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The new Ladysmith Council held its Inaugural meeting on Tuesday night at the Ladysmith Seniors Centre as Mayor and Councillors took their respective Oath of Office to officially start the 2022-2026 term.
The 2022-2026 Council is comprised of Mayor Aaron Stone, Councillor Ray Gourlay, Councillor Amanda Jacobson, Councillor Tricia McKay, Councillor Duck Paterson, Councillor Marsh Stevens and Councillor Jeff Virtanen.
The meeting was attended by family and friends of the new Council as well as local dignitaries, including Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris.
Mayor Stone thanked outgoing Councillor Rob Johnson for his service and dedication to the community during the previous term.
The Mayor then provided the Inaugural Address, touching on the themes of reconciliation, long-term planning and infrastructure. You can watch the entire address by visiting our YouTube page.
On working with Stz’uminus First Nation:
“Reconciliation is one of the most challenging and rewarding efforts of our generation. As we recognize and reconcile the past harms of colonization, we have made it our top priority to repair these relationships, restore Stz’uminus presence to the unceded territory that Ladysmith is located within, and to pursue true reconciliation for Stzuminus and Ladysmith people alike…. Our work with Stz’uminus is paying dividends for us all and the benefits we are creating together will serve our communities for generations to come. It’s all about action, reconcili-action.”
On the Official Community Plan Review:
“It all starts with positive, collaborative, constructive leadership and above all else, focus. These priorities are intrinsically linked to each other and are captured broadly in the development of our new Official Community Plan. Our community has spoken loudly and clearly about our efforts to pursue infrastructure renewal, economic development, climate action, ecological stewardship, financial stewardship and reconcili-action.”
On implementing long-term plans:
“We also need to have a keen focus on executing the plans we have made over the last number of years. We have invested heavily in the community engagement and planning necessary to achieve success over the coming four years. Our award-winning Waterfront Area Plan, Partnership for a Vibrant Local Economy, Youth Strategy, Arts Strategy and poverty reduction work all need keen attention and focus on implementation so that the opportunities identified within continue to be realized.”
On infrastructure renewal:
“Over this term and the next decade we need to dramatically increase the rate of this infrastructure renewal. It is not getting any cheaper, but this is not all bad news. With the adoption of our new OCP, and the Climate Action Strategy and Active Transportation Plan contained within, we will open up funding opportunities to assist in this work. From senior government grants, to new revenue streams created through smart, responsible growth, we will be able to take on a greater share of this work year over year, and chart the course for a truly economic and ecologically sustainable community for generations to come.”
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Communications and Engagement Specialist
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