took place.  The tax exemption is available for a maxiumum of 10 years.  For more details and to apply click here Revitalization Tax Exemption Package.

Bylaw 1807 Economic Revitalization was adopted by Council on September 17, 2012.  This Bylaw provides an incentive for the construction or alteration of buildings assessed by BC Assessment as Class 4 (Major Industry), Class 5 (Light Industry), or Class 6 (Commercial) which are located within the Revitalization Area defined in Bylaw 1807.  The construction value of the eligible project must be at least $200,000.  The building permit must have been issued after April 1, 2012.  The program supports economic revitalization by tying the municipal portion of the property taxes to the assessed value established before the improvements took place.  The tax exemption is available for a maximum of 5 years.

The focus of the Economic Revitalization program is:

  • To stimulate construction and alteration of buildings within Ladysmith; and
  • To encourage new business investment in commercial and industrial used lands and, in turn, encourage new employment; and
  • To promote a higher standard of urban design within business areas and employment areas in order to increase the attractiveness of these locations; and
  • To generally reinforce the Town's commitment to economic revitalization.

Please watch for other new incentive bylaws that are being considered by Council.  These initiatives could expand the current program to include other categories of revitalization such as environmental and social, starting in the taxation year 2013.

Downtown Parking Information

There is ample FREE parking in Downtown Ladysmith.  Three public parking lots are available in the following locations.  Watch for these signs.  Click on the map picture to see the Map. 


  • Roberts Street Parking Lot:  located between Esplanade (Trans-Canada Highway) and First Avenue on the south side of the street beside the Visitor Centre. 
  • Gatacre Street Parking Lot:  located between Esplanade (Trans-Canada Highway) and First Avenue on the north side of the street. 
  • Travellers Parking Lot:  located behind the businesses on the west side of First Avenue with access off High Street or First Avenue.  Parking is also available along the High Street ball field.

On-street parking is also available, see the map below for more information
Downtown Parking Map


If you are planning to open a new business or are involved in an existing enterprise in Ladysmith, there may be permits you need to apply for and guidelines you need to follow. The Town offers a streamlined permitting process to ease the way through BizPaL. BizPaL is an automated service which can assist you with finding information about federal, provincial, and municipal permits and applications that may be required for your business. Click here to access this service:

Target Sectors

The Town of Ladysmith is currently targeting recruitment and business support efforts towards these six sectors:

Tourism Infrastructure

Tourism has emerged as a significant economic pillar in Ladysmith due primarily to the community's stunning West Coast location, waterfront recreation, hiking trails and boutique-style shopping experience.  This sector will continue to expand significantly as new marina amenities are developed.  According to the Ladysmith Visitor Information Centre, 32% of the visitors who accessed the Centre in 2010 were overnight visitors.  Tourism Investment Profile

Forestry and Wood Products Manufacturing

With a number of mills operating in and near Ladysmith, this is an important activity with a large number of highly skilled residents employed in the sector.  Training and educational opportunities already exist to serve new and expanding businesses.  Value-added wood products manufacturers are also increasingly present in the community, taking advantage of the proximity to Vancouver Island's forestry operations. 
Value Added Wood Profile

Green Industry

The community's vision for sustainable leadership includes a focus on green industry.  This emerging sector includes eco-tourism, green and innovative companies, eco-industrial parks, live-work, green building, buy local and green business leadership.

Marine Manufacturing and Services

Ladysmith's natural harbour and marina facilities make the community a perfect fit for a variety of marine-related industries.  Local marine related-industry companies have a distinct advantage in terms of location, expertise and customer base.  Business Opportunities in the Marine Sector and Boat Building Profile

Professional Services

Many knowledge-based businesses can compete globally from anywhere, and more and more entrepreneurs are choosing quality of life over big city living.  Ladysmith's small-town atmosphere, coupled with incredible recreational opportunities and proximity to major transportation networks and urban centres makes Ladysmith an ideal location for professionals.  Professional Service Profile and Business Opportunities in the Professional Services Sector

Food and Beverage Processing

Primarily shellfish processing (oysters, clams, scallops and more) is a sector with many opportunities.  Local growers and producers enjoy superior market access and growing conditions, thereby minimizing production costs.  Support services are also nearby for the industry, including supplies, workforce and transportation to markets.

Economic Development Cowichan

Economic Development Cowichan provides economic development, tourism marketing and film attraction services for the Cowichan Valley Regional District. (The Town of Ladysmith is located in the Cowichan Valley Regional District.) To learn more about Economic Development Cowichan click here:

Economic Development Cowichan has created a Cowichan Sustainable Economic Development Strategy 2011 for the Cowichan Region. This strategy outlines objectives and strategic actions to ensure a healthy economy in the region.

Climate Action and Business

Climate Smart:  Three Ladysmith businesses recently benefitted from 'Climate Smart' training to reduce their corporate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).  The 49th Parallel Grocery, Island Savings, and Island Documents Storage and Shredding Inc. completed an inventory of their greenhouse gas emissions and took action to reduce the carbon footprint of their business.  Congratulations to these businesses for helping to make Ladysmith a more sustainable community!  The 49th Parallel Grocery and Island Savings have signed on for a second year and will work to reduce their GHG emissions even further in 2011/2012.  This training opportunity was made available to all medium sized businesses in Ladysmith and was supported by the Town of Ladysmith, Economic Development Cowichan, and the Pacific Carbon Trust.

For more information about the Climate Smart program see

Tourism Industry Resources

In 2006, the Town developed a Tourism Plan with funding from Tourism British Columbia. The Vision for the Tourism Plan is:
"Ladysmith is committed to growing tourism while maintaining small town charm, heritage, and cultural aspects of the community. This will be accomplished by encouraging the development of high quality tourism experiences that are of interest to visitors, working in partnership with area communities, other tourism organizations and tourism related businesses."
The Town’s priority tourism products are: 
• Heritage, arts and culture, and related festivals and events
• Marine tourism and outdoor adventure

The Town’s tourism brand is “Ladysmith: A View to Sea”.
A tactic in the Tourism Plan is to make tourism education and training tools easily available to tourism-related businesses. The resources and links below provide local tourism operators easy to use tools to help grow your business.


Click here to find contract and tender opportunities with the Town of Ladysmith.

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Heritage by the sea