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Westbank First Nations Info

This is not the official website of the WFN

This page is made up of information we collected from several sources.

How to find text on this page using:  Internet Explorer | Firefox | Opera |Safari | Google Chrome

Comment Form

LAST UPDATE October 16, 2016

Click on your refresh button in the top menu, to be sure you see any updates.

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PDF file icon Profile of WFN

WFN 2007-2008 Annual Report PDF file icon Through births and transfers, WFN membership population is healthy and strong and has grown to 682.

3,368 WFN homeowners

Westbank First Nation Government provides services for approximately 9000 residents living on WFN lands, 8500 of whom are non-Band members.

PDF file icon Population of Central Okanagan West 8,018 - 2006 census

Don't know how accurate these stats are because when you look at the entire Central Okanagan West population stats of only 8,018 and then look at the 8,500 living on WFN lands, these stats don't seem right.

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.pdf icon Map of WFN Indian Reserve #9 and #10, and roads near the new Westside Road Interchange (page 8)

Westbank First Nation Self-Government Agreement between Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada and Westbank First Nation - PDF Version (293 Kb, 89 Pages) FAQS (.doc, 5 pages)

Westbank First Nation (WFN) Laws

First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act

.pdf icon WESTBANK FIRST NATION GARBAGE COLLECTION LAW NO. 2005-06

Indian Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. I-5)

First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act (S.C. 2005, c. 9)

WFN Land Registry - WFN Self Government Agreement and Constitution (Land Laws)

Westbank First Nation enacted a Land Use Law on July 26, 2007. This law addresses housing, transportation, parks, economic development, infrastructure, social, cultural, environment and other needs in the use and development of Westbank Lands. In addition, the law includes adoption of a Land Use Plan (schedule “A”), Zoning Regulations (schedule “B”) and Servicing Maps (schedule "C").
.pdf icon WESTBANK FIRST NATION CONSTITUTION (including land laws) CONSOLIDATED VERSION
Including amendments approved by
Referendum, July 19, 2007
108. Transfer of Interests
108.1 Subject to section 108.2 and this Part, a Member may, by a Written Instrument registered in the Westbank Lands Register, transfer their Allotment.
108.2 A Member may only transfer their Allotment to another Member or Westbank.
108.3 Where an Allotment is transferred to Westbank other than in relation to the granting of a Mortgage, the Allotment and any Certificate of Possession issued are cancelled and the Westbank Lands described in the Allotment become Community Lands.
108.4 Subject to section 108.5 and this Part a person holding an interest in Westbank lands other than by way of Allotment may transfer, assign or devise their interest to any person or entity by a Written Instrument registered in the Westbank Lands Register.
108.5 A Member or Westbank holding a Mortgage of an Allotment can only transfer or assign that Mortgage to another Member or to Westbank.

 

.pdf icon WFN Subdivision, Development and Servicing Law
Westbank Lands means
The following Westbank Indian Reserves
No 8 Mission Creek Indian Reserve
No 9 Tsinstikeptum Indian Reserve
No 10 Tsinstikeptum Indian Reserve
No 11 Medicine Hill Indian Reserve
No 12 Medicine Creek Indian Reserve
and lands set apart by Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada in the future as lands reserved for the use and benefit of Westbank, within the meaning of subsection 91 (24) of the Constitution Act, 1867

 

http://www.bctreaty.net/

To learn more about the Province’s efforts to build a New Relationship with Aboriginal people in British Columbia, visit http://www.gov.bc.ca/arr.

Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the federal government’s plan to stimulate the economy and protect those hit hardest by the global recession, can be found at: www.actionplan.gc.ca

Map showing WFN territory stretching into Washington State

BC Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

.pdf icon Services Agreement between RDCO and WFN

.pdf icon Memorandum of Understanding [PDF, 2.3 MB]
Contributor: West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation
Date: 2010

.pdf icon Protocol Agreement [PDF, 79.8 KB]
Contributor: CORD Westbank First Nation
Date: 1999
Protocol Agreement January 1999 - At least twice each year WFN and RDCO agreed to have meetings to discuss matters of mutual interest

Other First Nations agreements

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.pdf icon January 28, 2008 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regional Board Agenda
Treaty Advisory Committee / MOU
.pdf icon Item 4.1 Regional Board Appointment.pdf

WFN to become a full voting member of the Regional Board

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.pdf icon October 13, 2016 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Westbank First Nation Appointments
The Regional Board has welcomed a new representative from the Westbank First Nation (WFN). Recently elected Councillor Tom Konek has been appointed to represent Westbank First Nation as a non-voting member of the Regional Board. In addition, the WFN Council has appointed Councillor Fernanda Alexander as its representative on the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 13, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (301 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about WFN Director Konek being thankful - .wma (487 KB)

.pdf icon October 13, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes of RDCO Board meetings are not usually posted to RDCO's website until after the following meeting which would be October 24th.  If the minutes are not posted here yet, you can check RDCO's website to see if they are posted there yet.  If you want a copy of the minutes before then, contact RDCO who will have a copy of the minutes at their office within 7 days after you request a copy of the minutes.  This is in accordance to Local Government Act Procedure Bylaws and Enforcement section 794 (5) and Community Charter Other records to which public access must be provided section 97 (2)

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 13, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (301 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about WFN Director Konek being thankful - .wma (487 KB)

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.pdf icon September 19, 2016 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

New Westbank First Nation Council
The Regional Board has offered congratulations to the newly elected Westbank First Nation Chief and Councillors. It looks forward to working with Chief Roxanne Lindley and members of the WFN Council and thanks outgoing Chief Robert Louie and Council for its cooperation and support.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 19, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (260 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 19, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 9.1 RDCO/Westbank First Nation Community to Community Forum Update - .wma (2.88 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 19, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item Chair Given - Roxanne Lindley elected for WFN and UBCM unrestricted events - .wma (853 KB)

.pdf icon September 19, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

9. PARK SERVICES

9.1 RDCO/Westbank First Nation Community to Community Forum Update
(All Directors - Unweighted Corporate Vote - Simple Majority - LGA 208.1)

Staff report dated September 12, 2016 outlined the planned Community to Community Forum with Westbank First Nation and the Regional Board which is to take place on October 12, 2016.

OPHUS/BAKER
THAT the Board receive for information the update report dated September 12, 2016 from the Director of Parks Services regarding the RDCO/Westbank First Nation C2C Forum.

CARRIED Unanimously

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 19, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (260 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 19, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 9.1 RDCO/Westbank First Nation Community to Community Forum Update - .wma (2.88 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 19, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item Chair Given - Roxanne Lindley elected for WFN and UBCM unrestricted events - .wma (853 KB)

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Derrickson backs out
Castanet.net - Carmen Weld - Sep 14, 2016| Story: 175910

Grand Chief Ron Derrickson has backed out of the race for chief of the Westbank First Nation.

As Castanet first reported yesterday, Derrickson told members of the WFN that he was no longer interested in the chief position.

“I am raising money for a native-legal fund for all of North America, the Seven Generation Fund, and I think this is more important for me to do, although I am concerned about what is happening there,” said Derrickson.

“I gave my speech and I withdrew.”

Due to his last-minute withdrawal, his name will remain on the ballot tomorrow, but he said he is encouraging his supporters to back fellow candidate Roxanne Lindley.

“Robert Louie and the council have had many years in there and they haven't shown what they can do,” said Derrickson.

“They've lost money on every business venture they've been involved in and it is bringing the band down. They don't listen to advice, they've quit listening to the membership, they think they know better. The proof is in the pudding.”

Derrickson argues that Louie has been serving as chief for long enough.

“It is time for a change,” said Derrickson. “People get sick of you, Robert should have left. His results are beyond terrible."

Yesterday, Chief Robert Louie replied to accusations levelled by Derrickson of money mismanagement and spending, but Derrickson stands behind his comments.

“He should know better, he needs to take responsibility for it,” said Derrickson. “He said my accusations are absurd, they are absurd because they are true. The absurdity of what he has done is beyond comprehension. They have fiduciary responsibility to protect the membership and they haven't done it.”

Louie also said that the band was in much worse financial straights under Derrickson than it has been under his government.

“He is full of crap,” said Derrickson.

“When I was chief, we bought Gallaghers Canyon, paid for it, put in all the infrastructure for number nine. We bought Pine Acres that was making money, we had a real estate company, an insurance company – all profitable. So, maybe we didn't collect that kind of tax dollars, but if you just waste those dollars, what good is it.”

Derrickson, Larry Derrickson and Roxanne Lindley are all on the ballot, opposing Louie's efforts to win re-election.

Louie has been chief since 2002. He was chief previously from 1986 until 1996.

Elections for chief and council will be held Thursday.

Source: http://www.castanet.net/news/West-Kelowna/175910/Derrickson-backs-out

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.pdf icon July 14, 2016 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

RDCO-WFN Community Forum Funding
The Regional Board has received a letter from the Union of BC Municipalities and First Nations Summit confirming funding under the Community to Community forum program. The Regional District will receive a grant totalling $4,975 to assist with the cost of hosting a half day Cultural Sites Protection Forum with the Westbank First Nation. It’s hoped with the participation of both the Westbank First Nation Council and Regional Board there will be an understanding of options for a joint management strategy to protect Okanagan syilx cultural features/sites within RDCO Regional Parks.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio July 14, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (58.7 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files July 14, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.2 UBCM - 2016/17 Regional Community to Community Forum Funding Approval - .wma (689 KB)

.pdf icon July 14, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

5.2 UBCM - 2016/17 Regional Community to Community Forum Funding Approval (All Directors - Unweighted Corporate Vote Simple Majority- LGA 208.1)
Union of BC Municipalities letter of June 27, 2016 confirmed approval of the Community to Community Forum Funding of $4,975 for 2016. Staff is anticipating a Forum with Westbank First Nation to be held in the fall.
BAKER/STACK
THAT the June 27, 2016 letter from the Union of BC Municipalities regarding funding approval for the 2016/17 Regional Community to Community Forum be received for information.
CARRIED Unanimously

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio July 14, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (58.7 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files July 14, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.2 UBCM - 2016/17 Regional Community to Community Forum Funding Approval - .wma (689 KB)

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.pdf icon June 27, 2016 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Proposed Reserve Additions
The Regional Board unanimously supports a proposal to add three parcels to Westbank First Nation (WFN) reserves. The Chair will send a letter confirming that to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. The WFN proposes adding two properties (107.98-acres and 12-acres) in the Trepanier area and a 670-acre parcel along McCulloch Road to its reserves.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 27, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (231 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 27, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.1 Westbank First Nation - Proposed Additions to Reserve - .wma (2.30 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 27, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about C. Derickson land purchase amusement - .wma (481 KB)

.pdf icon June 27, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

7. COMMUNITY SERVICES
7.1 Westbank First Nation - Proposed Additions to Reserve (All Directors Unweighted Corporate Vote, Simple Majority- 208.1)
Staff report dated June 20, 2016 outlined the requirement for the Regional District to provide a letter of support for proposed additions to reserve for Westbank First Nation. Staff outlined the three parcels of land that will be added to WFN reserves.
STACK/OPHUS
THAT the Regional Board authorizes the Chair, on behalf of the Board, to sign the letter to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, BC Region, regarding Westbank First Nation Proposed Additions to Reserve, in the form attached to the report from the Manager of Planning dated June 20, 2016.
CARRIED Unanimously

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 27, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (231 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 27, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.1 Westbank First Nation - Proposed Additions to Reserve - .wma (2.30 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 27, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about C. Derickson land purchase amusement - .wma (481 KB)

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.pdf icon June 9, 2016 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Director Hanson mentioning that Orange Shirt Day represents Native Children stripped from their families was a Director Item and nothing was mentioned about it in the Highlights.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 9, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (24.1 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 9, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Hanson mentioning that Orange Shirt Day represents Native Children stripped from their families - .wma (328 KB)

.pdf icon June 9, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Director Hanson mentioning that Orange Shirt Day represents Native Children stripped from their families was a Director Item and nothing was mentioned about it in the Agenda.

*Note* click links above for entire content

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 9, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (24.1 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 9, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Hanson mentioning that Orange Shirt Day represents Native Children stripped from their families - .wma (328 KB)

.pdf icon June 9, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

7. DIRECTOR ITEMS
Director Hanson noted that she had just returned from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Conference in Winnipeg. One of the discussion points FCM is considering is proclaiming Sept 30th as First Nations Day.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 9, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (24.1 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 9, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about  - .wma ( MB)

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.pdf icon April 14, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

6. COMMUNITY SERVICES

6.1 Emergency Program Act Consultation - Travis Whiting, Regional Emergency Program Coordinator (City of Kelowna Deputy Chief)
Staff report dated April 5, 2016 outlined the prepared responses for consideration of the Emergency Program Act consultation. Travis Whiting was introduced to the Committee:
o Act introduced in 1993.
o RDCOs response to specific sections was highlighted.
o The regional emergency plan is always being reviewed so operationally the plan is updated.
o Updates to the Emergency Program Act is critical first step, in order for our plan to match the Act.
o #3 definitions of a local government should include first nations. WFN has self-governance and West Kelowna provides fire service to WFN.
Staff noted that WFN are equal partners in the program now. How first nations are dealt with in the Act is with consultation to the Province, not local government.
o #9 - operationally reducing the size of evacuation area when required worked last year.
o Is there any work around additional powers regarding drones, boats in an area? Yes, there is quite a bit of work being done in regards to drones Federal government is dealing with this area (Transport Canada, RCMP
Criminal Code). There are also enforcement fines through provincial laws.
BAKER/SIEBEN
THAT the Governance & Services Committee recommends the Regional Board approve the RDCO's submission of the 'Response to Prepared and Resilient EMBC
Discussion Paper' to the Province of British Columbia in response to their invitation to participate in consultation and engagement on the Emergency Program Act, subject to:
Add to Section #3:
'explore broader definition of first nations which may include self-government, and band council'
CARRIED Unanimously

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio April 14, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (228 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files April 14, 2016 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about 6.1 Emergency Program Act Consultation  - .wma (19.2 MB)

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.pdf icon April 14, 2016 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Emergency Program Act Response
The Regional Board has approved submitting a response to the Provincial Government as part of the public consultation on the Emergency Management BC Discussion Paper. Regional Emergency Program staff have reviewed the document and provided comments regarding possible changes to modernize and clarify responsibilities in the Emergency Program Act.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio April 14, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (119 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files April 14, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about item 7.1 Rise & Report from Governance & Services Meeting - April 14, 2016 Emergency Program Act Consultation - .wma (214 KB)

.pdf icon April 14, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

7. NEW BUSINESS
7.1 Rise & Report from Governance & Services Meeting - April 14, 2016
7.1.1 Emergency Program Act Consultation RDCO's Submission of the 'Response to Prepared and Resilient EMBC Discussion Paper' [All Directors - Unweighted Vote - 208(1)]
FINDLATER/BASRAN
THAT the Regional Board approve the RDCO's submission of the 'Response to Prepared and Resilient EMBC Discussion Paper' to the Province of British Columbia in response to their invitation to participate in consultation and engagement on the Emergency Program Act, subject to the following:
Add to Section #3:
‘explore broader definition of first nations which may include self-government, and band council’

CARRIED Unanimously

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio April 14, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (119 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files April 14, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about item 7.1 Rise & Report from Governance & Services Meeting - April 14, 2016 Emergency Program Act Consultation - .wma (214 KB)

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.pdf icon January 25, 2016 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Nothing was mentioned in the Highlights about Item 7.1 City Of West Kelowna And Westbank First Nation Servicing Agreement For 2840 East Boundary Road

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio January 25, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (230 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files January 25, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.1 City Of West Kelowna And Westbank First Nation Servicing Agreement For 2840 East Boundary Road - .wma (1.68 MB)

.pdf icon January 25, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 7.1 City Of West Kelowna And Westbank First Nation Servicing Agreement For 2840 East Boundary Road

*Note* Below is only a snippet, please click link above for entire content

SUBJECT: City of West Kelowna & Westbank First Nation Servicing Agreement for 2840 East Boundary Road

Purpose: To seek the Board's consent for the City of West Kelowna to provide a sanitary sewer service to a property within the boundary of the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

Executive Summary:
In July 2015, the City of West Kelowna staff was directed by their Council to investigate and prepare a servicing agreement with Westbank First Nation (WFN) for provision of a sanitary service to 2840 East Boundary Road. WFN does not have infrastructure to service this property, The City of West Kelowna does have a sanitary sewer main fronting this property and wishes to provide this service outside of their jurisdiction.
In order to enter this servicing agreement, the City of West Kelowna must obtain consent of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Board to provide this service in accordance with section 13(1)(b) of the Community Charter which states:
"if the area is not in another municipality and is not treaty lands, the council must obtain the consent of the regional district board for the area."
A copy of the January 5, 2016 City of West Kelowna staff report to Council as well as the draft agreement is attached for background purposes.

RECOMMENDATION:
THAT the Board consents to, in accordance with Section 13(1)(b) of the Community Charter, the Sanitary Sewer Servicing Agreement between the City of West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation allowing a sanitary sewer service to Lot 186-4, Plan CLSR 103393, 2840 East Boundary Road.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio January 25, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (230 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files January 25, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.1 City Of West Kelowna And Westbank First Nation Servicing Agreement For 2840 East Boundary Road - .wma (1.68 MB)

.pdf icon January 25, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

7. NEW BUSINESS

7.1 City of West Kelowna & Westbank First Nation Servicing Agreement for 2840 East Boundary Road (All Directors - Unweighted Vote)

Staff report dated January 19, 2016 outlined that Section 13(1 )(b) of the Community Charter requires a regional district to consent to services outside a municipality. A municipality may provide a service in an area outside the municipality but it must first obtain consent if the area is not in another municipality. As Westbank First Nation does not have the infrastructure to service a property, they have requested to enter into a servicing agreement with the City of West Kelowna.

FINDLATER/BASRAN
THAT the Board consents to, in accordance with Section 13(1 )(b) of the Community Charter, the Sanitary Sewer Servicing Agreement between the City of West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation allowing a sanitary sewer service to Lot 186-4, Plan CLSR 103393, 2840 East Boundary Road.

CARRIED Unanimously

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio January 25, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (230 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files January 25, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.1 City Of West Kelowna And Westbank First Nation Servicing Agreement For 2840 East Boundary Road - .wma (1.68 MB)

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.pdf icon December 7, 2015 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Community to Community Forum Funding

The Regional District has received a Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) grant to host a Community to Community Forum next March. The UBCM program is providing 50% of the estimated $7,900 cost of holding the half day Sylix Cultural Sites Protection Forum with the Westbank First Nation. It’s hoped with the participation of both the Westbank First Nation Council and Regional Board in the Forum there will be an understanding of options for a joint management strategy to protect Sylix or Okanagan cultural features/sites within RDCO Regional Parks.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio December 7, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (162 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files December 7, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Inaugural Meeting - .wma (11.6 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files December 7, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 8.1 UBCM Grant Award RDCO WFN Community To Community Forum - .wma (2.26 MB)

.pdf icon December 7, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 8.1 UBCM Grant Award RDCO WFN Community To Community Forum

*Note* Below is only a snippet, please click link above for entire content

Purpose:
To provide information regarding a Regional Community to Community Forum grant that has been awarded to the RDCO & Westbank First Nation in support of a joint WFN - RDCO Regional Parks Sylix (Okanagan Westbank First Nation) Cultural Site Protection Forum targeted for March 2016.

Executive Summary:
The proposed Regional Parks Sylix (Okanagan Westbank First Nation) Cultural Site Protection Forum will include a facilitated half day and evening reception / dinner event. WFN Chief & Council and RDCO Board member dialogue would be supported through the delivery of a series of relevant technical presentations and facilitated breakout sessions. The half day forum will be delivered in a format that would include the use of a contract facilitator. The half day forum event would be followed by a wrap up reception / dinner inclusive of a keynote speaker with expertise and relevancy to the Sylix (Okanagan) Cultural Site Protection Plan objective.

RECOMMENDATION:
THAT the UBCM Grant Award - RDCO / Westbank First Nation Community to Community Forum (March 2016) report be received for information.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio December 7, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (162 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files December 7, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Inaugural Meeting - .wma (11.6 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files December 7, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 8.1 UBCM Grant Award RDCO WFN Community To Community Forum - .wma (2.26 MB)

.pdf icon December 7, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

.pdf icon December 7, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Statutory Board Meeting Minutes

8. NEW BUSINESS

8.1 UBCM Grant Award - RDCO/Westbank First Nation Community to Community Forum March 2016 (All Directors - Unweighted Vote)

Staff report dated November 30, 2015 noted that UBCM has awarded a community to community grant to the Regional District and Westbank First Nation in support of a joint WFN-RDCO Regional Parks Sylix Cultural Site Protection Forum targeted for March 2016 to be hosted by both governments. Staff noted the grant funding must be spent by March 31st.

BAKER/FORTIN
THAT the UBCM Grant Award - RDCO/Westbank First Nation Community to Community Forum (March 2016) report dated November 30, 2015 be received for information.

CARRIED Unanimously

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio December 7, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (162 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files December 7, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Inaugural Meeting - .wma (11.6 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files December 7, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 8.1 UBCM Grant Award RDCO WFN Community To Community Forum - .wma (2.26 MB)

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.pdf icon October 26, 2015 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

FrontCounter BC Referral Application
The Regional Board has given conditional support to a Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure application to FrontCounter BC. The referral application requests the withdrawal of 37.46-hectares of Crown land along Trepanier Road with the purpose of transferring the land as an addition to the Westbank First Nation reserves. The Board requests the concerns identified by the District of Peachland, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and RDCO Parks Services and any issues identified by the City of West Kelowna be addressed or applied as conditions to the application.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 26, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (385 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 26, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 6.1 Frontcounter BC Referral Application Crown Land Disposition (WFN) - .wma (16.8 MB)

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.pdf icon October 26, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 6.1 Frontcounter BC Referral Application Crown Land Disposition

.pdf icon Item 7.6 2016 2020 Financial Plan Request Items For Preliminary Discussion

*Note* Below is only a snippet, please click links above for entire content. 

Item 6.1 Frontcounter BC Referral Application Crown Land Disposition
Purpose:
To consider a Front Counter BC referral application pertaining to the disposition of Crown land for the purpose of transferring the land as an addition to the Westbank Indian Reserve for an indefinite term.
Executive Summary:
The Crown lands proposed for disposition are associated with a negotiated land el<change between Westbank First Nation and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for lands required for a highway Improvement project. Several issues and concerns have been identified, including RDCO Parks Services having ongoing interests in the area and the District of Peachland being opposed to the proposal.
RECOMMENDATION:
THAT Front Counter referral application for the purpose of withdrawing Crown land from disposition for the purpose of transferring the land as an addition to the Westbank Indian Reserve (indefinite term) under the Land Act in vicinity of Highway 97C, adjacent to Trepanier Road (CL-15-09) for Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure be conditionally supported subject to:
• The issues and concerns of the District of Peachland, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (Resource Management) and Regional District's Parks and Planning staff (noted and appended to this report) being addressed or applied as conditions to the application for disposition of the subject Crown land parcels.
• Any issues or concerns submitted from the City of West Kelowna being addressed or applied as conditions to the application for disposition of the subject Crown land parcels.

===============

Item 7.6 2016-2020 Financial Plan Request Items For Preliminary Discussion
111 -- Electoral Area Planning:
New Planning Services Agreements take effect on January 1, 2016. Of note: 4 member municipalities paid for full participation in Electoral Area Planning in 2015. This arrangement will change to partial participation over the next 5 years with a substantial reduction to the amount requisitioned from each municipality for each of the 5 years. This will result in a significant tax increase to Electoral Area residents in 2016. This has been conveyed to the Board during preparation and endorsement of the Planning Services Agreements'

  2015 2016 Estimate
Kelowna 299,256 151,334
Peachland 11,994 2,744
Lake Country 27,141 4,082
West Kelowna 68,083 33,578
EA COW* 8,544 177,538
EA COE* 7,680 53,422
Total 422,698 422,698
*Note:
3,390 Parcels in EA COW, 2,921 Unfringed.
1,879 Parcels in EA COE 2 Unfringed.

- Review and update of the Rural Westside OCP: Estimated cost of $30,000 - $40,000
- Legal: Increase budget beyond current $30,000. Estimate to be determined.
- Capital: Vehicle purchase (use Equip. Replacement Reserves) $30k

171 - Okanagan Regional Library:
The method used by ORL for calculating population used in the proration of the requisition is expected to be adjusted, resulting in an estimated reduction to the electoral areas of $20k or slightly more.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 26, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (385 MB)

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.pdf icon October 26, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

6. COMMUNITY SERVICES

Planning

6.1 Report regarding a FrontCounter BC referral application to withdraw Crown land from disposition for the purpose of transferring the land as an addition to the Westbank Indian Reserve in the vicinity of Highway 97C, adjacent to Trepanier Road. (CL-15-09) Central Okanagan West Electoral Area (All Directors - Unweighted Vote)

Staff report dated October 19, 2015 outlined the referral application for the disposition of six Crown land parcels for the purpose of transferring the land as an addition to Westbank Indian Reserve for an indefinite term. The disposition is associated with a negotiated land exchange between Westbank First Nation (WFN) and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for lands required for a highway improvement project.

The parcels are located within the Trepanier area of Central Okanagan West Electoral Area, approximately 92~ acres of land. Staff reviewed an overhead of the subject property. There is no information available as to what the future land use is being proposed by WFN.

Staff noted the District of Peachland has provided a letter of opposition to the application listing issues such as: property is located in their watershed, Trepanier Road is not designed for large volumes of traffic which may become an issue in the future should gravel production begin within the site, property should be included in the West Kelowna Fire Protection contract with WFN and that the property will not conflict with the proposed Hwy 97 bypass in this area.

Staff report outlined various agency comments including Parks Services comments regarding RDCO's ongoing interests in the area for recreational trail connection opportunities. Historically, FrontCounter does take the conditions provided by RDCO into consideration.

The Board was reminded that RDCO does not have any decision making authority and that FrontCounter has indicated their desire to move forward with a decision shortly. It was noted that addition to reserves takes a long time and can be a frustrating process for the applicant. Often lands are not contiguous to current First Nation lands. It was further noted that WFN could purchase any Crown land and local governments would have no opportunity for comment.

Councillor Werstuik addressed comments raised at the Board table. Westbank First Nation live in the area and water is critical to their people as it is with others, provincial legislation applies to forestry work, environmental protection is critical to their people-laws of general application apply, their laws meet or exceed provincial standards, the gravel pit has not been in operation for years, as good neighbours would not do something contradictory to local areas, road right-of-way is not included or subject to the agreement. WFN has fulfilled their obligations in respect to the highway upgrades and believes the land falls within their aboriginal lands and title.

The question was raised if Trepanier residents have been asked to comment. It was noted that community meetings are not normally held for a provincial referral application such as this.

BAKER/BASRAN
THAT FrontCounter referral application for the purpose of withdrawing Crown land from disposition for the purpose of transferring the land as an addition to the Westbank Indian Reserve (indefinite term) under the Land Act in the vicinity of
Highway 97C, adjacent to Trepanier Road (CL-15-09) for Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure be conditionally supported subject to:

• The issues and concerns of the District of Peachland, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (Resource Management) and Regional District Parks and Planning staff (noted and appended in the October 19, 2015 Board report) being addressed or applied as conditions to the application for disposition of the subject Crown land parcels.
• Any issues or concerns submitted from the City of West Kelowna being addressed or applied as conditions to the application for disposition of the subject Crown land parcels.

CARRIED (opposed: Carson, Fortin)

==================

7.6 2016 - 2020 Financial Plan Request Items for Preliminary Discussion - For Information Only (All Directors - Unweighted Vote)

Staff report dated October 13, 2015 provided a preview of significant items and estimates for possible inclusion in the 2016-2020 Financial Plan. This is provided at this time for information and further direction, if required.
Staff is aiming for little to no requisition increases in the 2016 budget. This will be balanced with building reserves and sustainable asset management. Of note, most capital projects are funded through reserves.

The review of the fire prevention service will come forward Nov 12th

Regional Parks - there is a proposed increase in the number of operating projects. The whole picture needs to be looked at when surpluses or deficits are calculated. Putting dollars in reserves last year had a tax impact. There are staff
increases proposed.

Okanagan Regional Library - projected cost reductions. The Library Board is reviewing percentage increases for electoral areas and WFN. A Board decision is likely in November. Their proposal is to use the population figures for the RDCO, not BC Statistics which are shown to be unfair.

BASRAN/DEHART
THAT the update on the 2016-2020 Financial Plan request items be received for information.

CARRIED Unanimously

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.pdf icon September 10, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon This was a Director Item, and there is no agenda for Director Items

*Note* Below are only a snippets, please click links above for entire content

Financial Considerations:

Having the CAO undertake these negotiations will not impact the 2015 Financial Plan. The financial considerations associated with entering into new Part 26 Cost Sharing Agreements will be determined during the negotiations and will depend largely on the geographic area subject to the agreement, the number of parcels in that geographic area and the scope and strength of voting entitlement.

RECOMMENDATION:
THAT the Board authorize the Chief Administrative Officer to enter negotiations with the cities of Kelowna & West Kelowna and the Districts of Peachland and Lake Country for a new Part 26 Cost sharing Agreement in accordance with s.804.1 of the Local Government Act.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 10, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (191 MB)

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.pdf icon September 10, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

7. DIRECTOR ITEMS

a) Councillor Derickson noted that Westbank First Nation has commenced construction on their youth centre with a projected opening date of November 2016. This facility will provide more recreational youth services to residents. It will be a great place to start new youth programming across the region.

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NDP receives FN support
Castanet.net - by Nicholas Johansen | Story: 149499 - Oct 10, 2015

With advanced polls having already opened and only nine days left until election day the NDP has received a large backing of support from British Columbia’s First Nations community.

Angelique Wood, NDP candidate for the mouthful of a riding, Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, met with Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) on Friday at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology in Merritt.

The meeting, which was open to the public, was an open discussion about Wood and the NDP’s platform, how they will address aboriginal issues, and how they plan on defeating the governing Conservative party.

This comes just two days after the UBCIC threw their weight behind the entire federal NDP platform.

“The NDP platform addresses the key issues of closing the education gap, strengthening Indigenous communities, addressing the housing crisis, prioritizing health care, and growing a sustainable economy,” said Phillip in a statement. “Obviously they listened and carefully considered the needs of Indigenous communities.”

The UBCIC is a political organization founded in 1969 that unites the many First Nations people of B.C.

While Phillip and the UBCIC said they like the NDP platform, their support also stems from their desire to remove Stephen Harper and the Conservatives from power.

“By stark contrast, the Conservatives are attempting to win public support by deliberately fomenting racial divisions within Canadian society,” Phillip said. “Conservative Party member and former MP John Cummins recently rebuked women who have gone missing from Highway 16, mostly Indigenous, for engaging in ‘risky behavior.’ His abusive remarks completely ignore the well-documented impacts of economically marginalized aboriginal communities and institutionalized racism, and are incredibly offensive.”

Phillip made headlines last November by joining the hundreds of protesters on Burnaby Mountain who opposed the Kinder Morgan Pipeline on the mountain. He was arrested, along with dozens of others, for crossing a police line which allowed Kinder Morgan crews to do survey work on the mountain.

All charges stemming from the arrests were later thrown out by the courts.

Phillip said he, along with the UBCIC is hoping for a change in government following the Oct. 19 election.

“On behalf of my 15 grandchildren, I am looking forward to exercising my right to vote on Oct. 19, to get the Harper government out, and encourage everyone to do the same,” he said. “Let’s make real change!”

Source:  http://www.castanet.net/news/BC/149499/NDP-receives-FN-support

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WFN opens new beach
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore | Story: 147760 - Sep 14, 2015
 


Photo: Wayne Moore - Castanet

Westbank First Nation officially opened a new public, community beach Monday on Boucherie Road.

The beach and green space covers nearly two acres and is situated just to the south of the band's private, members-only beach.

The new beach cost about $325,000 to construct, although WFN Chief Robert Louie said it sits on lands valued at about $4 million to $6 million.

"That's strictly a donation by WFN," said Louie.

Unlike the private beach, which was funded through band reserves, the public beach was funded by tax dollars and other charges collected by the band.

Both beaches were years in the making, according to Louie, who said band members spoke loud and clear in their desire that a members-only beach be constructed first.

"It was always understood through that we needed to do something more for the overall community," said Louie.

"It's something we think makes good sense. To have open space, a trail system and a place to sit down and enjoy ... to walk and to really enjoy the beauty that is surrounding us. Not only for our community members that live within reserve lands, but to make it contiguous and seamless for the overall general public."

The beach joins up seamlessly with other parks and beaches constructed to the south by the City of West Kelowna.

"It really contributes to the overall value that is necessary in what citizens in general need to have. That value, tranquility and enjoyment is something that's needed with every governance.

"We've put a lot of dollars into projects like this to make sure we have green space, open parks, and we've continuing to expand on our open parks."

Source: http://www.castanet.net/news/West-Kelowna/147760/WFN-opens-new-beach

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.pdf icon July 27, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

4. ADOPTION OF MINUTES

4.1 Regular Board Meeting - July 16, 2015 (All Directors - Unweighted Vote)

It was noted that the review of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action will be done in consultation with UBCM and other local governments who are also reviewing this 'Calls to Action'.

BAKER/STACK
THAT the Regular Board meeting minutes of July 16, 2015 be adopted.

CARRIED Unanimously

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio July 27, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (147 MB)

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.pdf icon July 16, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

11. DIRECTOR ITEMS

a) Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action report. Discussion ensued regarding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action report and whether there are actionable areas for consideration by the Regional District.

FINDLATERISTACK
THAT staff be directed to review the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action and report back to the Regional Board with respect to potential actionable areas for the Regional District.

CARRIED Unanimously

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WFN to buy back mortgage
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore | Story: 145778 - Aug 11, 2015

UPDATE 9 P.M.

Westbank First Nation members have voted to authorize chief and council to borrow up to $8,050,000 to buy back lands set aside for a proposed private medical centre.

In a vote Tuesday night, 39 members voted for Option A, while 29 members voted for Option B. Nine ballots were spoiled.

The band will borrow the money to acquire Canadian Western Bank's mortgage security over the land. Repayment of the loan will be done over a 15-year period.

At a news conference last month, Chief Robert Louie told assembled media, with the membership's blessing, it could be a year before a decision is made on what the project will look like.

ORIGINAL

Westbank First Nation members get a chance to voice their opinion tonight on the future of lands set aside for a proposed private medical centre.

Band members will have one hour to cast their vote on two options being made available to them. Both involve the expenditure of millions of dollars of band funds.

The 12 acres in question was provided by the band as part of its contribution for the medical centre.

The mortgage on the land is now in default, and band council hopes to be able to buy it back.

The price tag is nearly $8 million.

Band members have two options on Tuesday's ballot:

OPTION A: To approve borrowing of up to $8,050,000 to acquire Canadian Western Bank's mortgage security over the land. Repayment of the loan would be over 15 years.

OPTION B: To approve of the incorporation of a WFN wholly owned corporation to purchase Canadian Western Bank's loan and to hold a replacement lease of the lands for the balance of the original term of the lease. $5.2 million in funding would be provided, with the balance financed through loans.

Meanwhile, a petition has been circulating to force a general membership meeting and put a stop to the vote.

The petition reads:

We the undersigned are petitioning for a Special Membership Meeting to be called to discuss:

1. Including more options for membership to vote on regarding the Canadian Western Bank Mortgage loan on WFN lands leased to Lake Okanagan Wellness Limited Partnership and

2. To allow membership input into setting a reasonable timeline for membership discussions on this issue and membership input into the method of voting on this issue.

The petition, which needed at least 40 signatures to be valid, was to have been dropped off at WFN offices today.

Source:  http://www.castanet.net/news/West-Kelowna/145778/WFN-to-buy-back-mortgage

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Louie: Health centre alive
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore | Story: 144710 - Jul 23, 2015

Photo: Wayne Moore - Castanet
A proposed multimillion-dollar private health centre on Westbank First Nation lands is not dead.

That according to Chief Robert Louie, who addressed the media Thursday to comment on what he called some "extremely negative comments expressed to the media by a small handful of our band members."

Louie said the comments have had a negative impact on the integrity of chief and council, band administration, the membership as a whole and, to some extent, businesses located on WFN lands.

The comments surround a partnership agreement between Westbank First Nation and Ad Vitam Healthcare Ltd.

As part of that agreement, WFN provided Ad Vitam with a parcel of land (about 12 acres). In exchange, Ad Vitam was supposed to raise the capital needed to construct the medical facility.

"This, unfortunately, did not happen," said Louie, calling it one of a few hiccups along the way.

"Our membership is disappointed. This council shares in that disappointment. We had hoped to have this project lifted off the ground months, if not years ago."

Louie said the complexity of the project was at the root of the problem.

"Our general partner's primary responsibility was to find financing for this project. They did in fact find some financing, but not sufficient for this project to proceed.

"Precisely, that's exactly where this project has fallen off the rails is lack of financing found by our general partner."

While Louie couldn't speculate why financing was difficult to obtain, he did say this is the first project in Canada that was to include private medical support.

"That creates some difficulty in itself," he said.

Another hiccup is a mortgage on the property obtained by Ad Vitam which, according to Chief Louie, will come due imminently.

"Our general partner did not repay the loan, therefore we are now responsible to address that debt. Addressing that debt is the responsible thing to do. We will hold true to that indemnification. This is business, and we will not shirk in our responsibilities," said Louie.

The amount in question is $7.9 million, although Louie said that amount could be negotiated.

Band members will have a chance to voice their opinion on what should be done with the land and how the band will repay the debt.

In February, several band members issued a petition asking for a complete, independent audit of receipts, expenditures and liabilities associated with the project. While the audit was not complete, lacking some financial documents from the general partner, Louie believed it was fair.

"Everything has been put on the table for our members, and that's been made very clear. Our members know that," said Louie.

"There are those who choose perhaps to confuse that with unbased facts they believe in ... that's what has caused a bit of concern."

A second petition has also begun circulating, demanding chief and council step down on constitutional grounds.

Chief Louie said bring it on.

"It's nonsensical, it will go no place. There has been no breach of any constitutional matters legal or otherwise. These are very significant matters. Every step WFN takes in matters of this nature, we bring on legal counsel. Legal counsel are by our side and give advice every step of the way.

"If they want to challenge us, bring it on."

Ultimately, Louie said, band membership will determine what happens with the project.

What happens with the land in question is step one – if the band gets the go ahead to re-acquire the land.

He believes, with the membership's blessing, it could be a year before a decision is made on what the project will look like.

Louie does believe it will likely look different than what was originally proposed.

"I believe it is reasonable to assume the medical centre as originally proposed may well change in design and may flow into what we now refer to as a potential centre of excellence. That development is proposed and being looked at very carefully."

Originally, the band was looking to raise about $120 million for the centre.

Louie said one option could be a scaled-down version that is wholly subsidized by the band.

Those decisions will be made down the road.

As for his own political future, Louie said this controversy will force him to run for another term in office when elections roll around in August of 2016.

"Unless something drastically changes, I have no choice. I am going to be running for re-election. This is one of the big factors, yes."

Source: castanet.net/news/West-Kelowna/144710/Louie-Health-centre-alive

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WFN forced to pay partner's 7.9 million dollar debt
AM1150 - 7/23/2015

A significant financial road block in the Westbank First Nations' plans to build a $125-million dollar medical centre on WFN land.

The project's partner, Ad Vitam Health Care, is unable to pay a $7.9-million dollar loan on a 12-hectare piece of land that was to be the site of the centre.

Chief Robert Louie says the band is now on the hook for that loan.

"There is a lease that is on that property. That lease has an encumbered debt on it. It is a debt that is generated by our general partner. What we did to allow for the potential construction that we anticipated by our general partners is to put up the land as our vested security for this project."

Louie says a band membership vote will be held shortly to decide which way they want to cover that debt.

Despite that unexpected loan payment, Louie says the medical centre isn't dead.

Louie added, despite facing the prospect of paying back the loan, Westbank First Nation is in good financial shape with net assets of over $100 million dollars.

Source: am1150.ca/News/Kelowna/2015/07/23/wfn-forced-to-pay-partners-79-million-dollar-debt

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Missing documents for Westbank audit mysteriously resurface
By Marshall Jones & John McDonald - InfoTel Multimedia - July 08, 2015

In February, Westbank First Nation members demanded an audit of band dealings in the Lake Okanagan Wellness Centre after they found themselves on the hook for $7.9 million. When they failed to get it, they pursued the recall of Chief and council. In our ongoing series, we discover the documents central to that audit may have been there all along. |

Crucial documents missing from an audit of Westbank First Nation’s involvement in the Lake Okanagan Wellness Centre — a key plank in a member-driven petition to remove chief and councillors — have been found, and may not have been missing in the first place, Infonews.ca has learned.

The stalled plans for what would have been Canada’s first private, for-profit hospital slated for prime band land overlooking Okanagan Lake, has sent shock waves among band members who may be on the hook for nearly $8 million in loans that weren’t approved by members, as required by the band’s constitution, according to documents obtained by Infonews.ca.

The $150-million hospital plan stalled sometime in 2013 after funding was lost amid cross allegations between Westbank First Nation, its partner Ad Vitam, and Oxbridge Ventures of Vancouver. While Ad Vitam principles Mark McLoughlin and Lyle Oberg say plans are back on track with new lenders, it may not be enough to save Chief Robert Louie and councillors Brian Eli, Mic Werstiuk, Chris Derrickson and Mike De Guevera.

Westbank First Nation officials blamed the failure to produce an audit on Ad Vitam, saying McLoughlin couldn’t produce vital financial documents. But in an interview, McLoughlin put it right back on the band, suggesting the materials are, and perhaps always were available.

And while the wellness centre partners point fingers, band members continue to remain in the dark about where the money went.

According to the band’s constitution, the council is obligated to respond to petitions from band members, provided they have 20 per cent of the approximately 500 voting members. Seventy-two band members signed the petition calling for the audit. Failure to produce the audit and explain how the deal apparently soured is now a key reason for a new petition still circulating among band members calling for the removal of chief and councillors.

Members circulated a successful petition with 72 signatures in February demanding a full audit of the wellness centre deal, which wasn’t provided because, according to auditors, they faced lengthy delays getting source documents.

According to BDO auditor Ken Carmichael, in a report to the band, much of the financial statements and paper work was never provided by Ad Vitam.

“Ad Vitam proved difficult to get a hold of and difficult to get commitment from on this matter,” Carmichael wrote. Later in his report, he said: “It is believed by Ad Vitam’s principle, Mark McLoughlin, to be in Ad Vitam’s office space. Ad Vitam has no ability to access this space due to a dispute with its landlord.”

In an interview, McLoughlin now says all the paper work is now accounted for and contradicted Carmichael’s letter to members.

“We had to secure some stuff from the office which we did and we didn’t hear back from (the band’s) legal folks as to what to do with the the information,” he said. “So right now, we are actually in the process of doing our own audit with our funding partner so that audit is underway on our end anyway. As far as what (the band) has to do, they are certainly welcome to have access to anything that they want at any point in time. We do have it all in our possession so it is there for them if they need it.”

But it remains unclear if Ad Vitam had the records all along because while McLoughlin says they “fairly recently” were able to get access to the company’s former office, landlord Noll Derriksan says they neither sought nor were granted access to their offices. According to a default judgment in B.C. Supreme Court, Ad Vitam owes Derriksan nearly $150,000 for unpaid rent.

Still, McLoughlin insists they were granted access to the office.

“When we moved, the realization was that we had some stuff in some cabinets in an area of the office that we didn’t take at the time so obviously when we left we couldn’t get back in there up until fairly recently which we were able to do and secure what we needed to secure. So the band was informed...that all the information was there. We were just looking at where to have that sent. And that is still the same today, they can have access as soon as we are done our audit now because our accountant has all our information,” he said.

When it was put to McLoughlin that Derriksan disputed that claim, he said: “Well OK, well we got it all back.”

Derriksan also said there was no need for Ad Vitam to regain access because the office was empty.

The state of the petition to remove chief and councillors is unknown. Four copies of the petition are currently in circulation and have not yet been returned.

Repeated calls to Westbank First Nation were not returned and Chief Robert Louie has refused requests for an interview. Instead, he released this statement; “The proposed medical centre project on WFN community-held lands adjacent to the WFN office are undergoing a master planning review with the membership currently and we have no updates for the public at this time.”

Partial interview with Mark McLoughlin of Ad Vitam Health Care.
To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald "at" infonews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones "at" infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

Source: infotel.ca/newsitem/missing-documents-for-westbank-audit-mysteriously-resurface/it21072

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Cracks were showing in Westbank First Nation's private hospital plan last year
infotel.ca - By Marshall Jones & John McDonald - June 27, 2015

WESTBANK FIRST NATION - Despite assertions from the partners behind Canada’s first for-profit private hospital that it is proceeding as planned, documents show the deal to develop the Lake Okanagan Wellness Centre was in disarray last year.

When it became clear in October 2014 that Ad Vitam Health Care was out of money and unable to pay rent, the company entered negotiations with a private landowner on Westbank First Nations to leave its partnership with the band, according to documents filed with the B.C. Supreme Court.

Ad Vitam has been working in partnership with Westbank First Nation since 2011 to build the hospital for $120 million to $150 million. The band’s commitment was 20 acres of prime real estate overlooking Okanagan Lake and Ad Vitam was to raise financing and manage the facility.

In March 2013, the company secured a commitment letter from Oxbridge Group of Companies for $150 million in financing but the cash never materialized and neither the band, nor Ad Vitam directors Mark McLoughlin and Lyle Oberg will say when or why it was pulled, in part because the matter is being investigated by the RCMP.

Both Oberg and McLoughlin say the project is back on track with a new funding partner, but couldn’t give specifics.

However in response to the lawsuit for defaulting on its office lease, filed Dec. 31, 2014, Ad Vitam said when “the development became stalled” and it could no longer pay $8,400 rent for the entire fourth floor of a building in Estates Square on Old Okanagan Highway, the company turned to landlord Noll Derriksan, himself a grand chief and former chief of Westbank First Nation, to renegotiate.

“The parties reached an agreement for the wellness and medical clinic to be built on lands to which the plaintiff holds a certificate of possession rather than on lands directly in the name of WFN,” the counter claim says.

The partners contemplated a scaled down version of the project at $50 million and agreed Derriksan would attempt to raise the money from private lenders in exchange for a finder's fee.

Ad Vitam said the relationship broke down when Derriksan made "certain demands" and made other, unspecified allegations he attempted to interfere with the development.

None of the allegations have been proven in court. No further filings were made by Ad Vitam and a default judgment was registered for just shy of $150,000.

Contacted earlier this week, Oberg would only say Ad Vitam decided the office was too big for its needs and opted to vacate.

“We felt we didn’t need the space at that point in time. It was a large space and… we didn’t know if the project was going to ahead at the time (and) we had a dispute with the landlord,” he said.

McLoughlin said Ad Vitam would deal with the matter in time but refused to speak about the secondary negotiations with Derriksan.

“A lot of groups are very interested in building a facility,” he said. “It is of high interest to a lot of people. We continually get calls… or levels of interest around what that could look like. That is not an uncommon thing for someone to look at building the facility. Anybody can go out and build the facility if they have the capital to do it.”

Derriksan confirmed they were in negotiations but denies he interfered in the deal. He says he tried to connect the project with two different venture capitalists from overseas but they wouldn't touch it.

“I had several investors that might have taken this deal but what they were missing is approval, some evidence they would be allowed by (Health Canada) to do this. I had one guy who would normally jump all over this type of thing but he never even responded.”

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald "at" infonews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones "at" infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

Source: infotel.ca/newsitem/cracks-were-showing-in-westbank-first-nations-private-hospital-plan-last-year/it20748

Blue Divider Line

Stalled private hospital has Westbank band members, police asking questions about finances
By Marshall Jones & John McDonald - InfoTel Multimedia - June 25, 2015

FUNDING COLLAPSE; RECALL CAMPAIGN

WESTBANK FIRST NATION - Canada’s first private, for-profit hospital, slated for development on Westbank First Nation land, has stalled amid lost venture capital funding and criminal allegations and the political fallout could claim the band’s chief and councillors.

The Lake Okanagan Wellness Centre is a project the band announced with much fanfare in 2011. The high-end private medical facility was to provide a roster of surgical procedures for well-heeled clients in a resort setting on 20 acres of band land overlooking Okanagan Lake. Opening of the facility was originally scheduled for March, 2015.

Principals of the Lake Okanagan Wellness Centre limited partnership is a company called Ad Vitam and Westbank First Nation, which was to contribute land for the development. Ad Vitam’s role was to provide overall medical direction and raise the money to build the facility.

Ad Vitam principals Lyle Oberg and Mark McLoughlin say they are hopeful the project will proceed with a new funding partner, a process they say is already under way, however the future of the project appears to be in doubt, according to numerous interviews and documents obtained by infonews.ca.

A commitment letter from March 2013 shows that approximately $150 million for the Lake Okanagan Wellness Clinic was secured from Oxbridge Capital Group of Companies but that money was never advanced. The partners refuse to say when or why the funding stopped and a letter from the band, in response to questions posed by a band member, says the RCMP is investigating.

“The basis of the investigation is that Oxbridge has absconded with a sum in excess of $2 million where it had not earned those funds,” wrote WFN Council secretariat Kevin Kingston.

Several calls this week to Oxbridge have not been returned. Attempts to interview Chief Robert Louie were also denied, although he did issue an email statement. “The proposed medical centre project on WFN community-held lands adjacent to the WFN office are undergoing a master planning review with the membership currently and we have no updates for the public at this time.” Louie did not elaborate what the “master planning review” was.

In February, band members took the rare step of engaging the band’s self-governance constitution to circulate a petition forcing chief and council to conduct an audit of the partnership and its business dealings. That audit was never completed. A report from accountant BDO says documents were not made available by Ad Vitam and could “provide no assurance as to the amounts being reported.” It quotes McLoughlin saying the documents were locked in Ad Vitam’s office in Estates Square in West Kelowna. Ad Vitam was evicted by its landlord because it stopped paying rent in October 2014.

A default judgment against Ad Vitam in favour of its landlord is registered in B.C. Supreme Court for nearly $150,000.

From the auditor’s report, it appears Westbank First Nation is on the hook for between $7.9 to $10.3 million in debts through mortgages and brokerage fees still owing to Oxbridge.

The band’s role in the partnership was originally limited to providing only the land for the clinic — no cash. However to raise capital, the partnership secured a mortgage on those lands from Canadian Western Bank, and Ad Vitam stopped making payments toward the mortgage February 1. If the bands wants the lands back, the $7.9 million owing on the mortgage must be paid. The auditors report also notes another $2.8 million is owed to Oxbridge for brokerage fees, despite the loss of funds and the criminal allegations.

The band’s constitution states any expenditure over $500,000 requires a special membership meeting and a vote by the membership. Band members say neither of those occurred prior to taking out that mortgage or an earlier $2.5 million loan that was paid off by the $7.5 million mortgage.

Roxanne Lindley is one of many band members now questioning the entire project. Since the fall of 2014, she says there have been several acrimonious meetings with the band council trying to get information about the wellness centre development.

“There could be millions of dollars missing and they won’t tell us about it,” said Lindley. “If you screwed up, just tell us. We want them to be accountable.”

A second petition is now circulating among Westbank First Nation members calling for the removal of Robert Louie and the four sitting councillors, Chris Derrickson, Mic Werstiuk, Brian Eli and Mike De Guevara. It cites their failure to respond to the first petition by not producing a full and complete audit and “failure to disclose to all membership how the WFN Council proposed to repay existing and ongoing financial obligations resulting from (the partnership).”

“These breaches show a complete lack of transparency in the financial matters of the WFN, have nullified any accountability of their fiduciary duties (to) membership and through the blatant mismanagement of membership monies,” the petition reads in part.

It’s not known how many signatures are on the recall petition so far, which requires the signatures of 20 per cent of voting members. Just 72 signatures was sufficient to force the band to conduct the audit.

On Wednesday, Ad Vitam partner Lyle Oberg, a former MLA and cabinet minister in the Alberta provincial government, said it may have appeared last October the project was dead, however it is back on track.

“We are in negotiations on finishing the financing,” he said. “That has been the difficult part on the health centre.”

Neither he nor McLoughlin were aware of the petition to remove chief and council. In an interview, McLoughlin said he couldn’t disclose any information about new financing for the project because he is bound by a non-disclosure agreement. He said a unique project such as the wellness clinic should be expected to have “ebbs and flows” but he has no new timeline for its completion.

“We are hopeful to be able to have, over the next couple of months, some positive indications to be able share,” he said. “There is due diligence happening (but) we can’t get into the specifics. It is moving in a positive direction.”

Former WFN chief Noll Derriksan, who is backing the recall drive, said the band leadership is playing fast and loose with the constitution and governance policies.

“They aren’t supposed to spend more than $500,000 on anything without membership approval. Period. Yet here they are making transactions, moving money around that’s way more than that,” he said. “They can’t put a mortgage on that land without going to the people. And they didn’t do that.”

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald "at" infonews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones "at" infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

Source: infotel.ca/newsitem/stalled-private-hospital-has-westbank-band-members-police-asking-questions-about-finances/it20717

Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon May 14, 2015 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Support for Crown Land Disposition
The Regional Board conditionally supports a referral application made to FrontCounter BC by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. The Ministry wants approval to transfer approximately 272-hectares of Crown land to the Westbank First Nation in recognition of an exchange of a portion of Reserve lands for a highway improvement project. The portion of Crown land affected is between and connects the existing Indian Reserves #11 and #12, south of Mission Creek. The Board support for the application is subject to an update being made to the Master Agreement (July 2000) between the Westbank First Nation, Regional District, City of Kelowna, Black Mountain Irrigation District and South East Kelowna Irrigation District to recognize and address each agencies interests associated with the Crown land transfer.

Proposed Communication Tower
The Regional Board has no objections to a proposal by Rogers Communications to install a new communication tower on privately owned land in the 5800 block, Chute Lake Road. As proposed by the company, the 50-meter tall structure conforms to the requirements of Zoning Bylaw No. 871 and will provide improved coverage and network quality in the upper Mission area.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio May 14, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (85.2 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files May 14, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Frontcounter Referral Application To Withdraw Crown Land From Disposition For Purpose Of Transferring The Land As An Addition To The Westbank Indian Reserve In The Vicinity Of IR 11 And 12 - .wma (930 KB)

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.pdf icon May 14, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 5.1 Frontcounter Referral Application To Withdraw Crown Land From Disposition For Purpose Of Transferring The Land As An Addition To The Westbank Indian Reserve In The Vicinity Of IR 11 And 12

.pdf icon Item 5.2 Request For A Proposed Rogers Communication Tower On Privately Owned Land In The Vicinity Of Chute Lake Road

*Note* Below is only a snippet, please click link above for entire content

Purpose:
To consider a Front Counter BC referral application pertaining to the disposition of Crown land for the purpose of transferring the land as an addition to the Westbank Indian Reserve for an indefinite term.

Executive Summary:
The proponents, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, outline that this land transfer is in recognition of an exchange of Crown land for a portion of Indian Reserve lands for a highway improvement project. While no objections have been received by the Regional District, staff notes that comments received include interest to extend the Mission Creek Greenway through the subject lands; maintain McCulloch Road access to lands beyond; consider the area's environmental values; and receive further consultation if future development is proposed.

RECOMMENDATION:
THAT Front Counter referral application for the purpose of Withdrawing Crown land from disposition for the purpose of transferring the land as an addition to the Westbank Indian Reserve (indefinite term) under the Land Act in vicinity of Indian Reserves No. 11 and 12, south of Mission Creek, and east of the City of Kelowna (CL-15-04) for Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure be .conditionally supported subject to:
• Updating the Master Agreement (dated July 28, 2000) between Westbank First Nation, Regional District of Central Okanagan, City of Kelowna, Black Mountain Irrigation District and South East Kelowna Irrigation District to include the land under application.
• Issues and recommendations of other agencies (noted and appended to this report), including MFLNRO (Resource Management), City of Kelowna and RDCO staff being addressed prior to issuance of, or applied as conditions to approval.

==========================

Purpose:
To consider a request for concurrence of the Rogers Communications Inc. proposal to install a telecommunications tower on privately owned land.

Executive Summary:
The proponent, Rogers Communications Inc. c/o Cypress Land Services, proposes to install a 50-metre-tall telecommunication tower. Zoning Bylaw No. 871 permits the proposed use in all zones. Approval for proposed telecommunication sites on privately owned land is governed and processed by Industry Canada on behalf of the Government of Canada. In accordance with Industry Canada's Default Public Consultation Process (DPCP), the proponent requires a Regional Board resolution indicating land-use authority approval.

RECOMMENDATION:
THAT the Regional Board advise Rogers Communications Inc. that it is satisfied with the public consultation process related to their proposal to install a 50-metre-tall telecommunications tower at 5819 Chute Lake Road.
AND THAT the Regional District of Central Okanagan confirms that the proposed wireless telecommunications facility on the subject property conforms with RDCO Zoning Bylaw No. 871 and therefore have no objections provided it is constructed substantially in accordance with the plans submitted to the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

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Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files May 14, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Frontcounter Referral Application To Withdraw Crown Land From Disposition For Purpose Of Transferring The Land As An Addition To The Westbank Indian Reserve In The Vicinity Of IR 11 And 12 - .wma (930 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files May 14, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.2 Request For A Proposed Rogers Communication Tower On Privately Owned Land In The Vicinity Of Chute Lake Road - .wma (757 KB)

.pdf icon May 14, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

5. COMMUNITY SERVICES

Planning

5.1 FrontCounter BC Referral Application to withdraw Crown land from disposition for the purpose of transferring the land as an addition to the Westbank Indian Reserve (Term Indefinite) in the vicinity of Indian Reserve No. 11 and No. 12 (CL-1504) Central Okanagan East Electoral Area (All Directors - Unweighted Vote)

Staff report dated May 6, 2015 outlined the referral application from FrontCounter BC pertaining to the disposition of Crown land for the purpose of transferring the land as an addition to the Westbank Indian Reserve for an indefinite term. The land transfer is in recognition of an exchange of Crown land for a portion of Indian Reserve lands for a highway improvement project.
No objections were received from agency referrals/technical comments however the RDCO has interests (ie: environmental mapping resources, park services interests) that will be provided to FrontCounterBC. It is not known what the
future land use will be.

The question was raised whether this referral application is part of the exchange for the Highway 97 land exchange required for the highway upgrade. It was confirmed that the lands in question are associated with the land exchange required for the highway upgrade.

STACK/FINDLATER
THAT FrontCounter Referral Application for the purpose of withdrawing Crown land from disposition for the purpose of transferring the land as an addition to the Westbank Indian Reserve (Indefinite Term) under the Land Act in the vicinity of Indian Reserve No. 11 and 12, south of Mission Creek, and east of the City of Kelowna (CL15- 04) for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure be conditionally supported subject to:
• Updating the Master Agreement (dated July 28, 2000) between Westbank First Nation, Regional District of Central Okanagan, City of Kelowna, Black Mountain Irrigation District and South East Kelowna Irrigation District to include the land under application.
• Issues and recommendations of other agencies (noted and appended to the RDCO Board report dated May 6, 2015), including MFLNRO (Resource Management), City of Kelowna and RDCO staff being addressed prior to issuance of, or applied as conditions to approval.

CARRIED Unanimously

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio May 14, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (85.2 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files May 14, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Frontcounter Referral Application To Withdraw Crown Land From Disposition For Purpose Of Transferring The Land As An Addition To The Westbank Indian Reserve In The Vicinity Of IR 11 And 12 - .wma (930 KB)

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Blue Divider Line

WFN celebrates success
Castanet.net - by Ragnar Haagen | Story: 136555 - Mar 31, 2015

While many First Nations across Canada continue to face significant hardships, Westbank First Nation continues to buck that trend.

WFN celebrates 10 years of self-governance this week.

But it was only through a long process of negotiation and community consultation that the possibility became law on May 6, 2004, and came into force on April 1, 2005.

Many First Nation reserves, especially in Canada's North, lack proper infrastructure, everyday services and the quality of life most Canadians take for granted. Not so in Westbank, where the band has developed lucrative residential, commercial and recreation properties, making it one of the most prosperous First Nations in Canada.

“I am proud of how far our community has come over the past 10 years,” Chief Robert Louie said Tuesday.

“Self-government has opened doors to opportunities that the community would not have seen if we were still governed by Canada. Not only has self-government increased the accountability and transparency of the WFN government as well as bringing a great sense of pride to our community, but it has also resulted in increased opportunities for our members, increased property values and an improved standard of living.”

In fact, property values have skyrocketed over the past 10 years, with the Westbank First Nation now ranked 61st in the province for assessed value, out of 162 B.C. municipalities.

The value of band land has nearly quadrupled during that time, from $398 million to more than $1.4 billion, according to the WFN.

The band says they've also contributed $80 million of annual fiscal revenue to the federal and provincial governments through the generation of sales tax, personal income tax and corporate tax on Westbank First Nation Lands, $500 million annually to the local economy, and remains one of the largest employers on the Westside.

Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon March 27, 2015 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

There are no Highlights published on RDCO's website for Final Budget Meetings.

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Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 27, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 4.1 Financial Plan Presentation - .wma (41.6 KB)

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Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 27, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 4.1K Finance And Administration Pg 91 127 - .wma ( MB)

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Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 27, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 4.3 2015 2019 Financial Plan Bylaw No 1356 Revisedmar27 - .wma ( MB)

**** All the budget audio is in the first two links .. it was too much work to figure out each of the items.

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 27, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 4.4 Temporary Borrowing Bylaw No 1357 - .wma (481 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 27, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Addition of Late Item - Item 5.1 MFLNRO Referral 3411445 Westbank First Nation - .wma (296 KB)

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Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 27, 2015 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Reardon explaining about how Regional District budgets work - .wma (507 KB)

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.pdf icon March 27, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 4.1 Financial Plan Presentation
.pdf icon Item 4.1 2015 Budget And Five Year Plan Report Revisedmar27
.pdf icon Item 4.1A Budget Piechart And Information Revisedmar27
.pdf icon Item 4.1B Tax Requisitions And Rates Revisedmar27
.pdf icon Item 4.1C Financial Plan Departmental Table Of Contents
.pdf icon Item 4.1D Community Services Engineering Pg 1 34
.pdf icon Item 4.1E Community Services Waste Management Pg 35 42
.pdf icon Item 4.1F Community Services Planning Pg 43 46 Revised Mar27
.pdf icon Item 4.1G Community Services Fire Protection Pg 47 65
.pdf icon Item 4.1H Community Services Police Services Pg 66 73
.pdf icon Item 4.1I Community Services Inspections Pg 74 77
.pdf icon Item 4.1J Parks Services Pg 78 90
.pdf icon Item 4.1K Finance And Administration Pg 91 127
.pdf icon Item 4.1L Corporate Services Pg 128 147
.pdf icon Item 4.1M Corporate Services Bylaw Enforcement Pg 148 159
.pdf icon Item 4.1N Economic Development Commission Pg 160 161
.pdf icon Item 4.1O Regional Board Pg 162 171
.pdf icon Item 4.3 2015 2019 Financial Plan Bylaw No 1356 Revisedmar27
.pdf icon Item 4.4 Temporary Borrowing Bylaw No 1357
.pdf icon Item 5.1 MFLNRO Referral 3411445 Westbank First Nation

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 27, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (13.2 MB)

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.pdf icon March 27, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Special Board Meeting Minutes (Budget)

5. COMMUNITY SERVICES

Planning

5.1 Referral Application - Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations - Westbank First Nation (applicant) Ministry File: 34114455 (All Directors - Unweighted Vote)

Staff report dated march 26, 2015 outlined a referral application from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) for Westbank First Nation (applicant). The proposed head lease areas are encapsulated by lands with the District of West Kelowna. The head lease areas are deemed to have no impact to any of the Regional District's infrastructure or land use bylaws.

The applicant, Westbank First Nation (WFN), has made application for two separate head leases. The head lease areas extend into Okanagan lake by 300 meters. If approved by the Province, the lease will require WFN to observe, abide by and comply with all applicable laws of any government authority having jurisdiction in any way affecting the use or occupation of the foreshore area or improvements located on the foreshore. Other than the map provided by MFLNRO no additional information was provided to the Regional District.

It was noted that the District of West Kelowna has endorsed the referral from MFLNRO. They note it is good for WFN to have control over their foreshore.

FINDLATER/CARSON
THAT the Regional Board advise the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) that the interests of the Regional District of Central Okanagan are unaffected with respect to issuing a head lease to Westbank First Nation under the Land Act on Okanagan lake foreshore adjacent to 1.R.#9 and 1.R.#10;
AND FURTHER THAT the Community Services department report dated march 26, 2015 be forwarded to the MFLNRO office for their information and consideration.

CARRIED Unanimously

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 27, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (13.2 MB)

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Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon March 23, 2015 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

There is nothing mentioned in the Highlights about Director Item - WFN - Derrickson re: WFN 10 year anniversary of self government, because this was a Director Item.

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.pdf icon March 23, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon There is nothing mentioned in the Agenda about Director Item - WFN - Derrickson re: WFN 10 year anniversary of self government.

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.pdf icon March 23, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

11. DIRECTOR ITEMS

Councillor Derickson noted that next Wednesday, April 15t Westbank First Nation is celebrating the 1O-year anniversary of its self-government.

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Blue Divider Line

 

.pdf icon March 12, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 5.1 Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program Biodiversity Conservation Strategy Update
.pdf icon Item 5.2 Woodhaven Eco Cultural Centre Annual Report
.pdf icon Item 6.1 Okanagan Regional Library Population Numbers For Electoral Area Levy
.pdf icon Item 6.2 Technical Rescue Service Proposal District Of West Kelowna
.pdf icon Item 6.3 Draft 2015 Budget And 2015 2019 Financial Plan
.pdf icon Item 6.3A Budget Piechart And Budgets Summary
.pdf icon Item 6.3B Tax Requisitions And Rates
.pdf icon Item 6.3C Community Services Engineering
.pdf icon Item 6.3D Community Services Waste Management
.pdf icon Item 6.3E Community Services Planning
.pdf icon Item 6.3F Community Services Fire Protection
.pdf icon Item 6.3G Community Services Policing Services
.pdf icon Item 6.3H Community Services Inspections
.pdf icon Item 6.3I Parks Services
.pdf icon Item 6.3J Finance And Administration
.pdf icon Item 6.3K Corporate Services Administration
.pdf icon Item 6.3L Corporate Services Bylaw Enforcement
.pdf icon Item 6.3M Economic Development Commission
.pdf icon Item 6.3N Regional Board

.pdf icon Item 6.4 Quarterly Program Measures Report (no longer missing from RDCO's website)

*Note* below are only a snippets from the documents at the links above*

Item 6.4 Quarterly Program Measures Report

Corporate Services:
002 - Administration (Page147): Surplus of $182,037 due to under expenditures for salaries, training, building repairs & mtce and contract services and higher than anticipated administrative recovery.
Strategic Community Investment Funds of $79,415 were received. SCIF funds continue to minimize tax rate increases by supporting and offsetting general corporate services administrative costs, and administrative projects which have included Strategic Planning, orthophoto updates, service reviews, service agreement reviews, energy efficiencies, building improvements and working toward meeting economic and climate change targets. 2014 Civic Election completed, new Board orientation was successful. Fringe Area Planning, 9-1-1 and Parks Service reviews were completed. Air Quality review is scheduled to be completed as part of the implementation of a regular service review 5 year cycle. Regional Emergency Services Oversight Committee review of the Regional Rescue Service is
complete. Final approval of Amendments to Westbank First Nation (WFN) Agreements for inclusion in Crime Prevention, Economic Development Commission and Air Quality Program services was received from WFN. Amended Regional Growth Strategy Bylaw No. 1336 was adopted June 23, 2014. RCMP Community Policing Office leased space in Administrative offices main floor effective spring 2014.
Reporting to the Director of Community Services, the Fleet and Facilities Manager position was fiiled effective September 8, 2014. Alarm System upgrade for the Administration Building was completed for a cost of $9,815.

042 - Regional Crime Prevention (Page 132): Surplus of $27,626 resulted from under expenditures in graffiti eradication, vehicle operations, and various programs with increase Alarm Control Revenue.
Volunteer recruitment down by 7%. RDCO - WFN Local Services Agreement Amendment made to include Regional Crime Prevention services. The Bike Theft Prevention Program was launched in the second quarter and the Theft from Auto Crime Prevention campaign was also ongoing during the year. The Block Watch Crime Prevention Program has 23 participating neighbourhoods including new programs established in Lake Country and West Kelowna during 2014.

Economic Development Commission
120 - EDC (page 176): See the EDC 2014 Summary Report (pages 181-183) for the projects and programs EDC has been working on including site visits, Agri-Tourism Business Planning, Business Liaison, Business Walks, Export Deve[opment, Metabridge, Workforce Attraction program, Air Route Development, Okanagan Young Professionals Collective and Young Entrepreneur Program.
In 2014, Westbank First Nation became a participant in the service.

471 - WFN Lift Stations/Collector System (Page 42): Deficit of $7,364 due to expanded flushing program. The expanded maintenance program was coordinated with approval from Westbank First Nation staff.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 12, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (37.3 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 5.1 Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program Biodiversity Conservation Strategy Update - .wma (7.11 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 5.2 Woodhaven Eco Cultural Centre Annual Report - .wma (9.97 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.1 Okanagan Regional Library Population Numbers For Electoral Area Levy - .wma (16.7 MB)

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Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3 Draft 2015 Budget And 2015 2019 Financial Plan - .wma (17.4 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3A Budget Piechart And Budgets Summary - .wma ( MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3B Tax Requisitions And Rates - .wma ( MB)

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Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3G Community Services Policing Services - .wma ( MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3H Community Services Inspections - .wma ( MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3I Parks Services - .wma ( MB)

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Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3K Corporate Services Administration - .wma ( MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3L Corporate Services Bylaw Enforcement - .wma ( MB)

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Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3N Regional Board - .wma ( MB)

It is too hard to find each section of the missing links above so not going to break down the audio into sections for this meeting.  All the audio of this meeting are in the links above and below.

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.4 Quarterly Program Measures Report being added to the agenda - .wma (279 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.4 Quarterly Program Measures Report - .wma (208 KB)

.pdf icon March 12, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

*Note* Below is just a snippet, please click link above for entire content

6.4 Quarterly Measures Report - Year-Ended December 31, 2014

Staff report dated March 6, 2015 reported on the summary of 2014 activities for each individual service as set out in the 2014-2018 Financial Plan. The highlights for the year are not inclusive-there are too many items to be covered for each
service. Multi-year comparative statistics by service/program are available in the full report.

OPHUS/HANSON
THAT the Year End December 31,2014 Quarterly Program Measures report be received for information.

CARRIED Unanimously

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 12, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (37.3 MB)

Blue Divider Line

Land swap over 700 acres
Castanet.net - by Ragnar Haagen | Story: 133768 - Feb 25, 2015

The land-swap agreement reached last week between the provincial government and Westbank First Nation offers even more land than West Kelowna residents balked at in 2011.

The initial agreement offered 698 acres of Crown land around the Rose Valley reservoir in exchange for eight acres of WFN land required for construction of the Westside Road interchange.

The municipality and residents of West Kelowna raised an uproar that eventually killed that deal. But last week's revised agreement puts together a package of land and cash included approximately 670 acres of Crown land plus 65 acres of private land.

Two of the properties are within the Agricultural Land Reserve.

According to the province, the total value of the package is $6 million and includes $1.5 million in cash from the government.


Once the sale is complete, exact locations of the properties will be released, but the province has said the Crown land is located along McCulloch Road, between WFN reserves at Medicine Creek and Medicine Hill. The two ALR private properties are within the City of Kelowna on Spiers Road and Hereron Road.

A third piece of private land is located on the eastern shores of Lower Arrow Lake, near Fauquier, on Starlite Road.

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WFN land swap approved
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore | Story: 133447 - Feb 20, 2015

A tentative agreement has been reached between the province and Westbank First Nation on a land exchange.

The exchange is born out of an agreement between the two governments in which eight acres of reserve lands were given to the province in 2009 for construction of the Westside Road interchange.

Originally, the province agreed to an exchange of 698 acres of Crown land at the north and east side of Rose Valley Reservoir. The District of West Kelowna and its resident balked at the idea, and the swap was eventually scrapped.

The package of lands and cash being considered includes four parcels of Crown or private land and $1.5 million in cash to be used for mutually agreed upon future land purchases.

Parcels of land in the proposed exchange include:

Two private agricultural properties within the City of Kelowna on Spiers Road and Hereron Road.
One private property on the eastern shores of Lower Arrow Lake near Fauquier on Starlite Road.
One Crown land parcel located east of Kelowna along McCulloch Road, adjacent to lands held by Westbank First Nation at Medicine Hill.
The Westside interchange project was part of an agreement the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Westbank First Nation entered into in 2005, to work together to facilitate Highway 97 upgrade projects through the WFN reserve.

Projects completed under the agreement include the William R. Bennett Bridge, the Campbell and Westside road interchanges and the Sneena overpass

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New land claim seeks massive territory on B.C.'s South Coast, including Stanley Park
by Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun - Dec 2, 2014

Tiny, unrecognized Hwlitsum First Nation launches ‘novel’ lawsuit

New land claim seeks massive territory on B.C.'s South Coast, including Stanley Park


The tiny Hwlitsum band was formed in 2000 after its chief, Rocky Wilson (pictured here), won a 15-year Supreme Court fight to regain his full Indian status.
Photograph by: Ian Lindsay , Vancouver Sun files
A small group of dispossessed aboriginals in Delta are laying claim to a vast swath of southern Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, including Stanley Park.

The group members, who have no federal or provincial recognition and no reserve, want their pick of all federal, provincial and municipal lands within the claimed territory.

Saying their territory was wrongly taken after the shelling of a Gulf Islands village by a Royal Navy gunboat in 1863, the Hwlitsum First Nation are claiming in a B.C. Supreme Court action $1 billion each in damages from the provincial and federal governments.

They also want land that has been promised to the Tsawwassen First Nation as part of that group’s treaty settlement agreement.

The case could stall efforts by the federal and provincial governments to resolve long-standing claims by recognized First Nations.

The tiny Hwlitsum band was formed in 2000 after its chief, Ray Wilson, won a 15-year Supreme Court fight to regain his full Indian status. However, Wilson and his extended family, which comprises about 250 people, have been unable to get official federal and provincial recognition of their band, with the result that they remain a First Nation in name only. They have filed a statement of intent with the B.C. Treaty Commission, but their claim has not advanced very far.

Frustrated at the lack of progress and worried that lands they claim may be given to others, the Hwlitsum launched a wide-ranging civil suit on Nov. 7 in which they applied for a large number of injunctions to stop any dispersal of lands that might compromise their claim. In addition to the federal and provincial governments, they named the cities of Vancouver, Richmond and Delta, the Vancouver park board, the Capital Regional District and the Islands Trust, the regional government that oversees the Gulf Islands.

The suit appears to be aimed at preventing the provincial government from transferring land at Brunswick Point in Delta to the Tsawwassen First Nation as part of that group’s treaty settlement agreement. The land borders Canoe Pass, which the Hwlitsum say was the site of an ancestral village the province burned in the 1970s when it expropriated the surrounding lands for the Roberts Bank coal port. The province has agreed to first sell the lands back to farming families they expropriated from in the first place, with the proviso that any lands not sold would then be transferred to the Tsawwassen nation. The Hwlitsum say the land should be offered to them as part of any settlement.

The Hwlitsum say they should be given title to many other lands, including municipally held properties. They specifically say six Hwlitsum members should each be given 160 acres of Stanley Park, or almost all of the 1,001-acre park.

Chief Wilson declined to comment on the case, and his lawyer, Alberta-based Jeffrey Rath, did not reply to an email seeking comment.

The Hwlitsum say they are the descendants of a powerful and feared tribe called the Lamalcha, whose pre-colonial reach extended throughout the southern Strait of Georgia as far up the Fraser River as Yale. Some of those lands, they say, were jointly shared with other Coast Salish tribes. In a 40-page notice of civil claim, they say one of their principal villages was on Kuper Island near present-day Chemainus, which they abandoned in April 1863, when the gunboat HMS Forward shelled it during a dispute. In the ensuing days, several Lamalcha chiefs were captured and hanged, an act the Hwlitsum say would be a war crime today. When colonial powers subsumed and redistributed the Hwlitsum into “Indian bands” — including the Tsawwassen and Musqueam — their true aboriginal title was confused with claims of other nations, they said in their claim.

Last week, a B.C. Supreme Court judge set aside all of the injunction applications the Hwlitsum filed in their claim, pending a challenge from the federal and provincial governments on whether the band has any legal standing. The case will be heard in March.

The judge also ruled that the municipal governments, Capital Regional District, Islands Trust and park board will not have to file any response to the claim until the provincial and federal government challenge has been decided.

The case is far from simple, according to Geoff Plant, a former B.C. attorney-general and the lawyer representing the Tsawwassen First Nation. The Tsawwassen treaty agreement doesn’t take away other First Nations’ aboriginal rights, he said. “The Tsawwassen treaty is not supposed to extinguish anybody else’s aboriginal right. The government can’t do a deal with one First Nation that prejudices another First Nation’s rights. The Hwlitsum are saying, ‘You’ve forgot about us. First you dispossessed us, you forgot about us, and then you ignored us. And now is our time.’”

Plant said it remains to be seen whether the Hwlitsum have a case, but he noted that even without reserves and official recognition, aboriginal people who assert their “Indian-ness” under the Constitution, may have federally protected rights.

“The constitutional question is if you decide to assert your “Indian-ness” and you are truly aboriginal by ancestry, then if you have a group, is that then a First Nation?” he said. “Irrespective of whether or not a government has formally recognized you, if your argument is that you were wrongly excluded, then you go off to court and say governments can’t eliminate our aboriginal rights and title. We exist, we’re here, we’re still here, this is our territory, and you need to make some kind of a declaration that recognizes that.”

The case also has set a precedent for municipalities, according to Reece Harding, a lawyer with Young Anderson who represents both Delta and the Islands Trust.

In the past, First Nations have included provincial and federal lands in their claims, but stopped at municipal governments. The Hwlitsum in this case specifically seek a claim that including those lands.

“This is a novel and serious claim, the first I have seen,” said Harding. “I have never seen a First Nation seeking municipal land before, and it will be of concern to other municipalities.”

Plant also noted that the notice of civil claim doesn’t expressly exclude privately owned land, something that has normally been the case in other land claims cases.

jefflee "at" vancouversun.com

Follow me: @SunCivicLee

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Blue Divider Line

Conserve water
Castanet.net - by Trevor Rockliffe | Story: 124013 - Oct 1, 2014

Dark water - residents are asked to conserve water.

The Westbank First Nation (WFN) has released a statement asking residents to conserve water until power can be restored.

"Long-term power outages such as this can be concerning for water distribution and treatment processes, as pump houses often have only short-term back-up generators in place," says Dawn McGrath, WFN Superintendent of Public Works.

"While it is not a concern yet, we need to reduce consumption, in order to not overload the system, until power is restored."

BC Hydro is now estimating power may be restored at approximately 1 a.m.

More about BC Hydro here

Largest Ever Regional Park Purchase Announced

It’s an ecological gem; a unique, geological landmark that towers over Kelowna’s eastern boundary. Now it is protected.

Black Mountain/Sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park has officially been announced at a ceremony with Regional District Chair Robert Hobson, Westbank First Nation Chief Robert Louie and the Honourable Steve Thomson, BC Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

The creation of the 510-hectare (1,260-acres) Regional Park comes with $7-million in funding from the Regional Parks Legacy and Park Land Reserve funds, a $2.3-million donation through the Federal Government Ecological Gift Program and a co-tenure/management agreement between the Regional District and Westbank First Nation for a License of Occupation on 121.5-hectares (300-acres) of Crown Land, with a sponsorship value of $1,024,350.

This 31st Regional Park includes the purchase of 259-hectares (640-acres) of private land; the donation of 129.5-hectares (320-acres) of land through the Ecological Gifts Program and the joint Crown Land tenure with Westbank First Nation. The new park will be co-managed by the Regional District and Westbank First Nation.

Regional Board Chair Robert Hobson says, “The unique geological formation of Black Mountain is often the first thing many people see when they arrive by road or by air. It offers spectacular views but more importantly, preserves and protects a critically valuable dry grassland ecosystem, that’s under-represented and increasingly threatened and disappearing from the Okanagan valley landscape. This area supports a rich and diverse wildlife population, of which many species are endangered or threatened.”

He adds, “I’m extremely pleased that the Westbank First Nation is partnering with the Regional District in the tenure and management of important Crown Land parcels that are a key part of the new regional park. As well, on behalf of the Regional Board I thank the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for approving our tenure agreement and seeing the value in the creation of Black Mountain/ Sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park.”

The inclusion of the syilx/Okanagan word Sntsk‘il’ntən (sinch-KEEL-en-tin) in the Black Mountain park name is fitting as it translates to “the place where arrowheads/flint rock is found”. The property has additional First Nations cultural significance as there is quite an array of plants and medicines found in the area.

“Anytime an area within our traditional territory is protected, we are pleased,” says WFN Chief Robert Louie. “Lythics found in the area demonstrate it was a significant gathering place for our ancestors to make the necessary survival tools and, we can assume, it was a vantage point from which the valley below could be scoped out for wildlife and intruders."

“The provision of the Crown land grant to this new regional park is just one example of how Crown land can be used for the greater good of the community. It is also wonderful that the regional district and Westbank First Nation are able to partner on managing this park for the benefit of residents and tourists,” says Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

The new park will remain closed to the public while a management plan is created and trails and signage are developed that will ensure education and awareness and the protection of the sensitive grassland environment.

In 2008, the Regional Board unanimously agreed to establish a special tax requisition over five years to build the Parks Legacy Fund in order to leverage the purchase and protection of important properties for the Regional Park system. Since that time, along with funding from the Park Land Reserve Fund, $22.1-million in property purchases have been made. Along with land donations and Crown tenure agreements valued at $11.3-million, almost 900 additional hectares (2,200-acres) of land has been added to the Regional Park system worth over $33.4-million. Parkland Acquisitions

2014 is the 40th anniversary of the Central Okanagan Regional Park system. Since it began in the fall of 1974 and with the purchase of the almost four-hectare Kaloya Regional Park in Lake Country in early 1975, it’s grown to protect more than 1,900-hectares of land in 31 Regional Parks.

(September 23, 2014)

Source: RDCO Whats New

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.pdf icon September 11, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 6.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report

*Note* This is only a snippet, please click link above for entire content

Policing Liaison Services

031 - 911 Emergency Number
Effective November 18, 2014, the initial 911 call answering service will transition from the Kelowna based RCMP Operational Communications Centre to E-Comm, a service provider located in Vancouver.
After extensive review and negotiations, a five year agreement was signed by the Regional Districts that continues with public safety as the top priority and projects a 25% reduction in overall program costs.
Staff continues to collect information from Telus, information on the abandoned calls issues and assists with numerous requests from E-Comm for the transition of the service.

040 - Crime Stoppers
Although Tips are higher when compared to June 30, 2013, $398,000 in illegal drugs seized and $27,000 in property value recovered to June 30, 2014, is significantly lower than the over $3.8-million seized and $71,260 recovered to June 30, 2013. The Program continues to receive tips on illegal grow operations but due to a recent court challenge no prosecutions are able to be done; therefore, searches are not being conducted and seizures are not being made. Crime Stoppers continues to provide Police with information on problem houses where there is suspected trafficking of drugs such as heroin, crack cocaine and crystal meth. These residences are also suspected of trafficking in stolen property.
Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers has partnered with the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Task Force (IMPACT) and developed a program to help prevent the theft and the recovery of stolen ATV's, Snowmobile, Boats and Trailers. The recovery of two snow machines and a stolen trailer can be attributed to this new program. The Board has also endorsed participation with the FortisBC - Theft of Energy Crime Prevention Initiative. The Program will receive anonymous tips regarding the theft of electricity and natural gas, forwarding the information to the utility for investigation.
The Program has been successful in identification of two prolific graffiti taggers who have since been arrested and are facing charges. One tagger was responsible for approximately $250,000 in damage to various properties and businesses in the District.
A number of tips were received on the Ausman and Aimee Parkes homicides that were forwarded to the investigators. The Crime Stoppers Program is a part of the Kelowna Detachment Crime Reduction Team and works closely with the Crime Analyst by sharing information on prolific offenders and identifying problem crime areas.

To June 30, 2014, Crime Stoppers Website received 40,425 visits and You Tube views numbered 3,386. Twitter and Facebook are used to promote the program and a new initiative is underway to feature unsolved crimes, cold cases, and missing persons files in a Crime Watch Magazine to be distributed throughout the Central Okanagan. Sponsorship is being solicited for this initiative. The 2014 Fund Raising Golf Tournament is scheduled to be held September 14th at the Harvest Golf Club.

041 - Victims Services
New clients were 85% adult with the remaining fifteen percent consisting of seniors, youth and children.
Of the new clients, 73% were female. To June 30,2014, new clients numbered 371 compared to 313 new clients to June 30, 2013. 76% of Victim Services Clients are from RCMP referrals.
Victim Services funding application with the Ministry of Justice was approved for the period April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 in the amount of $80,190. Per the Ministry of Justice, Victim Services contract, protocols between the police based victim services and the community based victim services program were signed in January 2014. The protocols to formalize the referral process between the police based and community based victim services programs were delayed due to staff from the community based program not engaging in the process by the July 2013 due date. The 2014 - 2015 contract year protocols to be reviewed. Department of Justice Canada grant of $7,200 was approved for the Program to host an awareness event, "Hidden Facets of Victim Issues and Worker Care" during national Victims of Crime Week, April 6 - 12, 2014. A second grant in the amount of $1,508.07 was received to assist with staffing costs.

042 - Regional Crime Prevention
An assessment of resource requirements was completed for the provision of Crime Prevention Services to residents on Westbank First Nation lands. Draft letter agreement and proposed RDCO - WFN Local Services Agreement amendment was secured at June 30, 2014.
Successful Business Coupon Campaign for the Respect Program with coupons turned over to School Resource office and Westbank First Nation to assist with youth related programs. Research is complete for the Business Watch Program; implementation has been delayed due to the availability of RCMP resources. A Theft From Auto Education and Awareness campaign was held in March in Peachland, West Kelowna and Lake Country. Theft From Auto Crime Prevention campaign was held in June. Block Watch Crime Prevention Program has 21 participating neighbourhoods at June 30, 2014, including a recently added neighbourhood in Lake Country. The Bike Theft Prevention Program was launched during the second quarter.

039 - Crime Prevention Sub-Program Alarm Control
The term position for the alarm program has ended and full time Alarm Coordinator has returned from a Leave of Absence. Due to the numerous staff changes since 2011 the Program is focusing on overall consistency in program operations and service delivery.
To June 30, 2014, the number of False Alarms was 1,213. To June 30, 2013, False Alarms numbered 1,123. The number of new permits issued at June 30, 2014 was 529, a 24% increase over the 400 issued at June 30, 2013. The Program ran an advertising campaign in June 2014 to promote the false alarm program to residents. The Alarm Coordinator worked with the RCMP and the security company for a property acknowledged as having an excessive number of false alarms to develop an
action plan to reduce the number of false alarms.

====================

Corporate Services:

002 - Administration
Strategic Community Investment Funds of $79,415 were received. SCIF funds continue to minimize tax rate increases by supporting and offsetting general corporate services administrative costs, and administrative projects which have included Strategic Planning, ortho photo updates, service reviews, service agreement reviews, energy efficiencies, building improvements and working toward meeting economic and climate change targets.
Fringe Area Planning, Ellison Transit Service and Parks Service reviews are underway. Air Quality review will also be completed as part of the implementation of a regular service review 5 year cycle.
RESOC continues to review the Regional Rescue Service. Final approval of Amendments to Westbank First Nation (WFN) Agreements for inclusion in Crime Prevention, Economic Development Commission and Air Quality Program services are under consideration by WFN. RCMP Community Policing Office leased space in Administrative offices main floor effective spring 2014. Reporting to the Director of Community Services, the Fleet and Facilities Manager position was filled effective
September 8, 2014.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 11, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (11.1 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 11, 2014 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report - .wma (3.44 MB)

.pdf icon September 11, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

6. Quarterly Program Measures Report, Year-To-Date June 30, 2014

Staff report dated September 4,2014 outlined the program measures to June 30, 2014. A summary of the highlights was presented. It was noted that staff continue to review the quarterly information presented to ensure the Committee is well
informed on the regional services and issues arising.

CONDON/EDGSON
THAT the Quarterly Program Measures Report, year-to-date June 30, 2014 be received for information.

CARRIED Unanimously

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 11, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (11.1 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 11, 2014 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report - .wma (3.44 MB)

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Landmark Supreme Court ruling grants land title to B.C. First Nation
BY PETER O'NEIL, VANCOUVER SUN JUNE 26, 2014

Landmark Supreme Court ruling grants land title to B.C. First Nation

Chief Roger William talks after a court decision was reached for a Tsilhqot’in Nation land claim case in Victoria on November 21, 2007. The Supreme Court of Canada, in the most important aboriginal rights case in the nation’s history, ruled that the Tsilhqot’in First Nation has title – or owns – 1,750 square kilometres of land in south central B.C.
Photograph by: TROY FLEECE , Regina Leader-Post

OTTAWA — A room full of surprised veteran B.C. Aboriginal leaders erupted in “cheers and tears” after the Supreme Court of Canada, in the most important aboriginal rights case in the country’s history, ruled that the Tsilhqot’in First Nation has title 1,750 square kilometres of land in south central B.C.

The landmark ruling will provide a clear and less onerous roadmap for all unresolved land claims in B.C. and throughout Canada involving First Nations seeking to negotiate modern treaties – or to fight for their land rights in court.

The unanimous ruling from all eight judges was written by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.

“Aboriginal title confers the right to use and control the land and to reap the benefits flowing from it,” she found.

However, the ruling also made clear that economic development on title land can continue – either with consent, or if there is no consent when the Crown has proven that the project has a “compelling and substantial” public interest.

The decision was immediately described as by aboriginal leaders as the mark of an epic shift in Canada-First Nations relations, and a signal to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and provincial premiers to take treaty negotiations more seriously.

“This will be a game-changer in terms of the landscape in British Columbia and throughout the rest of the country where there is unextingushed Aboriginal title,” said Jody Wilson-Raybould, regional B.C. chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

“This has to be the wake-up call for governments, both the provincial and federal governments, and we look to Mr. Harper to actually see this as the fundamental impetus to sit down at the table and truly and meaningfully move towards reconciliation.”

“The decision is an opportunity to truly settle, once and for all, the land question in BC -- where our Nations are not simply making claims to the Crown under an outdated federal policy but where there must be true reconciliation based on recognition and where the outcome of negotiations is certain.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, suggested that all economic projects on traditional Aboriginal territories will now require “consent” as well as consultation before they proceed.

That, in turn, will mean problems for the two major proposals to build oil sands pipelines through B.C. on territory claimed by various First Nations.

“We are in an entirely different ballgame,” Phillip, told a Vancouver news conference.

Pipeline proponents Enbridge and Kinder Morgan are “probably back on their heels,” said Phillip, who told journalists that the room full of First Nation leaders exploded into “cheers and tears” after learning of the judgement.

The federal government reacted cautiously, saying it is reviewing the ruling before considering its “next steps” in its relationship with Aboriginal peoples.

“The decision by the Supreme Court of Canada on the appeal filed in the Roger William case involves complex and significant legal issues concerning the nature of Aboriginal title in the Province of British Columbia,” Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt said in a statement.

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.pdf icon June 12, 2014 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Nothing is mentioned in the Highlights about WFN's museum grand opening because it was a Director Item

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 12, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (11.3 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 12, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item - WFN museum - .wma (680 KB)

.pdf icon June 12, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Nothing is mentioned in the Agenda about WFN's museum grand opening because it was a Director Item

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 12, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (11.3 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 12, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item - WFN museum - .wma (680 KB)

.pdf icon June 12, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

8. DIRECTOR ITEMS

The grand opening for the WFN Heritage Museum is Saturday at 11 :00 a.m.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 12, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (11.3 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 12, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item - WFN museum - .wma (680 KB)

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.pdf icon February 13, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

9. DIRECTOR ITEMS

a) Director Hanson noted the recent LGA Conference was very informative and highlighted areas of advancement between local government and First Nations. First Nations are reaching out to communities for local governments to be part of their community.

b) Remuneration Survey
Chair Given reminded Board members to submit their remuneration survey by the deadline.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio February 13, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (4.10 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files February 13, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Items - Given saying there is a deadline to fill out the directors remuneration survey - .wma (1.21 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files February 13, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Items - Hansen attending the Local Government Association meeting - .wma (1.21 MB)

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Resort violates First Nation rights: lawyer
Global BC - By Vivian Luk - The Canadian Press - Jan 6, 2014

VANCOUVER – A pristine region in southeastern British Columbia known to the local First Nation as Qat’muk, the place where “grizzly bear spirits” gather, would be profoundly transformed if a $450-million year-round ski resort is built.

For that reason, a lawyer for the Ktunaxa Nation told a B.C. Supreme Court judge on Monday that the Jumbo Glacier Resort cannot be allowed to go ahead.

The B.C. government approved the project in March 2012, but the First Nation is asking the court to review the legislation, as it keeps in mind the band’s spiritual connection to the land.

Lawyer Peter Grant, who is representing the Ktunaxa Nation, said the province’s decision violates the religious rights of a band that has already suffered years of cultural persecution through native residential schools.

“This is a place where we have to say no. This dispossession of the culture of the Ktunaxa has to stop here,” he said.

The project’s approval also undermines Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 2008 public apology for the treatment of residential school children, and his promise of reconciliation, Grant said.

“This question of a knowledge of shared history, of respect for each other, and desire to move forward together with an understanding of different cultures — unfortunately the legacy of the decision before you shows the very opposite,” he told Justice John Savage.

Grant called the judicial review a challenging one that could be instrumental in determining the direction Canada will go in its relationship with aboriginal peoples.

Jumbo Glacier Resort has been more than two decades in the making and is expected to be North America’s first year-round ski resort. It will be built in B.C.’s Purcell Mountains, about 55 kilometres outside of Invermere and 250 kilometres west of Calgary.

The resort’s base area is expected to cover 110 hectares, where everything from hotels and condominiums to restaurants, gift shops and ski schools will be built.

It is also expected to draw between 550,000 and 800,000 visitors a year.

Construction work on the resort began last summer, but it was halted briefly when protesters tried to block machinery from going up Farnham Glacier.

Grant said the resort proposal is “diametrically opposed” to the significance of Qat’muk, an area where the Ktunaxa Nation has lived since “time immemorial.”

Qat’muk is integral to the band’s culture because it is home to grizzly bears and “grizzly bear spirits” that carry prayers to the Ktunaxa’s creator, he said.

Grant said the province was well aware of the significance of Qat’muk to the Ktunaxa Nation, yet it barely mentioned it when it approved the project in March 2012.

The Ktunaxa Nation launched the court challenge in late 2012, saying the province did not take into account the band’s spiritual connection to the land.

Kathryn Teneese, chair of the Ktunaxa Nation Council, said she hopes the judicial review will force the province to reconsider its decision.

“We’ve heard several expressions over the years of reconciliation — and I’m saying it sort of in quotes — but when it comes down to practice, we really haven’t seen too much of that on the ground,” she said in an interview outside the courthouse.

“So we’re hopeful that if we get a decision that goes in our favour, it will be an expression … to say that the words spoken by people as high as the prime minister of this country is indeed real.”

Jumbo Glacier’s website says it hopes to achieve a “near ‘no-net-impact” on the grizzly bear population with “mitigation measures.”

It also says the Ktunaxa did not “reveal any special ‘sacred’ significance to the project area for 20 years, despite lengthy and repeated consultations.”

Teneese admitted the band initially focused more on the resort’s potential environmental impacts during consultations with the province, but members did mention that the area was considered a spiritual place.

“We didn’t go into detail because we were involved in the other exercises that we hoped would address the concerns,” she said.

Teneese says the Ktunaxa Nation has discussed a “Plan B” in case the court rules in the province’s favour, but she did not disclose details.

Ten days have been set aside for the court challenge. Lawyers representing the province are expected to make their arguments next week.

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WFN awarded new forest licence
Castanet.net - by Ragnar Haagen - Story: 104056 - Dec 4, 2013

The provincial government has awarded the Westbank First Nation a replaceable forest licence in the West Kettle River area near Big White.

It will allow the band to harvest up to 32,400 cubic metres of timber per year for 15 years.

"Westbank First Nation is a rising force in Canada's economy, creating jobs and a strong and vibrant workforce. This new forest licence creates new opportunities that will have positive spinoffs for WFN and for the region as a whole,” says Chief Robert Louie.

"We have worked closely with the Province to make this licence a reality, and are proud as we take another step to ensure the self-sufficiency and sustainability of WFN.”

The licence covers approximately 9,000 hectares of crown land within the Derickson Trapline, an area that is historically significant to the band, and is home to traditional Marten trap lines.

"We have been working closely with Westbank First Nation for the past two years to make this replaceable forest licence a reality,” says Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests and Natural Resource Operations.

“It is a great opportunity - not just for the First Nation - but for the workers and forestry-related businesses across the region. This new licence is part of the government's ongoing plan to support prosperous rural forest economies by improving access to forest tenures."

The provincial government says there are currently 395 forestry-related licences held by First Nations under different agreements

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Township raises concerns on federal policy
By Roger Knox - Vernon Morning Star - October 27, 2013

Proposed amendments to a federal policy on additions to aboriginal reserves and reserve creation has Delta’s mayor and the Township of Spallumcheen concerned.

Delta Mayor Lois E. Jackson sent a letter to all provincial mayors and councils expressing worries about the proposed amendments. The changes, she claims, will have some very significant implications for local governments.

“In particular, the changes will allow First Nations to add lands to their reserves that are outside of their traditional territory,” wrote Jackson.

“The ramifications for a community like ours, which has three reserves nearby, is that we won’t have any veto power,” said township Coun. Todd York.

In her letter, Jackson pointed out seven main points for concern, ranging from the reasons for additions, location of reserve lands, land use, no veto power and net tax loss.

She also stated the proposed amendments are unclear as to how the new policy will impact provincial Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), as it is not mentioned in the policy document.

“There has to be another side to the story,” said Coun. Andrew Casson. “I can see them wanting to expand into Crown lands, but to move into municipal boundary lands, it’s a completely different structure.

“The complexity of this, to me, is mind boggling. There has to be more to it.”

Coun. Todd York motioned to write a strongly worded letter to MLAs, Premier Christy Clark, B.C. MPs, B.C. senate members and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

“I’d like to see us voice our concerns that we weren’t involved in the process of decision making,” said York. “Before this is rammed down everybody’s throat, I’d like them to invite us and communities like ours to speak on behalf of this.”

York’s motion was unanimously supported.

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Health and safety concerns
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Kelowna - Story: 98849 - Sep 20, 2013

John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation to discuss the District’s interest in ensuring that local governments be consulted early and meaningfully when land transfers with First Nations are being considered that may impact municipalities.

“We filled Minister Rustad in on the issues in the Central Okanagan and asked that when negotiations are underway with First Nations, that we be consulted if there is potential impacts to our infrastructure, servicing or tax base,” says Mayor Findlater. “He indicated that many discussions of this nature are behind closed doors and when to involve municipalities is a dilemma his ministry is facing. We indicated to him that involving the impacted municipality early in the discussions really does improve the situation later on.”

The District submitted three resolutions for consideration at the convention by delegates. West Kelowna’s Federal Funding-Police Officer Recruitment Fund resolution received a gold star from UBCM, offered to well-written resolutions. The resolution is:


FEDERAL FUNDING-POLICE OFFICER RECRUITMENT FUND

District of West Kelowna

WHEREAS the Federal Government has announced that it will not renew its financial commitment to the Police Officer Recruitment Fund program which expires in March 2013;

AND WHEREAS this loss of funding will impact policing costs and programs as the fund aided in adding more police officers across Canada and the Province utilized funds to create special units to combat major crimes and drugs supporting and enhancing local police forces:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Union of BC Municipalities lobby the federal Minister of Public Safety and the provincial Minister of Justice and Attorney General to continue funding the Police Officer Recruitment Fund.

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Land swap priority for Louie
Kelowna Daily Courier - Tuesday, 03 September 2013 - by Don Plant

Chief Robert Louie has been elected to a 10th term at the helm of the Westbank First Nation.

Chief Robert Louie's main priority in his new term is to negotiate a land swap with the province that could expand the Westbank reserve by more than 900 acres.
The re-elected chief, who won Friday's band election, is eying a parcel of Crown land in exchange for the widening of Highway 97 and the highway's Westside Road interchange.
The land is farther from West Kelowna than the 700 acres near Rose Valley that the Westbank First Nation first sought in talks with the provincial government in 2012.
The deal later collapsed when Forests Minister Steve Thomson backed away from handing over title amid public uproar over its location.
"We need to settle the land replacement," Louie said Tuesday. "We have located alternate land . . . We suspect it will be considerably bigger than the initial Rose Valley lands."
The band must make final arrangements with the province before the land swap goes to public consultation. Until then, Louie is reluctant to specify where the parcel is or its size. But he suggested it could be larger than 900 acres.
Under the band's constitution, its land base can't shrink. By providing eight acres of reserve property for the highway widening and interchange, the province must compensate with land elsewhere.
"We've already lost thousands and thousands of acres. The way our constitution and our self government is structured, we cannot lose land. So as a result, the province must provide lands acceptable to us to add to our reserve land base," Louie said.
West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater criticized the original deal as one-sided. The district was concerned the band might develop the 700 acres, which could jeopardize water quality in the Rose Valley reservoir, which serves thousands of West Kelowna residents.
Louie, 61, received 59 per cent of the votes in his bid for re-election against challenger Roxanne Lindley. He begins his 10th term as chief since 1986, with an eight-year gap in the 1990s.
Another of his goals is to start construction of a $125-million private hospital, a destination surgical centre that could attract wealthy Canadians, foreigners and aboriginal people. Louie expects ground to be broken next month and the hospital to open by early 2016.
The band's main accomplishment during Louie's last three-year term was completion of the $41-million interchange project, he said. He's also proud of two shopping centres built on reserve land on the Westside.
Twelve band members were competing for four councillor positions in Friday's election. Christopher Derickson, Mike De Guevara and Mic Werstuik were re-elected. Brian Eli, a former chief and veteran councillor during previous terms, was elected.
"I've got a very strong council, a very experienced council," Louie said. "I'm pleased with the experience they bring to bear, so there's no long-term training."
The band has 742 members and 559 eligible voters. Of the 335 ballots cast Friday, 332 ballots counted.
The chief and council were sworn in Tuesday.

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Louie returned as WFN chief
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Kelowna - Story: 97598 - Sep 3, 2013

Robert Louie has been re-elected chief of Westbank First Nation

Robert Louie has been returned for another term as chief of Westbank First Nation.

Louie received 59 per cent of the votes cast during elections last Friday.

He defeated challenger Roxanne Lindley 192-132.

Also returning to WFN council were Christopher Derrickson (232 votes), Mike De Guevara (150) and Mic Werstuik (155).

Brian Eli is the only new face on council. He received 124 votes and will replace Lorrie Hogaboam who chose not to run after serving one term on council.

Eli had served on council for 10 terms, the last from 2007 to 2010.

A total of 14 names were on the ballot.

According to election officials about 60 per cent of the eligible 559 band members turned out to vote.

The new council will be sworn into office Tuesday.

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.pdf icon August 26, 2013 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

There was nothing mentioned in the Highlights about Director Item - WFN Director Werstuik may be leaving the Board because this was a director item.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio August 26, 2013 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (11.9 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files August 26, 2013 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item - WFN Director Werstuik may be leaving the Board - .wma (545 KB)

.pdf icon August 26, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Nothing was mentioned in the Agenda about Director Item - WFN Director Werstuik may be leaving the Board because this was a director item.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio August 26, 2013 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (11.9 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files August 26, 2013 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Item - WFN Director Werstuik may be leaving the Board - .wma (545 KB)

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.pdf icon March 14, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 6.1 Quarterly Measures Report

.pdf icon Item 6.1A Quarterly Measures Presentation

Corporate Services;
002 - Administration (Pages 151): Surplus of $172,054 due to higher than anticipated administrative recovery and under expenditures for contract services and building repairs & mtce. Transfer to capital $58,000 lower than anticipated. KLO Rd Administration Building Roof and HVAC project: Completed and under budget. UBCM approved Gas Tax funding of $786,716 has been received by RDCO. Final project costs: Roof upgrade $837,902 and HVAC upgrade $741,225. Bylaw No. 1321 was adopted by the Board on December 10, 2012, as an amendment to the Freedom of Information Bylaw No. 611. Transit Cost sharing issues have been resolved. Westbank First Nation and District of Peachland have assumed their own agreements with BC Transit. Local Transit Service Area Establishment Bylaw No. 376 and Handi Dart Bylaw No. 419 were repealed. A Regional Active Transportation Master Plan has been established through meetings with member municipalities and WFN. Staff and RDCO negotiator met with CUPE for Collective Agreement negotiations. Collective Agreement ratified in July. Interim
Chief Administrative Officer one year term ends April 15, 2013. CAO Brian Reardon will be filling the position on a permanent basis effective April 15, 2013. An Executive Assistant Corporate Services position has been posted and interviews are currently underway in 2013. Due to departmental restructuring a new position, Manager of Corporate Services was created. Corporate Services Coordinator Mary Jane Drouin, was promoted January 1, 2013, to fill the position that will oversee Bylaw Enforcement and Dog Control.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 14, 2013 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (40.5 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 14, 2013 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6 1 Quarterly Measures Report and Item 6.1A Quarterly Measures Presentation - .wma (18.1 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 14, 2013 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Environmental and Development Services being combined & Fire Services and Building Inspection manager positions being combined - .wma (484 KB)

.pdf icon March 14, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

6. Finance & Administrative Services

6.1 Quarterly Measures Report - ending December 31, 2012
Staff report dated March 8, 2013 provided an executive summary of the quarterly measures report year to date December 31, 2012. Staff provided an overview of the highlights in the Quarterly report.
The following questions were raised:
- Why is the school site acquisition work under regional planning and not electoral area? This is incorrect, it is only funded under electoral area planning.
- Concern was expressed regarding the amount of surpluses. Staff noted that the new operating reserve bylaw is being implemented as a way to manage surpluses in the future.
- The question was raised when information will be brought forward on the landfill closure plan. Staff will report to the Board when information is available.
- A discussion ensued regarding the amount of work required to prepare the Quarterly Report and whether this was necessary to come forward to the Committee. It was suggested that although the information and measuring outcomes are extremely valuable, that a less detailed pilot report will be completed for the second and third quarters and that the year-end report will
continue to include a full reporting. Staff will continue the full reporting quarterly for internal purposes.
- How much were the legal expenses for dog control in 2012. Staff will provide the information to the Committee.
The Committee recessed at 10:30 a.m. and reconvened 10:40 a.m.

BASRAN/FIELDING
THAT the Quarterly Measures Report ending December 31,2012 be received for information.

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 14, 2013 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (40.5 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 14, 2013 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6 1 Quarterly Measures Report and Item 6.1A Quarterly Measures Presentation - .wma (18.1 MB)

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.pdf icon January 17, 2013 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Nothing was mentioned in the Highlights about Item 5.1 Handi Dart Transit Local Service Area Establishment Amendment Bylaw No. 1313

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio January 17, 2013 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (11.7 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files January 17, 2013 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Handi Dart Transit Local Service Area Establishment Amendment Bylaw No. 1313 - .wma (358 KB)

.pdf icon January 17, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 5.1 Handi Dart Transit Local Service Area Establishment Amendment Bylaw No. 1313

*Note* This is only a snippet, please click link above for entire content

Being a bylaw to repeal the Regional District of Central Okanagan Handi-Dart Transit Local Service Area Establishment Bylaw No. 419,1990
WHEREAS the Regional District of Central Okanagan has adopted the "Regional District of Central Okanagan Handi-Dart Transit Local Service Area Establishment Bylaw No. 419, 1990 and Regional District of Central Okanagan Handi-Dart Transit Local Service Area Establishment Amendment Bylaw No. 965, 2002 and 1263, 2009";
AND WHEREAS the Westbank First Nation (as part of Central Okanagan West Electoral Area) has expressed a desire to assume responsibility for Handi-Dart Transit Services within their boundaries and the Regional Board has agreed to this;
AND WHEREAS Director of Central Okanagan West Electoral Area has consented in writing to the adoption of this Bylaw;
NOW THEREFORE the Regional District of Central Okanagan, in open meeting assembled, enacts as follows:
1. That Regional District of Central Okanagan Handi-Dart Transit Local Service Area Establishment Bylaw No. 419, 1990 be repealed;
2. This Bylaw may be cited as Regional District of Central Okanagan Handi-Dart Transit Local Service Area Establishment Amendment Bylaw No. 1313, 2012.

===============

RE: Withdrawal of WFN from local Services Agreement Schedules D and E (Handi-Dart Transit and Westside Transit).
This will confirm to the Regional District of Central Okanagan that effective April 1r 2012, Westbank First Nation has contracted directly with BC Transit for the provision of transit services previously provided through the Local Services Agreement with the Regional District under Schedules D and E.

Effective April 1, 2012, Westbank First Nation will remit payment for this service directly to BC Transit. WFN hereby request that the Regional District adjust their budget allocation· under the service agreement to accommodate this change;
specifically charge WFN for January, February and March transit service in the allocation, and remove transit charges from April 1 onward.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio January 17, 2013 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (11.7 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files January 17, 2013 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Handi Dart Transit Local Service Area Establishment Amendment Bylaw No. 1313 - .wma (358 KB)

.pdf icon January 17, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

5. UNFINISHED BUSINESS

5.1 RDCO Handi-Dart Transit Local Service Area Establishment Amendment Bylaw No. 1313,2012, Adoption (All Directors Unweighted Vote)

BASRAN/GIVEN
THAT RDCO Handi-Dart Transit Local Service Area Establishment Amendment Bylaw No. 1313, 2012 be adopted this 17th day of January 2013.

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio January 17, 2013 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (11.7 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files January 17, 2013 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Handi Dart Transit Local Service Area Establishment Amendment Bylaw No. 1313 - .wma (358 KB)

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.pdf icon November 8, 2012 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Westbank First Nation Handi-Dart Request

The Regional Board supports a request from the Westbank First Nation to establish its own Handi-dart service Operating Agreement with BC Transit. The Board has agreed to repeal RDCO Handi-Dart Transit Local Service Area Establishment Bylaw No. 419 which saw the Regional District provide the service on WFN reserves. The Board has now given three readings to an Amendment Bylaw No. 1313 to reflect the service change. Once approved by the Province, the amendment bylaw will be considered by the Regional Board for adoption.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio November 8, 2012 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (32.4 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files November 8, 2012 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 6.1 Repeal RDCO Handi -Dart Transit Local Service Establishment Bylaw No . 419 - .wma (504 KB)

.pdf icon November 8, 2012 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

6. CORPORATE SERVICES

6.1 Repeal RDCO Handi-Dart Transit Local Service Area Establishment Bylaw No. 419, 1st, 2nd and 3rd readings (All Directors - Unweighted Vote)

Staff report dated October 30,2012 outlined the need to repeal the current RDCO Handi-Dart Transit Bylaw which currently only applies to the lands within Westbank First Nation (WFN). WFN has requested that they want to establish their own Annual Operating Agreement with BC Transit, and BC Transit has agreed to this.

FINDLATER/GIVEN
WHEREAS Westbank First Nation by way of their letter of July 30, 2012 confirmed that they wish to establish their own Operating Agreements with BC Transit effective April 1, 2012;

THEREFORE, the Regional Board agrees to the request of Westbank First Nation and directs staff to forward a bylaw to repeal the RDCO Handi-Dart Transit Local Service Area Establishment Bylaw No. 419.

CARRIED

===========

FINDLATER/GIVEN
THAT Regional District of Central Okanagan Handi-Dart Transit Local Service Area Establishment Amendment Bylaw No. 1313 be given first, second and third readings this 8th day of November 2012

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio November 8, 2012 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (32.4 MB)

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The Okanagan Correctional Center (OCC)
Castanet.net - by Contributed - Story: 89970 - Apr 5, 2013

Recent news releases regarding the Okanagan Correctional Center (OCC) leaves a lot of questions unanswered:

Is the $5K awarded the members of the Osoyoos Indian Band an annual retainer, or a one-time signing bonus?

Why is the provincial Liberal government venturing into yet another land-use agreement without discussing the details with the citizens of the province.

The BC Liberal government arbitrarily proceeded with the construction of the Kelowna Westside Interchange before securing ownership of the land, and this issue has still not been settled.

Why is the BC government moving ahead with yet another partnership with the Indians at a time when BC Indian bands have claims for lands that exceeds the provinces total land mass.

Why is the government in such a hurry to set yet another irreversible precedent?

Why are we building permanent structures on leased land, and who will own this structure?

Why does the government not want the security of ownership and access to the land the structure is built on?

Why a 40-year lease (with a 20-year option) for what could and should be considered a permanent concrete structure that conceivably could provide services far beyond those years?

What are the monthly and annual costs of the lease, compensation and/or penalties for unscheduled interruptions, not to mention exit costs at the end of the lease?

As citizens we own this province. It is our right to be appraised of all those details.

Andy Thomsen

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WFN approves property tax hike
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 89839 - Apr 3, 2013

Property owners on Westbank First Nation lands will pay approximately 1 per cent more in property taxes in 2013 after council recently approved its 2013 budget.

The budget was given final approval March 27.

"The budget is a long, involved consultation process. Many meetings have been held with stakeholders since September of last year and all input was considered to create the final budget," says WFN Chief, Robert Louie.

"We look forward to this budget being the underpinning of yet another successful financial year for WFN."

Under the budget, property taxation revenues are projected at $12.05M which will net $10.6M after the WFN Homeowners Grant of $1.45M is rebated to the residential taxpayers.

The average residential property taxpayer on WFN lands will pay approximately 1 per cent more in 2013.

The average homeowner will be taxed $1,635 before the Homeowner Grant and $1,264 after the grant is applied.

According to figures released by the band there are 3,910 residences on WFN lands, up from 3,840 a year ago and 3,505 in 2011.

Commercial developments on WFN lands also grew at an overall rate of 13.5 per cent last year allowing residential taxpayers to pay a continually lower share of total property taxes.

The residential burden will be 53 per cent of total taxation in 2013, down from 55 per cent the year before.

"Total property assessments on WFN lands are now over $12.3B, an increase of $47M from the previous year says Ernest Jack, WFN Surveyor of Taxes.

"Total assessments on WFN lands now exceeds those of Peachland and Revelstoke."

The net property tax budget of $10.6M pays for the following:
• Protective Services (Fire, Law Enforcement) - $1.4M
• Local Services (Transit, Regional Parks, Community Centres, Library) - $1.6M
• Recreation and Youth Services - $500,000
• Financial Reserves (Capital Projects and Contingency) - $2.4M
• Community Development (Engineering, Planning, Economic Development) - $1.3M
• General Government and Administrative Services - $3.4M

In addition to the operating budget, WFN has an ambitious capital program planned for the upcoming year which will add up to $6.5M in additional sidewalks, infrastructure and improved water quality and roads.

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WFN fights for carbon tax rebates
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 88955 - Mar 18, 2013

Recently, the Westbank First Nation (WFN) Advisory Council sent out a form letter to each homeowner on WFN Lands calling on the provincial government to immediately repay the homeowners a carbon tax rebate for 2011 and 2012 as well as any future years in which the carbon tax rebate is provided.

To date, the Advisory Council has received over 2,500 signatures on its petition which was tabled at the March, 4 legislature proceedings.

“It is unfair for WFN taxpayers to be excluded from this rebate as we pay the carbon tax the same as other residents of BC,” says Terry Turcan, WFN Advisory Council Chair.

Property owners represented by the WFN Advisory Council residing on WFN lands are within the region designated for the carbon tax rebate, however were not provided rebates in 2011 and 2012 and will also not receive a rebate in 2013 or any subsequent years should the program criteria not be changed.

“Westbank First Nation strongly supports the efforts of the Advisory Council and the residents on WFN Lands in their efforts to receive this rebate,” says Chief Robert Louie.

The WFN Advisory Council consists of five members elected by residents on WFN Lands and has been in place since April 1, 2005. The Advisory Council represents property taxpayers residing on WFN Lands.

The petition sent to the province reads:

Whereas:

The Province of British Columbia ("the Province") levies a carbon tax which is payable on all forms of fuel purchased throughout the province. However, after several years it became apparent that the impact and effectiveness of the carbon tax was not the same throughout the province. To remedy this unfairness, the provincial government determined that a portion of the revenue generated should be returned to people living in northern and rural areas.

Property owners represented by the Advisory Council, residing on Westbank First Nation (WFN) lands have not been provided with the rebates in 2011 and 2012 even though they have paid and continue to pay the carbon tax on all purchases of energy and related services on which the provincial government has ordered that it be levied. Furthermore, all businesses and services operated on WFN lands collect the carbon tax on behalf of the Province and remit it to the Province.

Therefore:

I (we) declare that I (we) reside within the region designated to receive the carbon tax rebate.

I (we) declare that I (we) have not received the annual $200 carbon tax rebate for 2011 and 2012.

I (we) declare that I (we) have paid property taxes to WFN as prescribed by the Province and Canada as agreed by these governments.

and furthermore:

As it is not the practice of the provincial government to overlook nor discriminate against its citizens (we) request that the Minister of Finance immediately pay homeowners represented by the Advisory Council residing on WFN lands the carbon tax rebate for 2011 and 2012 and any future years in which the carbon tax rebate is provided.

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V02597
Victoria Registry
Court of Appeal for British Columbia
REGIONAL DISTRICT OF CENTRAL OKANAGAN
v.
WESTBANK INDIAN BAND
REASONS FOR JUDGMENT OF THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE WILLIAMS:

RDCO is so very incompetent not just in the Dog Control function. RDCO made an agreement with the WFN band to provide services to WFN and the charges for service did not cover the true cost of the service. WFN won their case and RDCO had to pay even more for the court case.  We have to pay for RDCO incompetence. 

http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/ca/96/00/c96-0091.txt

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Kelowna Accord Implementation Act
S.C. 2008, c. 23
Assented to 2008-06-18
An Act to implement the Kelowna Accord
Preamble

WHEREAS Parliament recognizes that narrowing and ultimately eliminating the troubling gaps between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians that exist in the areas of education, skills development, health care, housing, access to clean water and employment, as provided for in the Kelowna Accord, are essential to improving the socio-economic conditions of aboriginal people in Canada;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada entered into the Kelowna Accord with the governments of Canada’s provinces and territories and with Canada’s aboriginal leadership, and it is incumbent upon the Government of Canada to honour its word and its commitments;

NOW, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

(click link above for entire content)

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Native spending falls millions short of pact
Jeff Gray - Globe and Mail - Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Ottawa—

The Conservative federal budget allocates a fraction of the money that would have gone to aboriginal people under the $5.1-billion deal signed by the previous Liberal government in Kelowna, B.C., last year, angering some native groups.

Under that deal, signed by the provinces and territories and representatives of five aboriginal organizations, native people would have seen about $800-million in spending on health care, housing and other initiatives this year.

But yesterday's budget promises just $150-million in 2006-2007, and $300-million in 2007-2008, to go toward improving the quality of water and housing on reserves, as well as education "and socio-economic conditions for aboriginal women, children and families."

The budget also includes a $300-million fund, meant to be spent over three years, for provinces to improve housing for aboriginals living off reserve, and another $300-million fund for affordable housing in the North, which will also largely benefit native people, who make up about half of the population.

Both funds, using legislation passed after the NDP agreed to prop up the previous minority Liberal government last year, depend on the 2005-06 surplus topping $2-billion. While in opposition, the Tories criticized the deal to spend the surplus on NDP priorities such as affordable housing and transit.

Clément Chartier, president of the Métis National Council, said the budget made the year-and-a-half of work that went into last summer's aboriginal summit pointless.

"I expected nothing, and there was nothing," Mr. Chartier said yesterday. "What was the point of doing a lot of work if governments aren't prepared to live up to the commitments of a previous government?"

Phil Fontaine, the Assembly of First Nations national chief, said he is disappointed that native needs have been "sacrificed" in the first Conservative budget.

"It will not be a better place for first nations because we're going to be left struggling," he said.

Mr. Fontaine said he is reluctant to join another process now that Kelowna has not produced results.

Patrick Brazeau, national chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, which represents native people who live off reserve, praised the announcement of money for off-reserve housing.

"I wouldn't say the Kelowna deal is dead. We see this as a down payment on Kelowna," he said.

Jose Kusugak, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, which represents Canada's Inuit, said despite the lack of money and focus in the budget, this document had more for his people than any he had seen in recent years, citing the housing money for the North.

"This is the most we've gotten at the federal budget."

According to the budget documents, the government spends $9.1-billion each year on programs for aboriginal people.

The additional $450-million over two years will be spent on improving "education outcomes," improving access to clean drinking water and building and renovating housing on reserves.

The budget also sets aside $2.2-billion for compensation for native people who suffered abuses in the residential-school system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelowna_Accord

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Pine Acres locks out 77 workers
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 76948 - Jun 22, 2012

The president of the BC Government Employees Union (BCGEU) wonders how Pine Acres Home, an intermediate care home for seniors, can operate in a safe manner.

This after the employer, Westbank First Nation, issued lockout notice to 77 workers Friday morning.

The notice takes effect Monday morning.

"The Westbank First Nation needs to give serious consideration to the potential for risk and disease because of the lockout," says BCGEU President, Darryl Walker.

"They need to put the care of these seniors first and foremost. And, they need to withdraw this lockout notice and return to the bargaining table."

The lockout notice affects laundry, housekeeping, kitchen, dietary and reception staff.

All LPN's and care aides will remain on the job.

Walker says WFN is seeking 'sweeping' concessions from the workers, including a $4 an hour wage cut, large reductions in vacation time, sick time, cuts to benefits and the elimination of a pension for new hires.

"These experienced and dedicated workers provide quality care. Instead of a fair and reasonable offer from the employer, they are being told to accept massive cuts to their salaries and benefits," adds Walker.

"This also creates enormous instability for the seniors and elders and their families. Stability and continuity of care is crucial to seniors' well-being."

Walker says the union believes there are many efficiencies at Pine Acres that have not been explored.

He says these efficiencies would provide better care for those who call Pine Acres home and those would be more than sufficient to fund a fair and reasonable settlement with the workers.

Walker says many of the affected workers have been at Pine Acres for decades.

WFN has not returned our call for comment.

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'Xtreme' night at the movies
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 76867 - Jun 21, 2012

Xtreme. It's a word that usually goes with something more than spectacular, more than awe inspiring -- and, many times, it fails to meet expectations.

Landmark Cinema CFL, Damien Cheng and WFN Chief Robert Louie officially open the new Landmark 8 Cinema.

The Xtreme theatre, part of the Landmark 8 Cinema complex in West Kelowna, met and exceeded expectations.

With a screen that's three storeys high and six storeys wide, speakers in the walls, ceilings and behind the screen, and leather, high back seating, the Xtreme theatre (theatre 8) is the jewel of the Landmark chain.

It's the first theatre of its kind in Canada and, according to Landmark Cinemas Chief Operating Officer, Neil Campbell, one of only five in the world.

It's the sound system that makes the experience.

It features 11.1 digital 3D sound which equates to 11 channels of sound.

Campbell says it wasn't until he experienced the system at a new theatre in California back in January that the company decided to build a similar system on the westside.

"It meant re-working the plans for this place, it meant really upping our game. Tonight we're just thrilled because it's come through in spades," says Campbell.

"It's 11 distinct channels of sound. We're taking the sound in this room from roughly 23,000 watts of power to 76,000 watts of power. It's not that it is going to be loud and screaming, but you are going to hear everything you hear in the real world. If the sound is coming at you from the left, whether it's coming from shoulder height or high up in a tree you'll have those distinct differences."

The theatre has been compared to the experience of an IMAX Theatre. Campbell says that's a fair assessment.

"The size of the screen and all the accoutrements of this auditorium I think would easily fit under their branding."

Why unveil this theatre experience in the Okanagan?

"This is our fourth theatre in the marketplace and we are expanding our company very aggressively," says Campbell.

"We are looking for things that will separate us from the competition, something that will make us distinctly Landmark. We think what we have done here will show we can show movies as good as, if not better than anybody else."

The new movie experience does come with a price.

3D movies will cost $15.99 in the Xtreme auditorium. Regular movies are $3 cheaper.

While the Xtreme Theatre is the crowning jewel of the new complex, Campbell says the other seven theatres in the complex are also impressive in their own right.

"It's all stadium, it's all high-back seating, it's all silver screen and we have five of the eight auditoriums that can do 3D. Nobody is going to have a better presentation anywhere in Canada than this theatre will have."

The new theatre opens Friday and, at the same time, Campbell says the Capital Theatre will turn into an 'Encore' theatre with discounted prices.

The Capital Theatre will begin running movies that have already completed their first run.

Instead of leaving town they will be shown at the Capital Theatre at discounted prices.

Matinees will cost $3 and evening shows $4. Movies will show all day Thursday for $2.

The new Capital Encore will be open from noon until around midnight when the last movie finishes.

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New mall welcomes first customers
Castanet.net - by Jennifer Zielinski - Story: 75317 - May 17, 2012

The doors are officially open and the ribbon is officially cut for the first retail tenant of the new Okanagan Lake Shopping centre.

Shoppers Drug Mart opened its doors at the new centre, on Thursday May 17, with a series of presentations and a prayer by Elder Wilfred-Grouse-Barnes.

Chief Robert Louie says the Westbank First Nation has been patiently waiting for the centre to open.

"We have various opening dates (for tenants in the shopping centre) from June 1 to the middle June, but the shopping centre won't be complete until we finish the underpass at Nancey Way, and that will likely be this fall with the final tenants coming in the spring of 2013."

Louie believes the centre will service at least 175,000 people, targeting residents who live within a 35 minute drive of the area.

"We believe there will be customers coming from Kelowna, the town of Westbank, Westside Road, Peachland, Lakeview Heights and potentially as far away as Summerland. There are a lot of cars here, there are 50 to 70,000 cars here a day and with travellers that come to the Okanagan this will be a tremendous service for those customers."

Holly Sumner used to be the owner of the Shoppers Drug Mart on Bernard but when the opportunity arose to open a store at the new centre she jumped on it.

Sumner believes the location of the new Shoppers Drug Mart will be the attraction for most people, as it will service areas such as Casa Loma, Rose Valley and even take some customers away from the downtown location.

"I think the idea was when they were creating this location, to capitalize on the people crossing the bridge. We are such a different focus at this store compared to the store downtown. They don't have same cosmetic lines and we have way more food than any of the other stores."

Sammy J's also had a soft opening on Thursday. This is the first restaurant outside of the Lower Mainland for the Vancouver based food chain that serves "down to earth, homemade food".

On June 1, Landmark Cinemas will open their doors with Dairy Queen and Subway following suit. A second phase of the shopping centre will begin construction in 2013, although Louie is tight lipped about the possible businesses who may move in for the opening date of 2014.

Phase one is 126,000 square feet, while phase two will be smaller at approximately 115,000 square feet.

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WFN plans private hospital
Castanet.net - by The Canadian Press - Story: 73832 - Apr 12, 2012

The Westbank First Nation appears ready to build a state-of-the-art private hospital on its land overlooking Okanagan Lake.

Band Chief Robert Louie said in an interview with CHBC television that self-government gives his band the right to build the hospital without provincial interference.

"Well, we can't use the word private hospital, but it has the makings of a facility that people will pay for," he said.

Construction on the $120-million proposed facility could begin by later this year. The building would be three or four stories and have 100 beds.

Louie said it would offer full hospital services, except for emergency, psychiatric and obstetrical treatments. Patients would pay the entire cost of their stay. It would operate outside Canada's medicare system.

"We're not going to rely on the public system, we're not going to rely on taxpayers to foot the bill," Louie said, noting his community is trying to tap into the lucrative medical tourism business.

"Why not keep the money here? That's part of our focus."

Louie said band members voted 92 per cent in favour of the project, Louie says construction will begin this year or 2013 at the latest.

"There's no absolute guarantee, but things do look good, they look promising."

A statement from the BC Health Ministry declined to comment on the venture.

"It would be premature for the ministry to comment on the merits or legality of such a clinic, in the absence of any detail around the proposal itself and how it might fit with existing federal legislation, including the provisions of the self-government agreement between the Westbank First Nations and the federal government and the Canada Health Act."

Private hospitals are not unique in British Columbia.

Vancouver hosts the Cambie Surgery Centre, which bills itself as "the most modern and only free standing private hospital of its type in Canada."

Among the specialties it bills are arthroscopic surgery, gynecology, vascular surgery and neurosurgery.

Elsewhere in Vancouver, the private False Creek Healthcare Centre has grown to include services such as family practice, urgent care and pathology.

Charging patients for services funded through medicare is illegal under the Canada Health Act, and the federal government has withheld portions of health transfer payments from B.C. and other provinces when they've allowed the practice.

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WFN moves forward on health facility
By Wade Paterson - Kelowna Capital News - April 05, 2012

Ground could be broken on a privately funded—first of its kind in Canada—medical facility on WFN land as early as this year.

Westbank First Nation Chief Robert Louie said that the project is "certainly moving in the right direction."

"It's not called a private hospital; although, I'd like to call it a private hospital. It's actually a medical wellness centre that focuses on specialized care," said WFN Chief Robert Louie.

Louie said that the facility will focus on all medical services except emergency, obstetrics and psychiatric care.

"Everything else we think can be accommodated with what we're doing."

Louie said that there is a significant need for the medical wellness centre, locally, regionally and nationally.

"We're looking at addressing things like the First Nation health gap—closing the gap that exists.

"Our intent is to focus locally and throughout the province, (but) I think there's an opportunity to address the health gap with other provinces as well."

Money that will be spent at a facility like this is currently being spent abroad, said Louie.

"We know there are billions of dollars that go out of Canada every year.

"People are frustrated with the long waits (for) getting things like hip replacements or heart surgeries. They're going to Mayo Clinic, they're going to John Hopkins, they're going to, in some cases, India or Thailand.

"We think that instead of having all these dollars go out of the country—keep it here."

According to Louie, development of this type of facility will have several advantages.

"If what we're proposing goes ahead, not only will it put the Westside on the map nationally, I think the whole Okanagan valley is going to see a benefit."

He added that "hundreds of jobs" will become available and the local economy will be stimulated.

Louie said the cost of the WFN medical wellness centre is "in excess of $100 million."

When asked whether or not only the wealthy will be able to afford the new facility's services, Louie said, "I'm not going to kid you, it's directed (at) those who can afford the services.

"When we talk about First Nations, there are many that can't afford the service. . .that's definitely an issue that we're trying to address.

"But it has to be able to cover its own costs without having to rely on a federal or provincial injection of money."

WFN is optimistic that construction on the facility will begin at some point in 2012.

Louie was hesitant to get into too many details on the project; however, he noted that WFN has identified an appropriate site for the facility that is "close to the WFN offices."

"I hope to have some announcements as the months go by."

wpaterson "at" kelownacapnews.com

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.pdf icon March 26, 2012 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Regional Rescue Program Service Review

The Regional Board has received a detailed report into the review it requested of the Regional Rescue Program. The program provides a cost-effective delivery of disaster and emergency response services and provides a consistent and high level of training and response for all fire departments across the Central Okanagan. The report makes 12 recommendations to further enhance the region-wide program. The Board will establish a five member political stakeholder committee including one representative from each municipality and the Regional District, to further review the recommendations; review each Regional Rescue Service and explore a governance and budget reporting process for the rescue program and determine potential administrative savings.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 26, 2012 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (405 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 26, 2012 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 6.1 Regional Rescue Service Review - .wma (13.2 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 26, 2012 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 KPMG Regional Rescue Service Review - .wma (22.4 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 26, 2012 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about WFN Fire Dept being contracted out - .wma (950 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 26, 2012 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about WFN supporting West Kelowna Hockeyville - .wma (566 KB)

.pdf icon March 26, 2012 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes are not usually posted to RDCO's website until after they are adopted at the following Board Meeting, which the next regular board meeting will be held on March 30th, 2012.  If the minutes are not posted here yet you can check to see if they are posted on RDCO's website.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 26, 2012 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (405 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 26, 2012 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 6.1 Regional Rescue Service Review - .wma (13.2 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 26, 2012 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 KPMG Regional Rescue Service Review - .wma (22.4 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 26, 2012 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about WFN Fire Dept being contracted out - .wma (950 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 26, 2012 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about WFN supporting West Kelowna Hockeyville - .wma (566 KB)

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School board worried about gravel trucks
AM 1150 - 1/13/2012

Central Okanagan school trustees are worried about the potential for disaster when it comes to gravel trucks and children sharing the same road.

School District 23 has asked the provincial government to intervene in the operation of the Westcan Gravel Pit on Westside Road.

The board, in a letter to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, is asking that gravel trucks be banned from Westside Road in the mornings and afternoons when school kids and school buses are using Westside Road.

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Infrastructure and Housing

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada works with First Nation governments to support affordable and adequate housing, clean drinking water and community infrastructure like roads and schools – essential to healthy, safe and prosperous communities.

•In the 2008-09 budget, AANDC announced the First Nations Infrastructure Fund. This initiative provides First Nation communities with greater authority for distributing funding for infrastructure priorities such as bridges, energy systems and solid waste management.

First Nation Infrastructure Fund

The objective of the First Nations Infrastructure Fund is to improve the environment and the quality of life of First Nation communities by improving and increasing the development of public infrastructure. This fund also supports roads and bridges, energy systems, planning and skills development projects and solid waste management. In September of each year, until 2011, First Nations are invited to submit applications for funding that includes project proposals to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada offices.

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RDCO bylaws

Tsinstikeptum Indian Reserves Local Services Agreement Authorization Bylaw No. 533, 1992

Tsinstikeptum Indian Reserves Sewer Services Agreement Authorization Bylaw No. 532, 1992

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About WFN and Chief Robert Louie (.pdf)
by Urban Systems Ltd.

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Close up: Come on over
By Wade Paterson - Kelowna Capital News - March 23, 2012

In recent years, the name Westbank First Nation has been synonymous with economic development.

Big box stores, strip malls, restaurants and banks have given locals fewer reasons to travel east.

The band's most recent development, Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre, will only reinforce this trend.

And thanks to more services, a unique restaurant, a state-of-the-art movie theatre and a convenient location, WFN may be doing more than just keeping locals west of the bridge.

They may be attracting their Kelowna neighbours.

***

Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre will be up and running by June 1.

On that date, Okanagan residents will be introduced to a brand new eight screen movie theatre, Sammy J's restaurant and several other, more commonly known, businesses.

It's about a five minute drive from Kelowna's downtown to WFN's new Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre. It takes about twice as long to get to the Orchard Plaza Cineplex and nearly three times longer to arrive at McCurdy Road's Grand 10 Cinemas.

It would take nearly no time at all to visit the Paramount Theatre in the heart of Kelowna's downtown; however, with only three screens, one might have a tough time finding a movie that appeals.

WFN Chief Robert Louie wasn't hesitant in confirming that he is aware of the Kelowna customer base.

When asked whether or not there is a hope to draw the downtown Kelowna crowd, given the location of Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre, Louie said, "Yes, that's where a lot of the marketing has gone.

"Many of the tenants going in there have expanded their market—they think it's an added feature."

Dolores Ellingboe is the chair of WFN's Economic Development Commission. She said that luring Kelowna residents wasn't the pure motivation in the development of Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre.

"I don't think we're trying to pull customers away, I think we're just providing different opportunities based on residents' (locations) and giving them options," said Ellingboe.

"I think it's always nice to have centralized options available to all residents . . . (It) certainly is more accessible to a wider variety of residents both in Kelowna and on the Westside.

"I don't want it to seem like we're trying to draw away from the downtown core, it's just that (Kelowna's downtown is) limited in some ways to provide some of these services. If we have the land base to accommodate those services, I think it's a nice harmony."

Churchill International Property Corporation is WFN's partner on the Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre Project.

Brad Wise, president of the corporation, said that, when considering the project, WFN's experience was as equally as appealing as the location of the site itself.

"It was really the depth of experience and foresight that WFN has on doing what they can with the lands they have," said Wise.

"(And) there's no question that the location of the Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre is an exceptional site: Its access to the highway, its staggering views of Okanagan Lake and really the desire of high quality national tenants to want to be on that location."

Wise said that "pulling" Kelowna residents to the new development didn't accurately describe their motivation; rather, he suggested that Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre will offer certain services that Kelowna's downtown may not be able to house.

He added that it is the shopping centre's goal to provide Kelowna residents with "a viable alternative and a reason to come across the bridge."

Wise said that WFN has been an "exceptional partner" and wouldn't hesitate to do business with the band in the future.

And his corporation isn't the only one with that opinion.

Bill Kennedy, vice president of Anthem Properties Group Ltd., has worked with the WFN on several projects including the Snyatan Shopping Centre, Governor's Landing and Governor's Market.

Snyatan Shopping Centre celebrated its grand opening in November, 2011. Kennedy said that since then, business has been good.

"We're very pleased with the tenants and we're very pleased with the level of activity by customers," said Kennedy.

Kennedy said that there is always a hope that Kelowna shoppers will come over to West Kelowna; however, he is equally concerned with keeping West Kelowna shoppers in their own community.

"I think that there's a large customer base on the Westside who, for a long (time), have probably felt that they had to go to Kelowna to do major shopping. I think a big element now is that those people don't have to go to Kelowna; they have a world of opportunities to shop in Westbank."

Kennedy added that some customers from Penticton and Peachland have found that they can find what they need without having to add extra kilometres onto their trip by going all the way to Kelowna.

He said that Anthem Properties' relationship with WFN has been nothing but positive.

"I'm not saying this lightly, WFN has been a great partner.

"I think that sometimes people are confused or they see great mystery in these band lands, but we have a very good relationship with those guys. They've done a lot right on their lands; I think that's been a benefit for that area."

The Westbank and District Chamber of Commerce agrees that WFN's economic development has benefited the community.

"Development, if it's done in a good way, is a good thing," said Michael Humberstone, treasurer of the Westbank and District Chamber of Commerce.

"I think anything that can keep people in the community is going to help that community."

Humberstone said he anticipates that Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre will bring in customers from both Kelowna and West Kelowna.

"It's important for every business everywhere to bring customers from all over, which increases their business profits."

Humberstone said that he has noticed the increasing development affecting even his own family's shopping trends.

"Even with my wife, she does more shopping here than she did six years ago—it's continuing to improve."

Even the Downtown Kelowna Association is supportive of the development.

Peggy Athans is the executive director of the DKA. When asked whether the DKA was concerned that Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre might take away potential downtown customers, Athans said, "Not, not at all."

"Westbank is growing and that's a positive for them. We're a completely different sense of place. We're not a strip mall; we're not an Orchard Park. You can't recreate downtown Kelowna anywhere else but here—it's a completely different product."

Whether WFN's development is a barrier that keeps Westside residents on their side of the lake or a lure that tempts Kelowna consumers to travel west for their shopping and entertainment needs, might not matter.

But the fact that the band is determined to continue producing appealing developments to further strengthen its economy, does.

Ellingboe said that Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre "further opens the doors of opportunity for those wishing to do business on WFN lands."

"WFN is always looking at creating a diverse economy; I think once we (open) this particular centre, it might kick off other opportunities.

"Our objectives, short and long term, are to create an economy that can withstand the test of time."

wpaterson "at" kelownacapnews.com

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.pdf icon March 8, 2012 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

For some reason there are no minutes for this meeting posted on RDCO's website, you can check RDCO's website to see if they are published there yet.

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.pdf icon February 9, 2012 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 10.1 Committee Structure.pdf

Agenda No: 10.1
Mtg Date: Feb 9, 2012

Governance and Services Report

TO: Governance and Services Committee
FROM: Harold Reay, CAO
DATE: January 31,2012
SUBJECT: Committee Structure

The Chair requested that staff review the Regional District's committee structure in order to determine the feasibility of reducing the number of committees to streamline processes and decision making, in order to reduce costs. After reviewing all committees, it is recommended that the Governance and Services Committee recommend to the Regional Board that the committees, for the year 2012, be amended as follows:

· HR/ Committee - no longer required, it's terms of reference are now included in the HR/Audit Committee (Chair and Mayors)

· Sustainability Committee - this committee is comprised of the Mayors and Chair and meets infrequently. This committee can be eliminated and should issues arise they could be referred to the HR/Audit Committee.

· Treaty Advisory Committee - can be eliminated for now and reinstated should treaty negotiations commence.

· Watercraft Committee - This committee is community members at large, the mayors, and one other Board member. This committee has met once in the last four years and can be eliminated.

· Agricultural Advisory Commission - Comprised of 6 members from the public and one Ministry appointment. Planning staff have found their input to be of value when dealing with ALR applications and OCP development and amendments and wish to see this committee continue. Costs are minimal as one staff attends and meetings are infrequent.

· Environmental Advisory Commission - Currently 16 members appointed from the public. Staff has found this committee to provide valuable advice, at minimal cost (staff time for agenda prep and minutes), however the number of members could
be reduced to 9. Our recommendation would be to reduce to 9 by not reappointing any member until we reach less than 9.

· Central Okanagan West Advisory Planning Commission - The Director from this Electoral Area wishes to keep this committee as he relies upon it when reviewing applications.

· Central Okanagan East Advisory Planning Commission - The Director from this Electoral Area does not wish to continue with this committee and should be eliminated.

· Dog Advisory Commission - That this committee be held in abeyance at this time and no appointments be made. This committee will be reviewed by the consultant as part of the Dog Control service review, and recommendations will be forthcoming as to it's structure, if needed.

· Westside Wastewater Treatment Plant Stakeholder Committee - this is comprised of one representative each of West Kelowna, Peachland, Westbank First Nation, and the Regional District. This committee meets only when needed and has been effective and it is recommended that the committee continue.

In addition to the above noted Regional District Committees the Regional District appoints a Director to external committees. Our recommendation relating to these appointments are:

· Airport Advisory Committee - continue to appoint the Chair as a representative.

· Highway 97 Coalition - Not sure if this committee is continuing so no appointment is necessary at this time.

· Okanagan Airshed Coalition - no longer exists, staff will continue to liaison with the South Okanagan Similkameen RD on joint initiatives, the North Okanagan RD no longer participates in air quality programs.

· Okanagan Marine Advisory Council - this committee no longer meets.

There will be some savings in reducing the number of committees and meetings. Directors are reimbursed $65 for half day meetings and $130 for full day meetings, plus staff time required for preparation and attendance. It is difficult to quantify the dollar amount, as it is dependent on the number of meetings held.

This is submitted for the Committee's consideration.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio February 9, 2012 audio of entire Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (577 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files February 9, 2012 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 10.1 Committee Structure - .wma (2.77 MB)

.pdf icon February 9, 2012 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

10. Corporate Services

10.1 RDCO Committee Structure Review
In follow-up to direction from the Regional Board, staff was asked to review the Regional District's committee structure in order to determine the feasibility of reducing committees no longer required and to potentially streamline the process of decision making.

Staff report dated January 31, 2012 outlined recommendations for the following committees:

HR Committee;
Sustainability Committee;
Treaty Advisory Committee;
Watercraft Committee;
Agricultural Advisory Commission;
Environmental Advisory Commission;
Central Okanagan West Advisory Planning Commission;
Central Okanagan East Advisory Planning Commission;
Dog Advisory Committee;
Westside Wastewater Treatment Plant Stakeholder Committee;
Airport Advisory Committee;
Highway 97 Coalition;
Okanagan Airshed Coalition and the
Okanagan Marine Advisory Council

Staff noted that due to concerns raised by the Environmental Advisory Commission which is largely made up of technical people, that by cutting back on its size the effectiveness of the Commission would be jeopardized. It was agreed that further
input should be received from the Commission prior to making a final decision on the number of members required.

ZIMMERMANN/EDGSON
THAT the Governance and Services Committee recommends to the Regional Board that the committee structure for the year 2012 be amended as follows:
• HR Committee - no longer required
• Sustainability Committee - no longer required
• Treaty Advisory Committee appointments - eliminate until treaty negotiations commence
• Watercraft Committee - no longer required
• Agricultural Advisory Commission - continue as previous
• Environmental Advisory Commission - staff to consult with the EAC on membership and report back to the Board.
• Central Okanagan West Advisory Planning Commission - continue as previous
• Central Okanagan East Advisory Planning Commission - discontinue
• Dog Advisory Committee - hold in abeyance until Dog Control Service Review is completed.
• Westside Wastewater Treatment Plant Stakeholder Committee - continue.
• Airport Advisory Committee - appoint Chair Hobson
• Highway 97 Coalition - no appointment
• Okanagan Airshed Coalition - no appointment
• Okanagan Marine Advisory Council - no appointment

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio February 9, 2012 audio of entire Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (577 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files February 9, 2012 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 10.1 Committee Structure - .wma (2.77 MB)

Blue Divider Line

Land swap a dead deal - for now
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 70538 - Feb 3, 2012

A large parcel of land within the Rose Valley Reservoir will not be part of a land swap between the province and Westbank First Nation.

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Blair Lekstrom

The province announced Friday morning it is again in discussions with WFN for other suitable land in exchange for reserve lands which were required for construction of the Westside Road Interchange.

A firestorm of controversy erupted in July of last year when it became known the province was contemplating an exchange of 698 acres of Crown Land around the reservoir for the eight acres of WFN land required for the highway construction work.

In 2009, WFN identified four parcels of Crown land in the Rose Valley/Bear Creek area as potential replacement lands.

The District of West Kelowna and Regional District of Central Okanagan were both upset the province would consider including lands around the reservoir as part of a land deal.

Residents of the municipality were also upset.

"I have heard first-hand the concerns of West Kelowna residents and I am encouraged by the willingness of Westbank First Nation to explore other options," says Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Blair Lekstrom.

"We remain committed to working closely with Chief Louie and the Westbank First Nation representatives on alternative replacement lands."

Since the lands were identified, the ministry has been engaging individuals and organizations impacted by the proposed transfer.

Information from those discussions were incorporated into a detailed submission made to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations which had a final say on the transfer.

Chief Robert Louie says WFN will consider lands other than those initially identified.

While the lands around Rose Valley are not off the table, Louie says meetings are already underway to explore other options.

"Some of these properties are much more complex than we understood to be the case," says Louie.

"We look forward to working with the province over the next few months to explore exchange land options that satisfy the terms of our agreement with BC and are acceptable to our community."

West Kelowna Mayor, Doug Findlater says he's cautiously pleased with the news.

Findlater says he believes there were lessons learned through the process, especially on the provincial side.

He hopes West Kelowna will be consulted as negotiations go forward if the lands proposed have an impact on the municipality.

The province says new discussions will centre around options with fewer public impacts that would be suitable for WFN

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West Kelowna: Lekstrom hears DWK council concerns about couplet, interchange
Kelowna Capital News - By Wade Paterson - December 14, 2011

Although Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Blair Lekstrom was in West Kelowna to primarily speak about the land swap issue on Tuesday, DWK council took advantage of the opportunity to ask him about other issues as well.

Mayor Doug Findlater told the minister that the town centre couplet is a major concern of the community.

"We basically have two highways, a block apart, running through a business district. It's very difficult to do business in that area with trucks screaming by. In fact, it's hard to stand on a sidewalk and have a conversation with someone else in that particular area," said Findlater.

"We know we have to bring that area back; it's something we've studied and looked at extensively."

Findlater said that the conceptual proposal is to make Dobbin Road a four-lane highway.

"We would like to have a real engagement with the ministry in terms of the potential relocation of the couplet. We think there's a corridor issue there as well. There may be ways to move traffic through that area more efficiently."

Lekstrom said that the ministry is committed to working with the DWK to help resolve the couplet issue.

"I think a lot of discussion has to go on to find out what's going to work for both the Province and yourselves, but there has been some discussion already on that issue: The recognition is there," said Lekstrom.

Coun. Bryden Winsby reiterated the importance of getting the ball rolling on the couplet plan.

"As you're probably aware, the couplet itself is fundamental to whatever the community decides to do with the revitalization of our downtown area," said Winsby.

Winsby requested that the transportation minister give the district a firm time frame so that council could begin to move towards something more concrete.

Lekstrom said that he can commit staff resources to help with the planning process; however, he is not willing to guarantee that the ministry will have the money to spend three or four years down the road.

Findlater also brought up problems that have been caused since the collapse of a retaining wall at the Westside Road interchange.

He said many of the complaints have been about the diversion of traffic. Findlater also suggested putting up a temporary set of traffic lights at Nancee Way.

"It was an unfortunate failure; there's not a lot I can add to that. It cost a tremendous amount of inconvenience," said Lekstrom.

"The light issue is one that they have looked at. At this point, it doesn't seem to be in the cards."

Coun. Carol Zanon told Lekstrom that she was concerned about the safety of the flaggers at Nancee Way.

"I sure as heck wouldn't want their job when I come by there and they have to step out into the traffic. I don't want to see one person hurt with this," said Zanon.

She mentioned that, if the repairs take longer than anticipated, traffic lights might be a safer option for not only flaggers, but the travelling public as well.

"If there is something that changes substantially, we would entertain that," said Lekstrom.

"We have the best trained flaggers in the country, if not North America. The do a very professional job. We've got to always encourage our drivers to take that extra care."

wpaterson "at" kelownacapnews.com

Blue Divider Line

Proposed land exchange "not a done deal"
AM 1150 - 12/15/2011 - Wendy McLeod - Kelowna

A controversial land exchange between the province and Westbank First Nation "is not a done deal."

That statement according to Minister of Transportation Blair Lekstrom who went before West Kelowna council earlier this week.

Mayor Doug Findlater says council is still being cautious.

"I think we're still very uncomfortable with the prospect of loss of jurisdiction over our watershed, potential loss of original parks. So nothing was said other than they'd try to protect those values. I'm not sure what that means, protecting those values."

There is a proposal in the works to transfer the land with a number of conditions but they have yet to be released to West Kelowna.

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Leckstrom: Land swap not a done deal
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 68476 - Dec 14, 2011

The provincial minister of Transportation and Infrastructure has laid to rest the fears of West Kelowna Council.

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Blair Leckstrom, addresses West Kelowna council.

Blair Leckstrom told council Tuesday afternoon the controversial land exchange between the province and Westbank First Nation "is not a done deal"

"At the end of the day we will, and I'm an optimist, find a way that this is going to work for Your Worship yourself and your council, for the people of West Kelowna, for the people of Westbank First Nation and the people of British Columbia," says Leckstrom.

"There has been no formal transfer of land take place at this point and, it may or may not happen. But, whatever deal is reached it has to work for all of us, that's clear."

Leckstrom accepted an invitation to speak to council after Mayor Doug Findlater and councillors vehemently objected to a land exchange in which 698 acres of Crown land would be transferred to WFN in exchange for eight acres of band land which is being used as part of infrastructure upgrades along Highway 97.

The municipality has been upset with the process, lack of consultation and the loss of several hundred acres of watershed lands around Rose Valley Regional Park.

While council didn't receive a lot of new information they did get assurances straight from the minister's mouth which seemed to satisfy mayor and council.

One of those assurances was that the municipality would get a chance to view the submission made by the minister to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO)

It's that ministry that will ultimately determine if the land exchange goes through.

Leckstrom, who made the submission a week to 10 days ago, says he will make it public once the Forest Ministry has done their due diligence. That could take another couple of weeks.

Councillor Duane Ophus questioned Leckstrom on that submission suggesting he was still in favour of the deal on the table.

"I don't want to pre-determine the output of this report to you but what I can tell you is we put a lot of things in that report to FLNRO that shared the concerns that we heard from yourselves and the people of West Kelowna."


That is something Mayor Doug Findlater was pleased to hear.

"The fact they have written a document with a number of conditions to FLNRO is good. We knew something was happening but that was clearer than what it was and the fact it will be shared with the District of West Kelowna is important as well," says Findlater who adds council now needs to make some decisions.

"I think we've all learned a lot from this as painful as this has been. I seen some options in terms of engaging with FLNRO that we may initiate," adds Findlater.

"We may want to initiate discussions with Westbank First Nation and, in fact it may be advisable at this time that we begin discussions with the federal government."

Part of Tuesday's discussions also centred around the process taken by the provincial government.

West Kelowna was upset it was not consulted at the beginning of the process.

"I won't change the process but I will ensure the process is properly followed and I believe is better understood," added Leckstrom.

"I think there has been a misunderstanding of the process and certainly from what you've (Councillor Duane Ophus) just said you think you should be the first contacted but that's just not the process as it exists today. I can't change yesterday but I can tell you from today forward we all want the same thing."

Leckstrom told council that, in the future, better communication may be needed to ensure the kinds of frustration that brought him before council does not happen.

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INFORMATION BULLETIN

2011TRAN0099-001507
Nov. 20, 2011
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

Westside Road Interchange temporarily closed

WEST KELOWNA – A section of concrete facing wall on the Westside Road Interchange gave way on Sunday morning, spilling dirt fill onto one of the southbound lanes of Highway 97 underneath the overpass.

The Westside Road Interchange is temporarily closed to traffic to allow for an engineering assessment, which is underway. Motorists can expect the closure to remain in place overnight.

While the assessment and clean-up takes place, traffic southbound on Highway 97 is diverted up the southbound ramp, north on Westside Road, on to Nancee Way and then back to Highway 97.

Detours are in effect for local traffic, using either the Campbell Road Interchange or Hudson Road and Boucherie Road. Motorists should follow the directions of traffic control personnel.

Construction of the Westside Road Interchange began in 2009 and the overpass opened to traffic on October 29, 2011. The works are being managed by the Westbank First Nation and delivered by Ledcor Construction.

The cause of the wall damage is unclear. Structural engineers from Urban Systems, the owner’s engineer, are thoroughly assessing the wall area and the structure overall to determine the appropriate course of action. The ministry’s engineering experts will also assess the structure.


The overall value of the Westside Road Interchange project is $41.8 million, with funding from the provincial and federal governments. British Columbia invested $30.8 million, with a federal contribution of $11 million from the Building Canada Fund.

Contact:
Jeff Knight
Government Communications and Engagement
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
250 480-9339

Connect with the Province of B.C. at www.gov.bc.ca/connect

This is a Freedom of Information Request we initiated through Information Access

Re: Request for Access to Records
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA)

I am writing further to your request received by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Your request is for:

Development Cost charges, payments, agreements, monies, etc. that were paid by Westbank First Nations (WFN) toward payment to design, improve and build the Westside Road Interchange project in West Kelowna BC or towards design, improvement or building other highways or other roads in West Kelowna due to commercial development on WFN lands during the period 2009 [October 11, 2011].

Thank you for your clarification regarding the records you requested delineating what WFN has paid or contributed towards the Westside Road Interchange Project.

As the hiring and payment of services for the delivery of the Westside Road Interchange is within the control of the WFN, the ministry is not party to payments for services rendered and does not have the requested records on file. A thorough search was conducted that confirmed WFN has not provided the ministry with third party payment records. As such, no such records were located in response to your request. Your file is now closed.

Does this mean that WFN has free reign of $41 million the Federal and Provincial Government paid for the Westside Road Overpass?

Blue Divider Line

UPDATE: Portion of overpass collapses
Castanet.net - by Contributed - Story: 67527 - Nov 20, 2011 / 2:23 pm

Update: The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has issued a press release regarding the collapse of a section of concrete facing wall on the Westside Road Interchange.

Jeff Knight, of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, says the Westside Road Interchange is temporarily closed to traffic to allow for an engineering assessment, which is underway.

"While the assessment and clean-up takes place, traffic southbound on Highway 97 is being diverted up the southbound ramp, then north on Westside Road, on to Nancee Way and then back to Highway 97. "

Detours are in effect for local traffic, using either the Campbell Road Interchange or Hudson Road and Boucherie Road.

Drivers can expect the closure to remain in place overnight.

Knight says the cause of the wall damage is unclear.

"Structural engineers from Urban Systems, the owner's engineer, are thoroughly assessing the wall area and the structure overall to determine the appropriate course of action.

The ministry's will also have engineering experts assessing the structure.

VIDEO - Murray Tekano -Ministry of Transportation - Okanagan-Shuswap District Manager

Video: Traffic troubles
Castanet.net - by Trevor Rockliffe - Story: 67532 - Nov 20, 2011 / 12:17 pm

Traffic was very backed up headed into West Kelowna along Highway 97, Sunday morning, after the north west retaining wall of the overpass collapsed.

Commuters were frustrated by the wait to get across the William R. Bennett Bridge.

Video: A close up of the collapse
Castanet.net - by Contributed - Story: 67530 - Nov 20, 2011 / 11:49 am

Castanet's Trevor Rockliffe gets up close to the partially collapsed retaining wall along the new West Kelowna overpass.

Overpass collapses
Castanet.net - by Contributed - Story: 67527 - Nov 20, 2011 / 9:44 am

A retaining wall along the north west side of the new West Kelowna overpass collapsed, Sunday morning.


Photo: Trevor Rockliffe

Shoring from the side of the structure has slid down onto the road, blocking a portion of highway 97.

Murray Tekano, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is on scene assessing the damage of the collapse.

"Traffic is moving in both directions so we're happy about that, but this part of the highway is closed and we do not know for how long."

Fire crews and RCMP are on scene to reroute traffic around the overpass. Traffic is heavily backed up along Highway 97 entering West Kelowna.

One commuter stuck in the backed up traffic says, "this sucks, that's good taxpayer money going to waste."

Others commuters complained about the wait to get across the bridge.

The cause of the collapse is unknown but Tekano says the structure doesn't appear be impacted, other than the one side of the retaining wall. No one was injured in this incident.

The history of the interchange
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 67528 - Nov 20, 2011 / 11:34 am

Sunday morning, a retaining wall along the new West Kelowna overpass collapsed.

With the road blocked, traffic became heavily backed up as it was redirected by RCMP around the overpass.

Murray Tekano, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure was on scene soon after the collapse. Tekano could not explain why the collapse happened, but claimed the structure did not appear to be impacted, other than the one side of the retaining wall.

Many commuters stuck in the backed up traffic were outraged that the new structure had collapsed less than month after opening.


Photo: Trevor Rockliffe

The collapsed retaining wall of the new overpass

Construction on the Westside Road Interchange project began in October, 2010.

While expected to be complete by September of this year, completion was delayed until it officially opened October 29.

At a cost of $41 million, it was tied into the new William R. Bennett Bridge which open in the summer of 2008.

The provincial government contributed $30 million while the federal government kicked in the other $11 million.

Westbank First Nation provided land for the project.

An agreement to construct the interchange at Westside Road was signed by the province and Westbank First Nation in September of 2009.

Under the agreement, WFN would deliver the new interchange, improvements to supporting road and a new underpass at Spland Road through qualified contractors.

Similar to the Campbell Road Interchange delivered through WFN, the project would be turned over to the province once complete.

A $12.9 million major works contract was awarded to Ledcor CMI Ltd.

Ledcor was responsible for construction of the new interchange at Westside Road and Highway 97, and will be responsible for an underpass at Nancee Way and a new roundabout at the junction of Sneena and Westside roads.

Waiting for land exchange documents
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 66907 - Nov 4, 2011

The land in question for the 'swap'

The District of West Kelowna has had a Freedom of Information Request put on hold -- yet again.

The municipality is trying to get information and documents relating to the controversial land exchange between the province and Westbank First Nation.

According to West Kelowna, that request has been delayed for a second time.

In a news release issued Friday, West Kelowna says it received word from the Ministry of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government November 1 stating its request for records pertaining to the land exchange would be delayed until March 12, 2012.

This is the second time an extension has been granted.

The original request through the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act was received by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on July 22, 2011.

They were informed in mid September the government would not be able to respond to the request within the 30 business days as defined by the Act because of the large volume of records involved.

The deadline was extended to October 31.

That timeline has again been extended to march of next year, again because of the large volume and the requirement to consult with a public body and/or third party.

West Kelowna Council has raised a number of concerns regarding the government's commitment to turn over a 698 parcel of Crown land at the north and east side of the Rose Valley Reservoir in exchange for eight acres of reserve lands being used for highway projects between the bridge and Westside Road.

Blue Divider Line

*Note* Below are only snippets, please click link for entire content

Court of Appeal for British Columbia

BETWEEN: REGIONAL DISTRICT OF CENTRAL OKANAGAN
PETITIONER
(RESPONDENT)

AND:

WESTBANK INDIAN BAND
RESPONDENT
(APPELLANT)

AND:

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF CANADA AS REPRESENTED

BY THE MINISTER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS AND NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT
RESPONDENT
(RESPONDENT)

Before: The Honourable Mr. Justice Hinds

The Honourable Mr. Justice Hollinrake

The Honourable Mr. Justice Williams

J. Woodward, P. Hutchings Counsel for the Appellant (Westbank)

G. McDannold Counsel for the Respondent (Central Okanagan)

Place and Date of Hearing: Vancouver, British Columbia February 2, 1996

Place and Date of Judgment: Vancouver, British Columbia February 26, 1996

3 The agreement was entered into on 25 September 1992 for a term of 15 years to 31 December 2006. Under the agreement, the District agreed to provide the Band with services listed in a schedule to the agreement (such as rescue, transit and water) during each year of the term. The payment for these services was to be $150,000 for the years 1991 and 1992 and then, according to article 2.2 of the agreement:

16 On behalf of the Band, Mr. Woodward argues that the notice provided to the Band invoking article 15.1 reveals that the District wants to renegotiate a higher price than that which was agreed to under the agreement. This is because the District wishes to have the Band pay for its services on the same basis as other residents of the District. There is nothing in the agreement which specifically provides that the price paid for services provided to the Band may be related to the price paid for the same services by off-reserve residents. Furthermore, the suggestion that that was contemplated by the parties has no evidentiary base, except for the opinion of Mr. Harrison, an official of the District.

40 I would, accordingly, allow the appeal, set aside the order of the chambers judge and award the Band its costs both here and below.

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.pdf icon October 24, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

This was a director item so nothing was mentioned in the Highlights or Agenda about this award that WFN is lobbying for.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 24, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (243 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 24, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Jim Edgson offering his service to WFN to help  WFN win an award - .wma (628 KB)

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.pdf icon October 13, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon  Item 9.1 Request from The District of West Kelowna.pdf

District of West Kelowna
Mr. Gary O'Rourke, P. Eng.,
District of West Kelowna
2760 Cameron Rd.,
Kelowna BC

September 26, 2011

The proposed WFN land swap including lands at the North end of Rose Valley Reservoir raises several concerns regarding the integrity of Rose Valley Reservoir as a water supply. This reservoir is a terminal reservoir, meaning that the distribution system commences at the reservoir and there is no further opportunity for natural disinfection after water leaves the reservoir. Terminal reservoirs are few in the Okanagan and need special care.

First, Rose Valley Reservoir has demonstrated a high sensitivity to nutrient enrichment over the past 30 years of study. It is vulnerable to cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms that can compromise water safety. The Lakeview system team worked constantly to limit nutrient inputs and to manage the reservoir to avoid these blooms. Their efforts include: managing watershed impacts, managing RVR water levels, weekly monitoring and treatment of impending algae blooms, aeration and siphoning bottom water.

Use of lands within the watershed for development would impact Rose Valley Reservoir by landscape nutrients, stormwater and possibly package sewage treatment plant discharges. Development along the reservoir shoreline would alter nutrient exchange with the sediments.

Second, land development for residential or commercial use greatly increases the risk of contaminants and pathogens entering the reservoir via stormwater, subsurface inflow and groundwater. In 2010 drogue trials, water at 5 m depths
travelled at an average of 132 m/hour and water at 10m depth travelled at an average of 150 m/hr with a strong wind. These average speeds tell us that water can travel from one end of the reservoir to the other within 16 hours. Any contaminants entering the reservoir can spread in that time.

Based on 30 years of study on Rose Valley Reservoir, it is my opinion that any development within the immediate watershed of Rose Valley Reservoir would compromise its use as a domestic water supply and would increase the likelihood of requiring complex water treatment capable of dealing with cyanobacteria blooms. The cost of treatment inevitably rises as source water quality declines.

The longer we can defer constructing a water treatment plant, the more the available technologies can develop.

Heather Larratt, R.P. Bio.

Larratt Aquatic consulting Ltd. 3025 Ensign Lane, West Kelowna, B.C. V4T 2Z4
Phone: 250.769.5444 Fax: 250.769.3233 Email: heather "at" larratt.net

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 13, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (235 MB)

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.pdf icon October 13, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

9. Corporate Services

9.1 Request from the District of West Kelowna - Letter from Larratt Aquatic Consulting Ltd.

The District of West Kelowna requested that the letter from Larratt Aquatic to the District of West Kelowna (DWK) regarding the proposed WFN land swap be circulated for the region's information. It was noted the letter was also presented to the OBWB and DWK Council.

FINDLATER/HODGE
THAT the Governance & Services Committee receive for information the letter to the District of West Kelowna from Larratt Aquatic regarding the proposed WFN land swap.

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 13, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (235 MB)

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.pdf icon September 19, 2011 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

This was a Director Item so nothing was mentioned in the Highlights or Agenda about a) Mission Creek Greenway - Reference to WFN lands on mapping

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 19, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (82.1 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 19, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about a) Mission Creek Greenway - Reference to WFN lands on mapping - .wma (1.25 MB)

.pdf icon September 19, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon This was a Director Item so nothing was mentioned in the Agenda about

a) Mission Creek Greenway - Reference to WFN lands on mapping

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 19, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (82.1 MB)

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.pdf icon September 19, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

12. OTHER BUSINESS

12.1 Director Items

a) Mission Creek Greenway - Reference to WFN lands on mapping

Councillor Werstuik noted that there is no reference on the Regional District's mapping for the Mission Creek Greenway in regards to WFN lands IR#8 and IR#12. It was noted that WFN has signage on the south side of Mission Creek at Casorso Road but no-one was sure whether there is a statement that WFN provides access to those lands for the public to enjoy.

HODGE/SHEPHERD
THAT the Director of Parks Services be directed to review with WFN staff the issues identified regarding the lack of identification on Regional District Mission Creek Greenway maps of the reserve lands along Mission Creek.

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 19, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (82.1 MB)

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WFN celebrates opening of Westside Road Interchange
By Wade Paterson - Kelowna Capital News - October 29, 2011

The first major phase of a $41 million transportation improvement project was completed on time and on budget.

Westbank First Nation celebrated the milestone of completing the Westside Road Interchange on Saturday morning.

Workers and contractors responsible for the development of the interchange were thanked at the celebration. A smudging ceremony also took place prior to the event.

By 12 p.m., the interchange was fully operational.

"It feels great," said Evelyn Lube, head of communications for the project.

"We had a few challenges in the project. Dealing with the traffic is a big challenge: There are 50,000 vehicles that use Highway 97 (everyday).

"For the contractor to be able to get the work done, keep people safe, keep traffic moving, keep the project on budget and on schedule, that's a real accomplishment."

The entire Westside Road Interchange Project is now 65 per cent complete. The next phase will focus on developing an underpass at Nancee Way.

"The Nancee Way underpass is an important part for Westbank First Nation. It (will) help to provide access to the commercial areas that Westbank First Nation has planned on the other side of the highway. Having an alternate access to the other side of the highway is going to be really important."

Work on that underpass will begin immediately.

"We'll be decommissioning the temporary intersection that was installed at Nancee Way. So the first set of lights that you see when you leave Kelowna and get on the bridge will be at the Boucherie Road intersection," said Lube.

The Nancee Way underpass is set to be completed in the summer of 2012.

Westbank First Nation Chief Robert Louie said that completion of the Westside Road Interchange was a "very important milestone."

"When the (underpass) at Nancee Way is complete, we'll be turning the interchange, in its complete form, over to the province," said Louie.

"Until then it's our responsibility to ensure that the project is completed on time and on budget with the least possible impact to the highway users."

Lube urged drivers to use caution when using the new interchange.

"There still is a 60 km/h speed zone so people still need to slow down and watch for signs. There are a lot of new signs up here, it's a new area. We just want everybody to use caution and obey the traffic control people," said Lube.

Land exchange debate far from over
Kelowna Capital News - By Wade Paterson - October 13, 2011

B.C. Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Blair Lekstrom can expect a few more letters in his mailbox in the coming weeks.

On Oct. 6, the Okanagan Basin Water Board reported that it would be sending a letter to the B.C. government, which would encourage protection of the Rose Valley Reservoir.

The board stated that they are concerned that the lands should remain in public hands to ensure ongoing protection of the reservoir’s drinking water.

On Tuesday, West Kelowna council unanimously agreed to send another letter to Lekstrom, requesting him to appear before council to discuss issues surrounding the land swap.

Couns. Gord Milsom and Rosalind Neis felt that more needed to be done than simply sending another letter.

“It’s kind of frustrating to sit and wait and hear that they’re coming at some point but we don’t know when that’s going to come,” said Milsom.

Milsom said that it would be a good idea to consider booking a bigger venue, such as Royal LePage Place, to accommodate the large number of community members who would likely be interested in attending when Lekstrom attends.

Neis suggested booking the facility immediately.

She, unsuccessfully, made a motion to direct staff to pick a date and a venue and tell the minister to attend on that date.

“Minister Lekstrom has said that he’s coming. But unless there’s a date, he’s not coming.

“I think his role as an elected official is to attend at the request of municipalities that have issues with regards to his ministry,” said Neis.

The rest of council didn’t believe that providing the province with an ultimatum was the best course of action.

“I can understand the spirit behind the suggestion. I’m afraid, though, that it would be rejected outright,” said Coun. Bryden Winsby.

“I think the government would be very unwilling to debate it in a public forum.”

The letter drafted by Findlater will attempt to, once again, establish a date that Lekstrom can meet with West Kelowna council.

Blue Divider Line

B.C. First Nations group's case goes to rights hearing in U.S.
By Judith Lavoie, Postmedia News October 7, 2011

The Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group, representing six First Nations communities, will argue at an international commission that 810,000 hectares of its traditional territory in southeast Vancouver Island, most of which is now privately owned and developed properties, was illegally confiscated in 1884 as part of a land grant given to the Dunsmir Company to build the Island’s railway.

Photograph by: Screen Grab, Google Maps

VICTORIA — Canada's treaty-making rules will come under the microscope at a groundbreaking hearing in Washington D.C. this month.

The Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group, made up of six Vancouver Island First Nations, will have its human rights complaint heard Oct. 28 by the Organization of American States Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The treaty group is accusing Canada of violating the human rights of its 6,400 members by "failing to recognize and protect their rights to property, culture and religion."

The commission's decision to hear the case is unprecedented and a ruling in favour of Hul'qumi'num could affect treaty-making throughout Canada, said Robert Morales, the treaty group's chief negotiator.

Robert Williams Jr., HTG lead counsel, said in a statement that a positive decision would prove that Canada's "land claims policy needs to be scrapped in favour of a process that complies with international human rights standards."

At the heart of the complaint is more than 830,000 hectares on Vancouver Island's east coast that was handed to the E&N Railway in 1884 as payment for constructing a line from Victoria to Comox.

About 270,000 hectares of the land, most of which has now been developed or is owned by forestry companies, makes up the traditional territory of Hul'qumi'num bands.

First Nations were allocated only small reserves but, even though there is little remaining Crown land in the area, the federal government says private lands are not on the table during treaty negotiations.

Recommendations of the Commission on Human Rights cannot be enforced, but lead to intense international pressure, Morales said.

"If prior rulings are any indication, the conclusion they will come to is that when the state confiscates the land of indigenous people, they have a responsibility to return the land, replace the land or look at restitution, probably in the form of compensation," he said.

An additional problem is the Hul'qumi'num people are not consulted before forestry companies permanently destroy land and resources without providing any benefits to First Nations, Morales said.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada spokeswoman Genevieve Gilbert said that, as the case is before the commission, it would be inappropriate to comment.

The commission has decided the HTG petition is admissible and will consider its merits and then provide its views, she said.

"Although these views would not be legally binding on Canada, Canada respects and takes seriously the views of the IACHR and other international human rights bodies," Gilbert said in an email.

"The government of Canada believes that the best way to resolve outstanding issues is through negotiation. Successful negotiations lead to win-win solutions that balance the interests of all parties."

Among groups supporting the HTG petition are Amnesty International and the Assembly of First Nations.

"The result from this case will be significant," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.

First Nations which make up the treaty group are Cowichan Tribes, Lake Cowichan, Halalt, Penelakut, Lyackson and Stz'uminus.

jlavoie "at" timescolonist.com

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

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$41 Million or was it $43 Million spent for WFN shopping center?

2011 Legislative Session: Third Session, 39th Parliament
HANSARD
Debates of the Legislative Assembly
(hansard)
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Morning Sitting

Hon. B. Stewart: Welcome to all the students that are here today.

On the transportation front, a lot of people remember the days of being stuck in their cars on the old double-lane bridge that we had crossing Lake Okanagan waiting for hours sometimes to get across in the summertime.

One of the bottlenecks was a major intersection just above the new W.R. Bennett Bridge, but it's going through a metamorphic change. There's a $41 million upgrade at Westside Road, and that change is really going to help open up some of the things that are happening both on First Nation lands under the skilful leadership of Chief Robert Louie but also the fact that we have an increasing and growing population moving up Westside Road.

Last September we announced rapid bus in the Central Okanagan. It has begun operation. This is an excellent addition, and it has changed exactly the way that our transit system functions in the Okanagan with a spine running from UBCO down to downtown Kelowna and soon to cross Lake Okanagan and come into the district of West Kelowna. It is an excellent example of how rapid bus can work in communities to reduce congestion and be able to reduce CO2s as well. I'm looking forward to this next phase of rapid bus.

[1055]

This was made possible through a joint federal and provincial contribution of $43 million as well as contributions from both the city of Kelowna and the district of West Kelowna. This is an excellent example of where the communities have come together to work collectively on a common problem. I look forward to the day when rapid bus spans from Vernon to Penticton.

http://www.leg.bc.ca/hansard/39th3rd/h10217a.htm

------------------------------------

FACTS ARE:

There hasn't been much for real estate sales up Westside Road for a couple years now from what George Yamada Royal Lepage Real Estate agent told okanaganlakebc.ca.  You can see a good proportion of properties for sale on George's website.  There are still a good proportion of undeveloped lots at La Casa, Valley of the Sun, Upper Fintry, all the way to Westshore Estates October 2011.  Undeveloped lots have have been sitting undeveloped for years. 

Now that the price of gas has risen so much, the interchange gives poor incentive to move to the area for some being so far from town at least 30 - 45 minutes.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan turned down a new development proposal in front of Valley of the Sun of 35 homes.

Building stats are way down in the Central Okanagan, enough that the building inspection dept at the Regional District of Central Okanagan is considering restructuring the building inspection dept.

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files August 22, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Building Stats and bringing a report forward in the future to talk about the decrease in building permits - .wma (346 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 27, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about RDCO Building Inspection restructuring in the fall due to a decrease in building permits - .wma (387 KB)

 
2010 Building Statistics in RDCO

Jan - Dec 2010 there were 77 building permits issued in Central Okanagan West.  In the entire Regional District of Central Okanagan there were 48 single family dwellings built, 38 residential additions and access and 32 permits were for garages and carports.

January 24, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

Item 9.2 RDCO Building Amendment Bylaw.pdf

Item 9.1 2010 Building Statistics.pdf

 

2009 Building Statistics in RDCO

Jan - Dec 2009 there were 67 building permits issued in Central Okanagan West and out of those 67 permits, 22 were for single family dwellings and 25 were for residential additions and access

.pdf icon January 18, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regional Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 6.1 2009 Building Statistics.pdf

 

2008 Building Statistics in RDCO

Jan - Dec 2008 there were 120 building permits issued in Central Okanagan West and out of those 120 permits, 72 were for single family dwellings and 22 were for additions and access.

.pdf icon January 26, 2009 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regional Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 6.1 2008 Building Statistics.pdf

The population along Westside Road hasn't increased much in the last few years, and not enough to spend $41 million on.

So who did Westside-Coquihalla MLA Ben Stewart really spend the money on?  Wasn't the population of Westside Road was it?  Most likely the money was spent to help the new WFN Shopping District and proposed WFN gravel pits along Westside Road in our opinion.  As if our MLA would spend $41 million for Westside Road residents .. what a crock!  Westside Road doesn't have a shoulder in some spots and the Ministry of Transportation was considering adding pullouts, not shoulders or passing lanes to Westside Road, but nothing has been accomplished yet October 2011.  Why would the Westside Road interchange be a priority over fixing Westside Road itself, since there are no shoulders in some sections on Westside Road, if the Westside Road interchange was built for a growing population up Westside Road?

Westside Road is only a portion of the entire Central Okanagan West area which includes Trepanier next to the Coquihalla and Brent Road in Peachland, plus WFN band reserves.

PDF file icon Population of Central Okanagan West 8,018 - 2006 census

PDF file icon 2099 eligible electors July 31, 2007 in the North Westside Road area, from Westshore Estates to LaCasa.

WFN 2007-2008 Annual Report PDF file icon Through births and transfers, WFN membership population is healthy and strong and has grown to 682.

Westbank First Nation Government provides services for approximately 9000 residents living on WFN lands, 8500 of whom are non-Band members.

Just read the April 6, 2011 article that was in the Kelowna Capital News

If your a Westsider, have you ever been caught in a bottleneck on Westside Road, or has it been on the highway itself?

How much money did the WFN Shopping District as a development contribute to road improvements to accommodate shoppers?

Central Okanagan West Waste/Enivronmental Management Parcel Tax
click stats to see a larger copy

2008 - 2010 there have been 11 new additional properties added to garbage services in the entire Central Okanagan West area according to the stats above that we received from the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

We feel the Westside Road interchange may have been built for West Kelowna residents going to Kelowna and all the gravel pits active and proposed along Westside Road, which Westside Road residents vehemently oppose.

There are at least three gravel pits either approved or awaiting approval.  There is Burnco Pit at Bear Creek that is active, as well as, Okanagan Aggregates proposed gravel pit immediately south of La Casa Resort that hasn't started yet, and maybe another gravel pit at Traders Cove that the WFN probably want to start through acquiring land through the WFN land swap deal with the Province over Rose Valley reservoir and additional lands of approx. 800 acres in trade for 8 acres from WFN to build the Westside Road interchange.  Please see the North Westside Road Ratepayers letter below showing that the Ratepayers are against the gravel pit next to La Casa Resort of 500 cottages.

=============================================================

We sent a Freedom of Information request to RDCO to find out if WFN paid anything towards the Westside Road Interchange.  RDCO replied saying they don't have that information.  We then filled out a Freedom of Information request on the open government website to ask the Ministry of Transportation.

Re: Request for Access to Records

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA)

I am writing further to your request received by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Your request is for:

Development Cost charges, payments, agreements, monies, etc. that were paid by Westbank First Nations (WFN) toward payment to design, improve and build the Westside Road Interchange project in West Kelowna BC or towards design, improvement or building other highways or other roads in West Kelowna due to commercial development on WFN lands during the period 2009 [October II, 2011].

Thank you for your clarification regarding the records you requested delineating what WFN has paid or contributed towards the Westside Road Interchange Project. As the hiring and payment of services for the delivery of the Westside Road Interchange is within the control of the WFN, the ministry is not party to payments for services rendered and does not have the requested
records on file.  A thorough search was conducted that confirmed WFN has not provided the ministry with third party payment records. As such, no such records were located in response to your request. Your file is now closed.

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WESTBANK FIRST NATION
SUBDIVISION, DEVELOPMENT AND SERVICING LAW NO, 2005-15


10.5 Every Developer, for any purpose other than the creation of three (3) or less lots to provide sites for a total of three (3) or less self-contained dwelling units, must pay to Westbank the development cost charges for the sole purpose of providing funds to assist Westbank in paying the development cost charges and levies of providing, altering, or expanding sewerage, water, drainage and highway facilities and public open space or any of them, in order to serve, directly or indirectly the development in respect of which the charges are imposed.
Page 19

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Hundreds line up to 'Shop'
by Castanet Staff - Story: 65740 - Oct 8, 2011

The line-ups began at midnight and by Saturday morning over 200 people were lined up for the grand opening of the new Future Shop on the Westside.

The store had been open earlier in the week in a "soft" opening, without the same fanfare shoppers will see this weekend.

People lining up had a chance to receive gift certificates and win prizes

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WFN commercial project initiated in West Kelowna
Kelowna Capital News - By Alistair Waters - April 06, 2011

Ground will be broken today for the latest commercial development on Westbank First Nation land.

The Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre, a small outdoor mall to be located just south of the Westbank First Nation office building at Highway 97 and Westside Road, will include a multi-screen movie theatre and several retail outlets, including a pharmacy.

Currently there are no plans for a grocery story on the site.

The shopping centre is a partnership between the WFN, Churchill International Property Corporation and Property Development Group.

It is the latest is a string of commercial and retail developments on WFN land in recent years, developments that have included “big box” stores such as Walmart, Canadian Tire​, Home Depot​ and London Drugs​, as well as many smaller stores, restaurants, banks and other services.

A Future Shop​ electronic store and Winner clothing outlet are currently under construction just north of downtown Westbank on WFN land.

Currently, the lease for the original commercial centre built on WFN land, the Westbank Shopping Centre, is up for sale.

That centre includes the new Extra Foods​ grocery story, a White Spot​ restaurant, a Wendy’s and Tim Hortons​ outlets.

It is also the sight of a large Zeller’s store but that building is not part of the lease that is for sale.

No sale price has been released for the property but the realtor dealing with the sale has said there has been interest expressed in the lease since it went on the market last month.

awaters "at" kelownacapnews.com

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From Castanet.net forum - October 12, 2011

3. Addressing the alarming retail 'over'-development of the Highway 97S corridor here. We are 'plaza'd' to death. I recognize much of this development is taking place on WFN land, but here's the reality: There are only so many people here to support local businesses. And yet, every time we open a new coffee shop, new shoe store, new electronics store, etc... we are cutting into whatever market share is available, whittling down further the opportunity for current (and new) businesses to survive. It's common sense. If there are four coffee shops and each shop can attract just enough customers to survive, if you open two more coffee shops, the same number of customers must now be split 6 ways. Already we are seeing retail plazas with empty tenants, businesses that simply couldn't generate enough revenue to survive. And yet the slices of the pie continue to be cut even thinner here with every new strip mall and retail store that pops up. We can only maintain so many electronics stores, so many restaurants, so many drug stores, and so on. And it's only going to get worse. As stores continue to close our community we'll become depressed (commercially), more people will be out of work and we may begin sliding down a slippery slope that won't benefit anybody. What can be done to address this?

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Financial Transfer Agreement
The current five year Financial Transfer Agreement (FTA) between Canada and WFN expired on March 31, 2010. Westbank
received a one year extension on the agreement and is currently in negotiations for a new agreement.

Land Acquisitions
The WFN Constitution stipulates that any lands alienated from the reserve must be replaced by lands “of greater or equivalent size or value” and that any Land Exchange is subject to the approval of the WFN Membership via referendum. In June 2009, the membership voted to approve a land exchange between WFN and the Ministry of Transportation (MoT). As part of an agreement reached between the two parties in 2005, WFN agreed to provide 4.15 acres of reserve land from IR #10 to the MoT for the construction of the Campbell Road Interchange. The MoT compensated WFN in the amount of $2,000,000 to find, secure, and purchase replacement lands. As a result, 19.76 acres were identified and purchased at Devon Road (map). These lands are currently in the Agricultural Land Reserve and the process has been initiated to have this designation removed and have the lands added to Westbank Reserve Lands.

Found on page 28 PDF file icon WFN 2009-2010 Annual Report

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While reading about West Kelowna's (Ministry of Transportation deal) 698 acre crown land swap in exchange for 8 acres of Westbank First Nations land to build the Westside Road Interchange and some land at the entrance to the William Bennett bridge, keep in mind that critical transportation arteries under the provincial government serve both WFN and DWK.

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WFN Annual Reports

WFN 2007-2008 Annual Report
PDF file icon Through births and transfers, WFN membership population is healthy and strong and has grown to 682.

Westbank First Nation Government provides services for approximately 9000 residents living on WFN lands, 8500 of whom are non-Band members.

Out of the 8 acres WFN land swap for 698 acre crown land at Rose Valley, that is just a little over one acre for each of the 682 WFN members!!

That's a good deal.  No wonder WFN members didn't vote NO!

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Castanet.net Poll - August 5, 2011 - 1064 votes

Is the proposed land swap between the province and Westbank First Nation a fair deal?

Yes: 64
No: 1000

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Indian Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. I-5)

Restriction on transfer

(2) Every transaction purporting to pass title to any property that is by this section deemed to be situated on a reserve, or any interest in such property, is void unless the transaction is entered into with the consent of the Minister or is entered into between members of a band or between the band and a member thereof.

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/I-5/page-30.html#h-38

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District of West Kelowna
Mr. Gary O’Rourke, P. Eng.,
District of West Kelowna
2760 Cameron Rd.,
Kelowna BC

September 26, 2011

The proposed WFN land swap including lands at the North end of Rose Valley Reservoir raises several concerns regarding the integrity of Rose Valley Reservoir as a water supply. This reservoir is a terminal reservoir, meaning that the distribution system commences at the reservoir and there is no further opportunity for natural disinfection after water leaves the reservoir. Terminal reservoirs are few in the Okanagan and need special care.

First, Rose Valley Reservoir has demonstrated a high sensitivity to nutrient enrichment over the past 30 years of study. It is vulnerable to cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms that can compromise water safety. The Lakeview system team worked constantly to limit nutrient inputs and to manage the reservoir to avoid these blooms. Their efforts include: managing watershed impacts, managing RVR water levels, weekly monitoring and treatment of impending algae blooms, aeration and siphoning bottom water.

Use of lands within the watershed for development would impact Rose Valley Reservoir by landscape nutrients, stormwater and possibly package sewage treatment plant discharges. Development along the reservoir shoreline would alter nutrient exchange with the sediments.

Second, land development for residential or commercial use greatly increases the risk of contaminants and pathogens entering the reservoir via stormwater, subsurface inflow and groundwater. In 2010 drogue trials, water at 5 m depths travelled at an average of 132 m/hour and water at 10 m depth travelled at an average of 150 m/hr with a strong wind. These average speeds tell us that water can travel from one end of the reservoir to the other within 16 hours. Any contaminants entering the reservoir can spread in that time.

Based on 30 years of study on Rose Valley Reservoir, it is my opinion that anydevelopment within the immediate watershed of Rose Valley Reservoir would compromise its use as a domestic water supply and would increase the likelihood of requiring complex water treatment capable of dealing with cyanobacteria blooms. The cost of treatment inevitably rises as source water quality declines.

The longer we can defer constructing a water treatment plant, the more the available technologies can develop.

Heather Larratt, R.P. Bio.

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Land swap value debated
Castanet.net - Oct 1, 2011 - Story# 65400

To the editor:

RE: Land swap appraisal

How does Ben Stewart figure the value of the near 700 acres in the land swap to be anything less than 28-60 million?

The land is actually priceless. Beautiful forest with a big lake. Easy access from both ends. Easy to develop.

Part of the proposed swap is directly beside the squashed gravel pit on Bear Creek Road from a few years ago, so who’s to say the WFN couldn’t start pulling out aggregate and making millions more.

The eight acres of dust they gave the Feds will now be developed into retail so they will make millions more.

I am not against development but this is a raw deal.

Without park land and access to public lakes people may start to leave. Why did we all come here in the first place?

Giving up this land would go down as one of the stupidest moves any political party has ever done in B.C.

Getting back to Mr. Stewart’s take on the value being “absurd”. What would the value of the property that Quails Gate is on have been fifty or sixty years ago?

Had someone said back then it would be worth what it is now, people would have also said that was absurd.

Barry Wellings

---------------------

Land swap 'typical'
Castanet.net - Sep 30, 2011 - Story# 65353

To the editor:

Re: Land swap proves costly

I support Mr Thomsen's position regarding the proposed Westside land swap.

This situation seems typical of the closed door, behind the scenes deals made by B.C. politicians and government bureaucrats.

It requires a full investigation even though it may impinge on the 'sacred cow' of government and First Nations dealings.

Moreover, the role, or lack thereof, of our West Kelowna MLA in this case should be included in the investigation.

It appears that he simply toes the party line rather that representing and supporting the best interests of the tax paying citizens of West Kelowna.

Michael Ludlam

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WFN Rose Valley Water Reservoir and Park Land Swap Petition - on Castanet.net

Re: WFN Rose Valley Water Reservoir and Park Land Swap Petit
by laurensawyer » Yesterday, 6:52 pm
I am @#!$% amazed, i just did the calculations and according to my computer, the "accurate appraisal" they have come up with values the rose valley land at less than $10000......PER ACRE!!!! I am sorry but where in the okanagan can you get an acre of land for less than $10,000. I think you can buy piles of manure on an acre for more. I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW WHO IS PULLING THE STRINGS ON THIS ONE, CONGRATS WFN, BTW IF YOU NEED A FINANCIAL ADVISOR I WOULD BE HAPPY TO SUBMIT A RESUME, BUT AS MY BONUS ADVICE.....BBBUUUUYYYYY IIIITTTT!!!!!!!

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West Kelowna Strongly Objects to Proposed Land Exchange - on Castanet.net Forum

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Land Acquisitions

The WFN Constitution stipulates that any lands alienated from the reserve must be replaced by lands “of greater or equivalent size or value” and that any Land Exchange is subject to the approval of the WFN Membership via referendum. In June 2009, the membership voted to approve a land exchange between WFN and the Ministry of Transportation (MoT). As part of an agreement reached between the two parties in 2005, WFN agreed to provide 4.15 acres of reserve land from IR #10 to the MoT for the construction of the Campbell Road Interchange. The MoT compensated WFN in the amount of $2,000,000 to find, secure, and purchase replacement lands. As a result, 19.76 acres were identified and purchased at Devon Road. These lands are currently in the Agricultural Land Reserve and the process has been initiated to have this designation removed and have the lands added to Westbank Reserve Lands.

from page 24
http://www.wfn.ca/docs/09-10 annual report.pdf

---------------------------------------

Ministry of Transportation Revenue to WFN
2010 Budget $0
2010 5,400,022
2009 restated 11,340,342

from page 30
http://www.wfn.ca/docs/09-10 annual report.pdf

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Known historically as stqa?tk"níwt and speaking its traditional language of nsyilxcən, Westbank First Nation is self-governing with over 5,000 acres of lands located in south central British Columbia in the heart of Okanagan Valley, adjacent to the City of Kelowna. In the Westbank SGA, Westbank First Nation states that it is one of seven bands comprising the Okanagan Nation.

Its leadership consists of one chief and four councilors to govern a membership of 682. A five-member Advisory Council elected every three years represents the interests of over 9,000 non-member residents that live on or have interests in Westbank Lands.

found on page 4
http://www.wfn.ca/docs/self gov agrmnt annual report.pdf

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

As part of this agreement, Westbank First Nation agreed to an exchange of 4.15 acres of Westbank Lands for a separate, suitable parcel of Crown land of equal or greater value to allow for the construction of the new road interchange. The replacement lands have not yet been identified.

found on page 12
http://www.wfn.ca/docs/self gov agrmnt annual report.pdf

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Westbank First Nation has service agreements with the following:

* Regional District of Central Okanagan
* District of West Kelowna
* Okanagan Regional Library Board
* BC Assessment

Services included in the service agreement with the Regional District of Central Okanagan are:

* Regional Rescue Services
* 911 Operations/Dept
* Crime Stoppers
* Victims Witness
* Westside Transit
* Handi-Dart
* Septic Tank Effluent Dump
* Westside Sanitary Landfill
* Okanagan Basin Water Board
* Regional Parks

Services included in the service agreement with the District of West Kelowna are:

* Mount Boucherie Recreation Centre
* Westside Senior's Centre
* Johnson Bentley Pool

Westside Fire protection is administered by West Kelowna through a separate agreement from the Local Government Services Agreement. Library Services are provided by Westbank First Nation and the Okanagan Regional Library Board. BC Assessment provides property assessment services.

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REMEMBER THIS FROM 2009??

Westbank First Nation chief wants support for bridge land swap
Kelowna.com - Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 - By John McDonald

Westbank First Nation Chief Robert Louie presents a gift to West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater at the opening of the district's new council chambers. (Photo John McDonald)

West Kelowna councillors received a friendly, but pointed, reminder at Tuesday’s council meeting that it should try to get along with the Westbank First Nation.

Chief Robert Louie, in a presentation to council, asked them to support a bid by the provincial government to have a parcel of land on Devon Road excluded from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The 20-acre parcel, purchased from a private owner, is to be swapped for land the WFN gave up for the construction of the west approaches to the Bennett Bridge, including the Campbell Road interchange.

Some 700 band members will vote Thursday in a referendum on the land swap.

If approved, the actual exchange wouldn’t happen for some 47 years, at the end of the lease signed by the province for the bridge lands, but Louie wants the land out of the ALR as soon as possible.

He suggested that if the Devon Road land wasn’t taken out of the ALR, then the deal would be off and the Campbell Road property would revert to the WFN, effectively leaving it owner of a piece of Highway 97, something the Ministry of Transportation would not like.

Louie reminded councillors of the WFN support for it’s own bid to have land slated for the Westside Health Centre excluded from the ALR.

He also suggested that future efforts by West Kelowna to expand its boundaries into Crown land beyond its current borders would need the support of the WFN because it has inherent title through land claims on any Crown land.

“We will support you in the effort to acquire some lands,” Louie told council. “In return, we want you to support us. It is best that we work together. It is in everybody’s best interest to have these lands transfered to the province and out of the land reserve.”

Councillor Duane Ophus said he appreciated the working relationship between the two levels of government, but asked if Louie could outline the band’s plans for the Devon Road parcel.

The chief told council that any decision on the long-term use of the land would be up to the band membership, but said he thought the land would continue as agricultural in the short term, with an eye for eventually using it for housing.

Councillor Rosalind Neis said she would like to see the provincial government compensate West Kelowna for lost tax revenue on the parcel. She pointed out that, while the land is currently in the ALR, it’s value would jump if it was excluded.

Councillor Gord Milsom said the exchange seemed like a done deal and asked Louie why he needed them to help. The chief replied that “it would give us comfort, knowing we had your support.”

Mayor Doug Findlater, speaking for supporting the exclusion, said the entire Westside has benefited by the land exchange through easier access to Kelowna.

In the end, council gave its support in principle to supporting exclusion of the land.

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WFN LAND SWAP INFO from Appraisals published on Castanet.net - Land swap appraisal favours WFN- by Wayne Moore - Story: 64956 - Sep 21, 2011 - which you can find below

  Sept 8, 2011 July 17, 2009
DL 4089 - 115 acres $897,000 $875,000
DL 489 - 316.32 acres $2,750,000 $2,660,000
DL 4183 - 147 acres $1,692,000 $1,662,000
Unsurveyed Crown Land - 120 acres $840,000 $720,000

 
 DL 4089 - 115 acres is by Traders Cove on the left side going up Bear Creek
RDCO's District Lot map

The original appraisal commissioned by the WFN pegged the value of the Crown land at $5.9M

The province says the independent appraisal values the land at $6.18M.

District of West Kelowna hired Site Economics, a real estate financial and market advisory consultant, to evaluate the properties involved in the proposed exchange.  They pegged the value at between $28M and $60M

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MLA says land value "absurd"
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 65057 - Sep 23, 2011

Westside-Kelowna MLA, Ben Stewart has brought into question the accuracy and validity of the valuation West Kelowna has placed on 698 acres of land proposed in a land exchange between the province and Westbank First Nation.

The land in question around the Rose Valley Reservoir is on the table as part of a potential land exchange for eight acres of WFN lands being used for the Westside Interchange project.

An original appraisal commissioned by WFN pegged the value of the 698 acres at $5.9M. A government sponsored assessment of that appraisal put the value at $6.18M.

The District of West Kelowna hired Site Economics, a real estate financial and market advisory consultant, to evaluate the properties involved in the proposed exchange.

They pegged the value at between $28M and $60M.

"It's speculation at it's best. That is what Site Economics has basically put in front of the District of West Kelowna," says Stewart.

"It's misleading. Site Economics is not an appraisal company. They are a land development company that looks at potential users. It's speculative. The numbers are absurd."

He says nobody will buy those lands for the prices they have stated.

Stewart says the government is trying to wrap up the referral process, the process with which he says, looks at issues from tenure holders and people impacted by the change of ownership of Crown Lands.

He says that is the process which the municipality has walked away from.

"I don't think that Mayor Findlater and council are negotiating in good faith. They have essentially frustrated the referral process. The referral process is there to protect people... if it doesn't work out then the deal doesn't go ahead."

As for protection of the area, Stewart says there is a standard that has to be met whether it's First Nation or not in terms of the environment and the watershed.

"We are dealing with a First Nation and the assumption is they can do things other communities can't do. There is already a standard that has to be met. They don't have the ability to bypass that."

Stewart says he believes the municipality either doesn't trust that or doesn't believe the standards are what they want.

"WFN is frustrated that they are being accused of having some sort of lesser standards."

Stewart says he expects Transportation Minister Blair Leckstrom will meet with West Kelowna Council within a month to try and get the municipality back to table.

Below are photos from a recent tour of the land in question.

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Land swap appraisal favours WFN
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 64956 - Sep 21, 2011


Photo: Wayne Moore - Castanet File Photo
MLA, Ben Stewart

After weeks of waiting, the province has finally released details of an independent appraisal of 698 acres of Crown Lands considered as part of a land exchange with Westbank First Nation.

The land, which borders the Rose Valley Reservoir, may be exchanged for eight acres of WFN land being utilized as part of the Westside Road Interchange.

The province says the independent appraisal values the land at $6.18M.

The appraisal, which was expected to take two weeks, was undertaken in early August in response to requests from Westside-Kelowna MLA, Ben Stewart and members of the public for a professional, independent review of the land value.

"The report confirms the findings of an earlier appraisal commissioned by the Westbank First Nation. The two valuations are within five per cent of each other," says the province in a press release issued Wednesday morning.

The original appraisal commissioned by the WFN pegged the value of the Crown land at $5.9M.

Unhappy with the figures, the District of West Kelowna had its own appraisal conducted.

That appraisal valued the 698 acres at between $28M and $42M in an undeveloped or limited development state and up to $60M if developed to a residential urban standard.

According to the province, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is required to evaluate the potential impacts of the land transfer on the watershed, park and other land interests and ensure all impacts will be addressed.

A final decision on the proposed Crown land transfer requires approval of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations as well as the Government of Canada.

The four parcels of undeveloped Crown land located in the Bear Creek and Rose Valley areas were identified by the Westbank First Nation as potential replacement lands for commercially zoned reserve lands required by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for construction of the Westside Road interchange.

The province has made documents pertaining to both the appraisal findings and the original WFN appraisal available.

Meantime, the District of West Kelowna is also releasing the findings of its own appraisal conducted by Site Economics, a real estate financial and market advisory consultant.

“I think it’s important that all information be made public and that includes our findings, as well as those of the Province,” says Mayor Doug Findlater.

“That is what we have asked from the start. We want to see the documents that can show that 698 acres is valued the same as eight. We are willing to show our report that clearly states that under different development scenarios, the value of the Crown land is much higher.”

The District of West Kelowna has multiple concerns not only related to the inequitable nature of the deal, but also watershed reservoir protection, preservation of the Regional Park and consideration of existing Agricultural Land Reserve parcels, servicing agreements and barriers to servicing.

“The District feels it is imperative to put the whole deal out for review by the public,” says Findlater.

“We are deeply concerned that there are unknown elements to this land exchange and that the best interests of the taxpayers of West Kelowna and our regional partners are not being served by the Provincial Government until it is completely transparent. The District of West Kelowna Council is looking forward to meeting with Minster Lekstrom and his staff.”

Blue Divider Line

IS 700 acres or 1000 acres up for grabs??
Who cares, the WFN 8 acres should have been donated for free
okanaganlakebc.ca says take the Provincial Government to court and have the full agreement exposed and then tell WFN they aren't getting nothing but the use of the interchange!!!  We want to know more about what kind of Provincial Government we have on our hands that we have to fight against!

Mayor, councillors tour Rose Valley
Castanet.net - by Daniel Hayduk - Story: 64856 - Sep 19, 2011

Rose Valley map - West Kelowna BC

West Kelowna's mayor and several councillors toured the Rose Valley Reservoir area on Monday, underscoring their feelings about how the proposed land exchange between Westbank First Nation and the province is being handled.

Standing at the edge of the Rose Valley Reservoir, District of West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater says it is important to visually grasp what is at stake.

"I know they'll have their appraisal that may say otherwise, but with bringing in development and the services that come with this, it could be very valuable land. But we're concerned as well about the watershed and the loss of part of a regional park," says Findlater.

Standing alongside councillors David Knowles, Duane Ophus and Carol Zanon, Findlater expressed concern over what could happen to the pristine landscape and its impact on the reservoir.

"This is quite developable. I think in terms of terrain, you've got something that resembles Dilworth Mountain in Kelowna. With a bit of dynamite you can do a lot of road building and a lot of clearing. We are very concerned about that kind of development adjacent to a watershed," says Findlater.

In an ideal world, Findlater says the appropriate action would be to make the perimeter of the reservoir a regional park to keep the reservoir intact.

Approximately a third of homes in the municipality are connected to the Rose Valley Reservoir.

Furthermore, Findlater says that should development occur, it would be the District's roads that would feel the impact -- but nobody is talking.

"They won't tell us what the contractual arrangement is, they wont tell us what is really involved in this. At various times we've heard some members of WFN council mention 1,000 acres. Well, this is less than 700 acres. We wonder what other arrangements have been made. If this deal goes through, I don't think it's the end of the world next year, but I think 10, 20, 30 or 40 years out, people will be saying, 'what were those people thinking in 2011 to go along with this?'"

Rose Valley Tour Sept 19 Photos at link above

Rose Valley Reservoir
Photo by Daniel Hayduk of Castanet.net

Blue Divider Line

No legal dope for WFN
Castanet.net - by Grant Scott - Story: 64700 - Sep 17, 2011

The Chief and Council of the Westbank First Nation are taking steps to help the RCMP combat illegal drug activity on WFN Lands in line with their “No Tolerance Zone” policy.

The WFN was approached earlier this year by the RCMP asking that they assist in the ongoing police investigations into the production, sale and possession of marijuana on WFN Lands.

On July 4, Chief and Council gave third reading to amendments to the Safe Premises Law which will address the issue of medicinal marijuana licenses.

These licenses are issued by Health Canada and allow for the production, sale and consumption of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

The amendments make the federal regulations authorizing the issuance of medical marijuana licenses ineffective on WFN Lands. As a self-governing First Nation, they have the jurisdiction to create and implement laws such as this to keep the community safe.

This means that the production, sale and consumption of marijuana for medicinal purposes is not allowed on WFN lands.

The WFN says individuals who are producing, selling or consuming marijuana under one of these licences need to be aware that with the passing of these amendments, such activity is illegal and subject to the provisions of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the Criminal Code.

"I think that's a little reefer madness," says Paul from the Compassion Club of the Central Okanagan. "This is a federal program, and if you have a license given to you by Health Canada, then you should be allowed to operate."

The RCMP worries that medical marijuana licences are being used to shield illegal marijuana operations.

They have expressed a number of concerns regarding these licenses, including that they are not well regulated, that Health Canada refuses to share any information regarding the licenses and, most significantly, that they may be used to shield illegal drug activity.

The RCMP have agreed that there will be a grace period during which officers will not necessarily lay charges against those who have a current medical marijuana license.

The WFN says the will continue to work closely with the RCMP to combat illegal drug activity on WFN Lands and are pleased to be able to provide authority for the RCMP to deal with this situation.

While WFN does not have statistics to suggest that WFN Lands experience more criminal drug activity than any other location, they are committed to creating a safe and healthy community and have a ‘zero tolerance zone’ policy.

Blue Divider Line

DWK asks for talks with province
by Castanet Staff - Story: 64464 - Sep 10, 2011

Mayor Doug Findlater has asked Hon. Blair Lekstrom, Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure to attend or send an appropriate government representative to an upcoming West Kelowna Council meeting to discuss the land exchange between his ministry and Westbank First Nation.

The land exchange involves approximately 698 acres of Crown land adjacent to the Rose Valley Reservoir.

West Kelowna Council’s decision echoes that of the Board of the Regional District of Central Okanagan, which has also requested Minister Lekstrom’s attendance at an upcoming board meeting to discuss the impact on loss of Rose Valley Regional Park and watershed issues.

“I think it’s important to conduct our discussions face to face, and not through the media,” says Mayor Doug Findlater.

“We would prefer to discuss the impacts this land exchange may have on West Kelowna residents in an open and transparent manner.”

A letter dated August 22, 2011 was sent to Minister Lekstrom, copied to MLA Ben Stewart, requesting attendance at an upcoming Council meeting and also outlines previous and new concerns that the District of West Kelowna has with the land exchange – concerns that remain unresolved.

“Core issues related to the inclusion of Agricultural Land Reserve, the regional park and watershed in this deal remain deep concerns,” says Mayor Findlater.

“As well, Council continues to request that the complete contractual arrangements be revealed as we believe there may be much more to the whole deal.”

To date, West Kelowna Council has not been advised of when Minister Lekstrom may attend, nor been directly approached by MLA Stewart regarding this request.

Friday morning, MLA Stewart distributed an “Open Letter to Mayor Findlater and Council of West Kelowna” to local media inviting West Kelowna Council to meet with him to “discuss ways which we can protect the District of West Kelowna’s watershed.”

“West Kelowna Council is looking forward to meeting with the Minister and MLA in an open meeting. We decided to end District staff’s participation in the land swap discussion as Council’s repeated requests for information went unmet,” says Mayor Doug Findlater.

“It was difficult for Council to justify staff’s time and the expense to taxpayers in participating in these discussions.”

“We are, at all times, interested in such discussions but I am puzzled because of the earlier letter we sent, and the letter sent from the Regional District of Central Okanagan, basically asking for the same thing,” says Mayor Findlater.

“We continue to await word from Minister Lekstrom’s office as to when he or a suitable representative will be able to attend.”

Blue Divider Line

DWK 'irresponsible: MLA Stewart
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 64450 - Sep 9, 2011

The Rose Valley Reservoir could be part of the land swap with WFN
Photo: Trevor Rockliffe

The Rose Valley Reservoir could be part of the land swap with WFN.

Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart says a report coming out next week on the value of land involved in a controversial land exchange will show West Kelowna Council has been 'irresponsible in their assertion about the values.'

Stewart made the comments as he again called on Mayor Doug Findlater and council to return to the bargaining table.

The province is proposing a land exchange with Westbank First Nation in which 698 acres of land around the Rose Valley Reservoir would be swapped for eight acres of reserve land being used in construction of the Westside and Campbell road projects.

West Kelowna went public last month with their concern over the proposed exchange.

One of the biggest concerns echoed by West Kelowna Council is the value placed on the lands in dispute around the Rose Valley reservoir.

An appraisal conducted by WFN pegs the land value at $5.8M while an appraisal commissioned by the municipality places the value between $28M and $42M in an undeveloped or limited development state and up to $60M if developed to a residential urban standard.

The government hired a Penticton firm to conduct a review of the WFN appraisal. That review is expected to be released next week.

While he hasn't yet seen the report, Stewart says he believes it will show council has been 'irresponsible in their assertion about the values.'

"There has been not one, but two reviews or re-appraisals done on it (WFN appraisal) and both back up that information . . . at this point."

Meantime, Stewart continues in his efforts to sit down with Findlater and his council over protection of the Rose Valley watershed.

In an open letter to mayor and council released to the media Friday morning, Stewart states:

"I’m writing today to extend a sincere invitation to meet and discuss ways which we can protect the District of West Kelowna’s watershed.

The environmental impact of the Westside Road Interchange Project is something that I too am concerned about, along with our constituents and municipal officials.

Today we understand more than ever the importance of protecting community watersheds to ensure safe and lasting drinking water. This is a serious concern which requires detailed examinations.

As elected officials we have the advantage and duty to pool our resources and knowledge. Together we can establish the most effective course of action to protect our watershed and land. These are everyone’s main concerns; it’s important to the Province, the District and residents of West Kelowna, and to future generations who depend on resolution of these important matters.

By putting our ideas together and working collaboratively, we can meet the needs of the District of West Kelowna.

I look forward to starting meaningful dialogue that will lead to real results. Let’s begin the discussions. Let’s start working together."


​​Stewart says he has not met face-to-face with West Kelowna officials since they left the table at the end of July and made it known they would take their concerns to the media.

"They have told us they are in disagreement but the real problem is we haven't been able to find out what it is we can do to satisfy their concerns. That's part of the problem," says Stewart.

"It's like walking into a room that is in the dark. You can't figure out where to go."

Read West Kelowna's response Saturday.

Here is a video of the area, around the Rose Valley Reservoir, offered in the swap. (Video: Trevor Rockliffe)

Blue Divider Line

Officials agree to heart-to-heart over Westbank land swap
AM1150 Newscentre - Sept 9, 2011

Officials from the BC government and the District of West Kelowna look set to smooth out the controversy over the Westbank land swap deal.

Both camps wrote open letters on Friday, asking the other to sit down for a heart-to-heart.

Westside MLA Ben Stewart made the offer to meet up late in the morning.

"By putting our ideas together and working collaboratively, we can meet the needs of the District of West Kelowna," said Stewart in his letter, "I look forward to starting meaningful dialogue that will lead to real results."

"Let's begin the discussions. Let's start working together."

West Kelowna mayor Doug Findlater then sent out a letter offering to host government officials at an upcoming West Kelowna council meeting.

Findlater noted that he had asked for a meeting almost a month ago.

"We are, at all times, interested in such discussions but I am puzzled because of the earlier letter we sent, and the letter sent from the Regional District of Central Okanagan, basically asking for the same thing," said Mayor Findlater in a news release.

"We continue to await word from Minister Lekstrom's office as to when he or a suitable representative will be able to attend."

No word on when or where the meeting will happen.

Noses in West Kelowna got out of joint over a deal between the BC government and the Westbank First Nation.

It would see land in Rose Valley traded for a small parcel of land around the Westside Interchange.

James Moore - Kelowna

Blue Divider Line

Westside land swap a good deal
Kelowna Capital News - September 09, 2011

To the editor:

This is my answer to Donna Thompson and West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater, comments on the land swap. (Nothing Equitable in Land Swap, Sept. 1 Capital News))

As a WFN member, I think that was a good land swap. It will give our nation more control over protecting the Rose Valley watershed because we see developments going higher into mountain areas, and this interferes with the wild life and their territories which is their feeding grounds and watering holes.

I think this is a good land swap for all of the Westside area.

Lloyd Elias,
West Kelowna

Blue Divider Line

Westbank First Nation Self-Government Agreement between Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada and Westbank First Nation

PDF Version (293 Kb, 89 Pages)

Part X - Westbank Lands and Land Management Title and Interests in Westbank Lands

Title and Interests in Westbank Lands

87. Title to all Westbank Lands shall continue to be held in the name of Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada for the use and benefit of Westbank First Nation.

88. Subject to sections 90 and 91, Licences and interests in Westbank Lands approved, created, granted or issued pursuant to the Indian Act and existing as of the Effective Date shall continue to have effect in accordance with their terms and conditions.

89. Subject to this Agreement, Westbank First Nation shall have the rights, powers, responsibilities and privileges of an owner in relation to Westbank Lands and may grant Licences and interests in Westbank Lands.

90. As of the Effective Date, the rights and obligations of Canada as grantor in respect of Licences and interests in Westbank Lands are transferred to Westbank First Nation.

91. Interests in Westbank Lands held on the Effective Date by Members pursuant to allotments under subsection 20(1) of the Indian Act are subject to the provisions of Westbank Law governing interests in Westbank Lands and sharing in natural resource revenues.

Exchange of Lands

92. Subject to sections 111 to 131, Westbank Lands shall not be alienated except for exchange of land in circumstances where:
a. Westbank First Nation shall receive lands of greater or equivalent size or value in consideration for the exchange taking into account all of its interests involved;


b. Canada is willing to set apart the lands received in exchange as a reserve defined under the Indian Act and as subsection 91(24) lands as set out in the Constitution Act, 1867;


c. Council has made full disclosure to its Members of all the circumstances surrounding the exchange. At least three community meetings shall be held where the proposed transactions are disclosed; and


d. the Members have approved the exchange in accordance with an approval process to be established in the Constitution for this purpose.

93.
a. Where the criteria in section 92 have been satisfied, Westbank First Nation can execute an authorization and direction to Canada to exchange title to the land.


b. Upon Canada receiving authorization and direction to exchange Westbank Land, Canada shall take the necessary steps to transfer and acquire the relevant titles to the lands in accordance with:

i.the authorization;
ii.the terms and conditions of the exchange; and
iii.procedural requirements applicable to acquisitions and dispositions of federal Crown lands.


94. Westbank First Nation shall be responsible for determining whether the criteria referred to in section 92 have been fulfilled. Westbank First Nation's determination shall be definitive and can be relied upon as such by Canada.

95. For greater certainty, the land alienated in accordance with sections 92 and 93 shall no longer be "Lands reserved for the Indians" under subsection 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867.

Blue Divider Line

ARCS: 292-30
File: TRA-2011-00173
August 24, 2011

Dear Westsider:

Re: Request for Access to Records

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA)

I am writing further to your request received by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. You requested
A copy of the land agreement between Westbank First Nations and the Provincial Government over the lands at Rose Valley Kelowna in exchange for 8 acres of Westbank First Nations Land for the William Bennett Bridge and Westside Road
Interchange at West Kelowna.

Although a thorough search was conducted, no records were located in response to your request.

Your file is now closed.

If you have any questions regarding your request, please contact Krista Jones, the analyst assigned to your request, at (250) 356-0386. This number can be reached toll-free by calling from Vancouver, 604-660-7867, or from elsewhere in BC, 1-800-663-7867 and asking to be transferred to (250) 356-0386.

Ministry of Labour, Citizens' Shared Services
Services and Open Government Information Access Operations
Mailing Address:
PO Box 9569 Stn Prov Go"t
Victoria Be V8W 9Kl

Website:
http://www.gov.bc.ca/citz/iao
Telephone: 250-387-1321
Fax: 250-387-9843

You have the right to ask the Information and Privacy Commissioner to review this decision. I have enclosed information on the review and complaint process.

Sincerely,
Russ Fuller, Manager
Business and Infrastructure Team
Information Access Operations
Enclosure

------------------------------------

Minister of Labour, Citizens’ Services and Open Government

MLA: Hon. Stephanie Cadieux

Surrey-Panorama

Elected: 2009 BRITISH COLUMBIA LIBERAL PARTY

E-mail: stephanie.cadieux.mla "at" leg.bc.ca
Web site: www.stephaniecadieuxmla.bc.ca

Office:
Room 236
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4

Phone:  250 952-7623
Fax: 250 952-7628

Constituency:
120 – 5455 152nd Street
Surrey, BC
V3S 5A5

Phone:  604 574-5662
Fax:  604 574-5691

---------------------------------------------------

HONOURABLE STEPHANIE CADIEUX
PO BOX 9086 STN PROV GOVT
VICTORIA BC V8W 9E2
Telephone: 250 952-7623
Fax: 250 952-7628

Blue Divider Line

This was posted on Castanet.net Forum page 9 .... could this be true do you think?

Re: West Kelowna Strongly Objects to Proposed Land Exchange
by RichardWede » Today, 10:48 am

Blueberry is WFN and does not want you to know any more about this deal than you already do, as it's not in his/her best interests to have transparency on the issue. Just the same as WFN won't report the number of moose or deer they kill to help the province manage our wildlife resources. The less we know about the size of handouts, the better, apparently.

The way I see the process as it unfolded is as follows:

Individual land holders were already given both fair market value in cash and replacement land for the 8 acres (this has already occurred). In essence, they have already received double compensation for the 8 acres, not including all the road upgrades onto their lands and the construction contract profits.

Band members see individual band land holders getting a piece of the pie, and they want some too. So, in an effort to avoid any waves in the WFN pool, the province tries to quietly grant them "hush land" to keep them happy.

DWK finds out and the "hush" turns into uproar. And rightly so, IMO.

I, for one, am sick and tired of paying ransom to this group.

Blue Divider Line

West Kelowna land swap deal is ‘totally out to lunch’
Kelowna Capital News - August 11, 2011

To the editor:

The proposed swap of eight acres of Westbank First Nations land for 698 acres of Crown land is totally out to lunch.

The WFN are not really “giving up” the eight acres of land because the interchange development on Highway 97 offers them the most benefit.

1. The Band has the management contract to build the interchange.

2. They no longer have a set of inconvenient traffic lights by their headquarters.

3. The interchange gives smooth, attractive access to huge WFN planned developments—both commercial and residential (new shopping mall, West Harbour, etc.)

4. The interchange will increase the development potential of land around the corner that’s owned by both the band and individual band members.

5. “Giving up” this land gave WFN an enormous tool to take to the bargaining table with the province.

Boy are we being suckered.

I understand that Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart is an astute businessman. Sadly, in this case, I do not think that MLA Stewart is exercising his business acumen on behalf of the constituents who elected him to his position of trust as their MLA. Looking after the interests of the people who voted for him is his job. I humbly suggest that MLA Stewart looks around at all sources of media and assess the level of disapproval for the land swap.

The Regional District of the Central Okanagan does not agree with the swap. The District of West Kelowna does not agree with it. Local news media are voicing their disapproval. Forums have a majority of posters disagreeing with the swap.

Pray, MLA Stewart, listen to the voices that voted for you. We do not want this inequitable travisty to go ahead.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Blair Lekstrom says: “We can’t enter into an agreement that would jeopardize the watershed,” and “There will be a solution for that.”

What is his idea of jeopardizing the watershed? What is the “solution?”

What if WFN feel that their plans (now or in the future) don’t jeopardize the watershed?

Who is going to fight that battle—the province? Dont forget—WFN land does not come under the jurisdiction of the province. They would be totally helpless because WFN is self-governing and only “answer” to the Federal government.

The WFN were compensated for the bridge land by receiving land on Devon Road. If I remember correctly, under the province, that land was an orchard in the ALR. Immediately when the WFN took it into their ownership the ALR designation was voided because it was no longer under provincial jurisdiction. WFN can build whatever they wish on the land. WFN is self governing and does not answer to the province. So why would the province be able to have any sway over WFN’s future plans for any part of that 698 acres?

Water is life in the Okanagan. We must not allow the province to give away any Crown land that is a part of the water reservoir for the West Kelowna municipality.

Heather Yeats,
West Kelowna

Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon August 22, 2011 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

There was nothing mentioned in the Highlights about WFN land swap of 8 acres for the Westside Road Interchange in exchange for 698 acres of crown land and Road Improvements

-------------------------------

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio August 22, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (307 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files August 22, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about WFN land swap of 8 acres for the Westside Road Interchange in exchange for almost 700 acres of crown land and Road Improvements - .wma (935 KB)

.pdf icon August 22, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 6.2 Letter Mary Mandarino re Rose Valley Land Swap Proposal.pdf

August 16th 2011.
Topic: Rose Valley Land Swap Proposal
To: Mayor and Council and CAD, Mr. Jason Johnson

Members of our community are very concerned with the Provincial Government Proposal to swap land in the Rose Valley Watershed and surrounding area.

Westside Resident's and Business Association supports DWK Mayor and Council and RDCO Board decision to not sign any agreements until full disclosure of theses agreement documents become known to them.

It is the opinion of the WRBA Executive that the land sizes and values are confounding variables.

The basic principle is that no matter where it is located our water is a precious resource and as such it is priceless.

Once again we emphatically state that our water and surrounding lands is not for sale nor is it for trade.

It is our firm opinion that no land swap associated with our water, whether it be lake or river or stream, will ever be acceptable to us as taxpaying citizens.

This is our position no matter the negotiating parties, private or other government bodies.

The action that we are undertaking to protect public ownership of the Rose Valley Watershed and surrounding land is as follows:
1. A Press Release stating our position
2. Letters, emails and phone calls to Premier Christy Clark, Minister Leckstrom and MLA Ben Stewart.
3. A petition is currently being circulated
4. We are organizing an information meeting for community representatives including neighbourhood associations.
5. We are requesting the Province provide full disclosure of this proposed agreement and any other agreements that may be in the works.
6. We are requesting an Environmental Impact Study
7. Investigating IHA Standards that apply in this instance.

We will continue to update you on our progress and results.

Respectfully, Mary Mandarino

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio August 22, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (307 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files August 22, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about WFN land swap of 8 acres for the Westside Road Interchange in exchange for almost 700 acres of crown land and Road Improvements - .wma (935 KB)

.pdf icon August 22, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

6.2 Letter Mary Mandarino re: Rose Valley Land Swap Proposal (for your information)

District of West Kelowna resident Mary Mandarino's correspondence of August 17, 2011 outlined her concerns regarding the proposed Rose Valley land swap.

It was noted that various neighbourhood associations in West Kelowna are voicing their concerns regarding this issue.

SHEPHERD/FIELDING
THAT the August 17, 2011 email from Mary Mandarino regarding the proposed Rose Valley land swap be received.

CARRIED

-------------------------------

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio August 22, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (307 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files August 22, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about WFN land swap of 8 acres for the Westside Road Interchange in exchange for almost 700 acres of crown land and Road Improvements - .wma (935 KB)

Blue Divider Line

TWO CENTRAL OKANAGAN WEST DIRECTORS???

Why are there going to be two Central Okanagan West Directors ... two for WFN and only one for everyone else???

I am pissed off.. how about you??

This WFN crap has to stop!!!

We should start a petition against this. We are being voted out by approx. 700 WFN members??

okanaganlakebc.ca wants two Directors too then!!!

.pdf icon August 11, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 11.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report.pdf

Corporate Services:

002 - Administration (pages 127): Discussions are underway regarding the Service Agreement with Westbank First Nation. Legal counsel is to provide an assignment of services document to transfer services to District of West Kelowna per the service agreement.

Board:
001 - Board (Page 165): There will be an election in November. Discussions have been initiated with the Provincial Government and Westbank First Nation to determine the process that would allow the WFN to become a full voting member of the Regional Board.

047 - Mosquito Control (Page 9): The BC Ministry of Health has approved 2011 Program funding in the amount of $269,900 to reduce mosquito larvae by treating approximately 300 known breeding sites on public lands and more than 11,000 roadside catch basins within the Regional District and its member municipalities. Residential Taxes in the amount of $31.5k are budgeted to be collected for the program in 2011. These monies will be carried over to 2012 to augment the Nuisance Control Program if Provincial Funding is not received. A five year contract has been awarded to BWP Consulting for Nuisance Mosquito
Control Services. WFN has been added to the Grant Program and is now included in the monitoring and treatment area.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio August 11, 2011 audio of entire Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (195 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files August 11, 2011 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about the Item 11.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report - .wma (6.14 MB)

.pdf icon August 11, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

11. Finance

11.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report, Year-to-date - June 30, 2011

The Quarterly Program Measures Report, year-to-date June 30, 2011, Executive Summary was presented for information and review. Staff highlighted any areas of financial concern to date within the Executive Summary.

The Committee was reminded it is staff's responsibility to identify any change from their original plans including goals, revenues, expenses and that it's the Board's responsibility to ensure the documents are reviewed and any concerns raised.

SHEPHERD/FINDLATER
THAT the Quarterly Measures Report, Year-to-date June 30,2011 be received.

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio August 11, 2011 audio of entire Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (195 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files August 11, 2011 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about the Item 11.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report - .wma (6.14 MB)

Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon August 11, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Highlights

Nothing was mentioned in the highlights about WFN land swap of 8 acres for the Westside Road Interchange in exchange for almost 700 acres of crown land nor about Westside Road improvements mentioned by City of Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio August 11, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (30.7 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files August 11, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about WFN land swap of 8 acres for the Westside Road Interchange in exchange for almost 700 acres of crown land and Road Improvements - .wma (1.43 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files August 11, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about WFN land swap of 8 acres for the Westside Road Interchange in exchange for almost 700 acres of crown land and Road Improvements - .wma (1.43 MB)

.pdf icon August 11, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Nothing was mentioned in the Agenda about WFN land swap of 8 acres for the Westside Road Interchange in exchange for almost 700 acres of crown land nor about Westside Road improvements mentioned by City of Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio August 11, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (30.7 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files August 11, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about WFN land swap of 8 acres for the Westside Road Interchange in exchange for almost 700 acres of crown land and Road Improvements - .wma (1.43 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files August 11, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about WFN land swap of 8 acres for the Westside Road Interchange in exchange for almost 700 acres of crown land and Road Improvements - .wma (1.43 MB)

.pdf icon August 11, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

There is no Agenda or Highlights about this because it was a Director Item

7. DIRECTOR ITEMS

3) UBCM Convention - Meetings with cabinet ministers

Chair Hobson noted that meetings have been requested with Ministers Lake and Thomson regarding License of Occupations.

It was recommended that a meeting request be submitted for the Minister of Transportation regarding safety of Westside Road.

SHEPHERD/EDGSON
THAT a meeting request be submitted for UBCM Convention meetings with cabinet ministers to the Minister of Transportation regarding the safety issues on Westside Road.

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio August 11, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (30.7 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files August 11, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about WFN land swap of 8 acres for the Westside Road Interchange in exchange for almost 700 acres of crown land and Road Improvements - .wma (1.43 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files August 11, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about WFN land swap of 8 acres for the Westside Road Interchange in exchange for almost 700 acres of crown land and Road Improvements - .wma (1.43 MB)

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This is about the Regional District of Central Okanagan's position in regard to the exchange of land between WFN (8 acres) for (approx. 700 acres) Crown Land near Rose Valley Regional Park

While reading about this, keep in mind that critical transportation arteries under the provincial government serve both WFN and DWK.

No Regional District Support for Crown Land Exchange

The Regional Board is unanimous in opposition to a Crown land application that has been discussed in camera over the past two years. The Board resolution does not support a proposed application from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure relating to a portion of Rose Valley Regional Park and the adjacent Rose Valley reservoir watershed.

In October 2009, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure advised the Regional District of its intention to apply for a Land Act map reserve status for several Crown land parcels in the vicinity of Bear Creek Road (District Lots 489, 4089, 4183 and Unsurveyed Crown Land adjacent to DL 4183) including one within the north-east boundary of Rose Valley Regional Park. The Ministry indicated all or part of the subject parcels might be used to finalize property settlements with the Westbank First Nation in connection with the Highway 97 improvements within reserve lands. The Crown land parcels were intended to be added to the Westbank First Nation reserves.

In discussing the Ministry referral notice, the Regional Board opposed the unilateral action of the Ministry in light of the Regional District’s legal and historical License of Occupation and tenure from the Province, that was approved through a public process, to protect and environmentally steward those Crown lands that make up a portion of Rose Valley Regional Park for the benefit of all Central Okanagan residents. The current ten-year License runs through 2016 and includes RDCO tenure over DL 4186 within the northern section of the regional park, adjacent to Bear Creek Road.

In relation to this, the Board is concerned that if the land exchange occurs, a precedent will be set, where the Ministry can impact other legal tenure agreements with other local governments or agencies in other areas of the province.

The Board position continues to be consistent with its ongoing and strong opposition to the Province’s proposed sale of Crown lots adjacent to reservoir lakes, a position that the B.C. government decided last year not to pursue. The Regional District believes that drinking water resources and their watersheds must be protected in the interest of public safety. As several of the proposed land exchange parcels are adjacent to the historic Rose Valley reservoir, formerly built and maintained by the Lakeview Irrigation District and now within the jurisdiction of the District of West Kelowna, and in the absence of any long-term future land use information, the Board is concerned that the reservoir may be adversely impacted if the land exchange is permitted.

Finally, the Regional Board is concerned that as legal tenure license holder, it has not been afforded the opportunity of actively participating from the beginning in this Crown land exchange proposal, but rather, is seen as an outside third party even though it seeks to protect the interests of all Central Okanagan residents.

The Regional District and the District of West Kelowna are united in pursuing this issue of regional interest.

(August 3, 2011)

Source: RDCO's What's New

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DWK awaits government offer
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 63721 - Aug 10, 2011

The ball remains firmly in the provincial government's court.

Kelowna Westside MLA Ben Stewart and Ministry of Transportation District Manager Murray Tekano
Photo: Wayne Moore - Castanet

Ministry of Transportation spokesman Murray Tekano (left) and MLA Ben Stewart

That's the opinion of West Kelowna Mayor, Doug Findlater, following the latest round of verbal dissertation over the proposed land swap between the province and Westbank First Nation. Under the proposal, the government is willing to transfer 698 acres of Crown Land on the Rose Valley Reservoir for eight acres of reserve land.

The reserve land along Highway 97 is being transferred to Ministry of Transportation control as part of highway improvements connected to construction of the W.R. Bennett Bridge plus the Campbell Road and Westside Road interchanges.

"MLA Stewart was bending my ear yesterday and he's going to send me a letter outlining what he's proposing in terms of discussions; we'll bring that to council and council can make a decision," says Findlater about the possibility of West Kelowna returning to the talks.

"The ball is in their court, as far as we're concerned, to reveal the full complexity of this. There were more surprises yesterday (Tuesday) about what was said and we want to know it all because it impacts on us very heavily.

Findlater and West Kelowna Council are upset about the value the government has placed on the reservoir lands. A WFN appraisal pegs the value at less than $6M while an appraisal commissioned by the municipality puts the figure between $28M and $60M depending on whether the land is developed or not.

Stewart announced Tuesday an independent, third-party review of the WFN appraisal is underway. The results of that review are expected to be made public within a couple of weeks.

"This is the kind of thing that should have been done at the time these arrangements were made. For starters, why now?" says Findlater.

"Another concern that came out as well is that the valuation they used were in fact the beneficiaries' (WFN) evaluations. I would hope that if one were managing and dealing with taxpayer-owned assets that one would have their own opinions."

Findlater says he was also surprised to learn Tuesday that $8M was also paid by the province in the deal.

"That was all new information. We didn't know that. Nobody knew that," adds Findlater.

According to Ministry of Transportation spokesman, Murray Tekano, part of the $8M was compensation for private land owners while another part was to address the impact of road changes and other things which affected WFN's ability to use the land.

"What's the totality of all of this?" asks Findlater.

"Granted, some of this may have to do with Campbell Road and the bridge but, where does one start and one end? How's it all tied together, and are there more elements to this?"

While Stewart and Tekano says nothing has been finalized, Findlater says there is talk of another interchange at Boucherie Road and Highway 97.

He says some lands in that area are municipal while others are WFN lands.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4hExBOJuBE&feature=player_embedded

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BC Transportation Minister - Blair Lekstrom - Minister.Transportation "at" gov.bc.ca - 250-387-1978

MLA Westside - Kelowna - Ben Stewart - ben.stewart.mla "at" leg.bc.ca - Kelowna office 250-768-8426
Victoria: 250-387-1023

District Manager of Transportation - Murray Tekano - Murray.Tekano "at" gov.bc.ca - 250-712-3629

West Kelowna Mayor - Doug Findlater - doug.findlater "at" districtofwestkelowna.ca - 250-801-3814 cell

West Kelowna Mayor and Council - mayorandcouncil "at" districtofwestkelowna.ca - 778-797-2210

ENQUIRY BC 1-800-663-7867

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Stewart: Land swap rivals HST
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 63704 - Aug 10, 2011

How angry are West Kelowna residents over a proposed land swap between the province and Westbank First Nation?


Kelowna - Westside MLA Ben Stewart
Photo: Wayne Moore - Castanet
Westside-Kelowna MLA, Ben Stewart

Westside-Kelowna MLA, Ben Stewart, has heard from a number of constituents through phone messages and e-mail.

"I think for Westside residents it's probably on an equivalent scale of bringing in the HST," Stewart revealed during a news conference to discuss the land swap Tuesday.

The proposed land swap would see 698 acres of Crown Land around the Rose Valley Reservoir transferred to WFN in exchange for eight acres of reserve lands which are being used in highway construction along Highway 97.

Stewart called Tuesday's news conference in an effort to quell opposition, especially that voiced by the District of West Kelowna.

The municipality is strongly opposed to the proposed land swap, partly because of what it believes is an inequity in land value.

An original appraisal commissioned by the WFN pegged the value of the Crown land at $5.9M.

Unhappy with the figures and being excluded from the negotiations, West Kelowna commissioned its own appraisal.

The municipality says its appraisal values the 698 acres at between $28M and $42M in an undeveloped or limited development state and up to $60M if developed to a residential urban standard.

The eight acres of WFN land is appraised at about $8.

Stewart announced Tuesday an independent, third-party review of the original assessment will take place.

A Penticton firm (Inland Appraisers) began the review two days ago and expects to release the results within a couple of weeks.

He says the review will ensure the WFN-sponsored appraisal, which the government has reviewed and agreed with, represents fair market value for the property.

"The province has committed to release the review to the public so they can have the facts."

The municipality has also asked to see the agreement being proposed, something Stewart says will not happen.

"The ministry is not going to share that information with them. We're not going to get into that type of negotiation. It's still an agreement that's private between two governments and that's the way it remains."

The land deal was made necessary when WFN lands were used in order to complete western access to the W.R. Bennett Bridge, Campbell Road Interchange and the Westside Road Interchange which is still under construction.

Stewart says getting the new bridge in place was a significant infrastructure improvement for the entire Central Okanagan.

"This new bridge that was opened two-and-a-half years ago was essentially an important and critical part of infrastructure here and we depend on the infrastructure to be able to move goods and services and a lot of the things we are talking about we try to do in an open and transparent matter where it makes sense."

He says without the participation of West Kelowna, the government has not been able to reach the conclusion it wants to which is an agreement that would protect the watershed and deal with the parkland.

Stewart implored the municipality to return to the table, saying it is the only way it could get the type of deal it is looking for.

He says reaching a deal without West Kelowna would be more difficult than if it were at the table but added a deal could still be reached.

No time frame has been set to complete the deal, although Stewart says they hope to have it done sooner rather than later.

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DWK asks province to come clean
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 63684 - Aug 8, 2011

The BC Government owes it to taxpayers to come clean on the circumstances surrounding the Province’s proposed Land Exchange with the Westbank First Nation, says West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater.

Findlater was responding to B.C. Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom’s recent representation of the facts surrounding the proposed land exchange deal the province has made with the WFN.

“First of all, Minister Lekstrom is not accurate when he suggests that the District of West Kelowna has been unwilling to discuss the controversial land exchange,” says Findlater.

“In fact, Council met with two senior ministry officials and Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart in late July; and, West Kelowna repeatedly asked for key documentation related to this deal, which is evident in letters sent to the Minister’s office on December 21, 2010 and April 13, 2011. Council met with then-Minister Shirley Bond in September 2010 to indicate our objection to the deal, and I reiterated this as recently as May when I met new Minister of Transportation Minister Lekstrom and MLA Stewart. We as a Council have had quite a few other meetings with MLA Stewart and/or Ministry staff.”

Findlater says staff was directed to decline further meetings and negotiations when it became apparent the Ministry was attempting to engage the District of West Kelowna in signing a so-called co-management agreement on watershed issues.

He says those negotiations would legitimize and sanction the go-ahead of the deal.

The land exchange arrangement is fundamentally not in West Kelowna’s interests, Findlater stated.

“Those instances were by no means any indication that West Kelowna was unwilling to come to the table. We continue to write to the province, requesting key documentation about the full scope of the arrangements, the whole deal for compensation and the valuation of the lands involved. These are fundamental to any further negotiations that might take place going forward.”

Findlater says the District of West Kelowna is also concerned about the figures Lekstrom is using in reporting the land values involved in the exchange.

“The Minister said the undeveloped land is worth $5.9 million. Where is he getting these figures from? In the interest of transparency, the province owes it to taxpayers to produce the documents that detail the valuations being placed on the 698 acres of Crown land, especially considering how vastly the numbers differ from the valuations the District of West Kelowna has researched. If it is a good deal, the Minister should be prepared to share it with the public, and also seek an opinion from the provincial auditor general on whether provincial taxpayers are getting the best value for the trading of assets.”

Council is very concerned about the obvious financial inequities of the deal, says Findlater.

“I remind the Minister of the figures West Kelowna has been provided, showing the 698 acres of land to be valued at between $28 million and $42 million in an undeveloped or limited development state. If developed to a residential urban standard, the land could be worth as much as $60 million. It is also important to note that the Rose Valley Regional Park lands (147 acres) to be transferred are immediately adjacent to an existing West Kelowna Estates neighbourhood and would certainly have to be fairly valued for its immediate development potential if it is no longer to be park land.”

The WFN’s eight acres of land is worth much less at $8 million.

“On the surface, this part of the compensation comes across as a poor deal on the province’s part, and West Kelowna must hold the government accountable on this one. We need to see the full magnitude of the contractual arrangements, including compensation for other lands for the transportation corridor. We call on Minister Lekstrom to open up the documents. Put the facts on the table for West Kelowna and BC’s taxpayers to see.”

West Kelowna Council said it is not only concerned about the apparent financial inequities of the deal, but also the loss of Rose Valley Regional Park land and the potential impact on one of the District of West Kelowna’s drinking water reservoirs.

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Province trades 698 acres for 8 acres
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 63586 - Aug 4, 2011

Both the District of West Kelowna and the Regional District of Central Okanagan have come down hard against a land swap between the provincial government and Westbank First Nation.

As part of the land deal, the province would turn over a 698 acre parcel of Crown Land located at the north end and east end of Rose Valley Reservoir to WFN in exchange for eight acres of reserve land being used, in part, for the development of the Westside Road Interchange.

West Kelowna Mayor, Doug Findlater says the deal fails to protect the interests of taxpayers and residents of the District of West Kelowna and the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

He says the municipality and RDCO have several issues with the swap, including:
• The apparent disparity in the values of the properties being exchanged
• Potential impact on the municipality's water supply
• A reduction in the size of Rose Valley Regional Park
• Future loss of municipal tax revenue

"The one that really upsets me is the reservoir watershed issue. A portion of the land adjacent to Rose Valley Reservoir, which was basically dammed and operated by Lakeview Irrigation District for some 4,000 families, could go out of local government and provincial government control," says Findlater.

"There would be very limited opportunities to exercise control of any development that might take place in that area. That would have an impact on our drinking water."

Over the past few years, municipalities across the province have opposed the selling of leased lots around reservoir lakes into private hands.

"We see this as not very different."

Findlater says he is also upset with the apparent financial inequity of the land swap.

He says government officials have refused to provide details of the deal, leaving it up to the municipality to retain a company to provide preliminary valuation of the lands.

According to that valuation, the interchange lands have a value of approximately $1M per acre ($8M) while the Crown Lands are valued at between $28M and $42M in an undeveloped form and up to $60M if it were rezoned and developed to an urban residential standard.

Negotiations between the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and WFN have been going on for more than two years.

Local government were advised of the swap in October, 2009.

Findlater says both local governments have asked to see the agreement on numerous occasions in order to be able to properly respond to the request from the province to endorse the agreement.

So far, they have not received anything.

He says he feels the province is trying to bully local governments into signing on with the deal.

"Both the Regional District Board and council are frustrated and feel we are being pushed to sign on to something we don't agree with."

Findlater says the province has told them the deal can be signed with or without local support.

"That's our dilemma. Do we go along with this and negotiate something so terribly odious or do we stand up and say this is not acceptable. That's what we've decided to do."

He says it's up to the province to fix this and hopes that, by going public, members of the public will tell the government what it thinks of the agreement.

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Mayor says viewing ‘whole deal’ will provide clarity
Kelowna Capital News - Okanagan Similkameen - By Wade Paterson - August 05, 2011

The District of West Kelowna is requesting that the province put the entire land exchange deal between Westbank First Nation and the provincial government, on the table.

“Nobody has ever seen this; they’ve refused to provide this contractual agreement,” said West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater.

“We simply don’t know what all the implications are on the whole thing.”

Findlater said that the district has received a limited amount of information about the land exchange, which has left it guessing about the overall impact it may have.

“We have very little in writing on this except a letter asking us to register our concerns. We’ve never seen the appraisal comparing the various lands,” said Findlater.

But the B.C. Minister of Transportation, Blair Lekstrom, said that the District of West Kelowna has been the one opting out of receiving information. “We have had discussions with the District of West Kelowna. It’s unfortunate they have chosen to not come to the table for whatever reason. That one, I’m somewhat confused on.”

Lekstrom also mentioned that appraisals had been done on the 698-acre proposal. He said that the public was misinformed by the District of West Kelowna’s suggestions that the land was estimated to be worth between $28 million and $42 million.

“The 698-acre parcel is an undeveloped, raw piece of land, much of it (can’t be developed) in many cases. The appraisal was $5.9 million,” said Lekstrom.

“The parcel that was exchanged, so we could continue to build our infrastructure that was needed for everybody in the region, was assessed at $8 million. So, in fact, the taxpayers of B.C. have done very well on this.


Lekstrom said he was surprised when asked about the claims that the District of West Kelowna has written repeatedly to request documents about the negotiation and the agreement on the land exchange, to no avail.

“As it stands right now, District of West Kelowna elected officials have told their staff not to engage. The ball is in their court. We’re more than willing to be at the table, to have these discussions.”

Lekstrom also addressed the concerns about Rose Valley Regional Park and the adjacent Rose Valley Reservoir watershed.

“We can’t enter into an agreement that would jeopardize the watershed. That’s clear to everybody and that’s just not going to happen,” Lekstrom explained. “The park issue is something near and dear to the people in that region. There has been discussions with WFN on looking at that park and maintaining it. Those discussions are ongoing; there is no final agreement yet.”

Findlater said West Kelowna is left with a dilemma: “Do we sit at the table and put our concerns out there and reach some kind of an agreement on those concerns for what’s fundamentally wrong and odious? Or do we simply say, ‘No, this is not acceptable?’” said Findlater.

According to the mayor, there are still missing pieces of the puzzle.

“This is not the only thing that’s going on with regard to addition to the reserve. There are two other requests to add property in the area of Devon Road and Old Ferry Wharf Road to the Westbank First Nation as well.”

According to Findlater, the district has questions about other possible arrangements as well.

“What are the arrangements if they secure these roads as reserve land for other roads to be built in to those areas to service them? Then, are they expecting to recover additional land because those roads on the reserve land would become provincial roads?”

Findlater believes that this deal may go back to before the municipality was incorporated.

“As far as we can tell, without actually looking at the agreement—which hasn’t been shared with us—the fundamentals of this agreement were ironed out between the province, ministry of transportation and infrastructure and Westbank First Nation in conjunction with the W.R. Bennett Bridge in 2006 or 2007.”

According to Findlater, the regional district, which was the local government at the time, was never consulted when the deal was being put together, nor was the Lakeview Irrigation District, which was in existence as a form of local government for water utilities. The irrigation district also built the dam on Rose Valley Reservoir.

“Fast forward to October 2009. The District of West Kelowna was informed by the provincial government that they put what they call a map reserve on these parcels in the Rose Valley area to transfer to WFN,” Findlater said.

“In November, we registered our objection. We simply did not favour this because of the loss of potential park land.”

Findlater thought that might have put an end to it; however, in October 2010 the provincial government came back wanting to get the deal done.

“In December 2010, after a lot of evaluation, we wrote a very detailed letter indicating our objection and multiple reasons why.”

That letter was written to then minister of transportation, Shirley Bond. The letter specifically requested a land appraisal.

After no response, another letter was sent to Lekstrom on April 13, 2011. “We did not receive a formal reply until June, 2011 from Lekstrom. That letter said, ‘We’ll be happy to talk,’ rather than anything substantial in terms of addressing our concerns,” Findlater said.

A final letter was sent to local MLA Ben Stewart on July 26, 2011, referencing unanswered concerns from previous letters.

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District against land swap
Kelowna Capital News - Okanagan Similkameen - By Wade Paterson - August 04, 2011

The District of West Kelowna is objecting to a proposed land exchange between Westbank First Nation and the provincial government.

The proposed exchange would see WFN gain a 698-acre plot of Crown land in exchange for eight acres of reserve land, which are being used for the development of the Westside Road interchange.

Mayor Doug Findlater said the deal goes against the interests of taxpayers in the District of West Kelowna and the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

“Council is especially concerned because the provincial government refuses to provide the District of West Kelowna with a copy of the agreement it has signed with the Westbank First Nation, despite numerous requests for the document,” said Findlater.

Findlater also noted the province has yet to provide the district with any of the land appraisals regarding the land exchange. The portion of Crown land under consideration is near Rose Valley Reservoir and takes up a portion of Rose Valley Regional Park.

“Rose Valley Reservoir is the drinking water source for almost half of our community and having land use control around the reservoir transferred to another jurisdiction beyond our control is not acceptable,” said Findlater.

Westbank First Nation stated both they and the B.C. Ministry of Transportation have been working closely to come to a resolution that satisfies the contractual obligation of the provincial government regarding the land exchange.

“Westbank First Nation recognized and accommodated the needs of the greater community when providing the land used for the Highway 97 corridor, and acted in good faith with the province regarding the conditions for use of WFN lands,” said a WFN news release.

“WFN is committed, like any local government, to managing their resources responsibly.

“WFN places a high value on the environment and the protection of watersheds, and is committed to working with neighboring governments within established protocols,” it reads.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan, however, has confirmed it is against the exchange.

“The regional board is unanimous in opposition to a Crown land application that has been discussed in camera over the past two years,” the RDCO stated in a press release.

“The board resolution does not support a proposed application from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure relating to a portion of Rose Valley Regional Park and the adjacent Rose Valley reservoir watershed.”

The regional board said it is concerned that, if the land exchange occurs, a precedent will be set where the ministry can impact other legal tenure agreements with other local governments or agencies in other areas of the province.

wpaterson "at" kelownacapnews.com

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.pdf icon July 14, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

There was nothing mentioned in the G&S Agenda about this tour of WFN Development Lands

Other: Westbank First Nation

Chair Hobson noted that he and Director Baker recent met with Westbank First Nation and one of the issues raised was to set a date to tour their development lands. It was agreed that September 20th would be a possible date for directors. Staff will confirm the arrangements with Chief Louie's office and reconfirm with directors.

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.pdf icon June 27, 2011 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

There was nothing mentioned in the Highlights about Westbank First Nation's request for voting privileges

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 27, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (208 MB)

Windows Media File Icon June 27, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about the WFN becoming a voting member - .wma (1.15 MB)

.pdf icon June 27, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon There is nothing in the Agenda about Westbank First Nation's request for voting privileges

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 27, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (208 MB)

Windows Media File Icon June 27, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about the WFN becoming a voting member - .wma (1.15 MB)

.pdf icon June 27, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

12. OTHER BUSINESS

12.1 Director Items

j) WFN voting at the Regional Board table

Staff are continuing discussions with the Province on Westbank First Nation's request for voting privileges at the Regional Board table.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 27, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (208 MB)

Windows Media File Icon June 27, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about the WFN becoming a voting member - .wma (1.15 MB)

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This is what helps creates racism.. look at all the money being spent unnecessarily.  Maybe if the Natives paid tax like everyone else maybe there wouldn't be so much racism against aboriginals?

okanaganlakebc.ca is fuming over all this money!  Its not the Natives helping to pay for this.

It has only been in the last year that there have been talks over WFN paying school taxes like everyone else.  And school taxes make up a good portion of the property tax bill.  People who don't have children still have to pay school taxes!

Province targets racism
Vernon Morning Star - By Staff Writer - June 03, 2011

Vernon is gaining a hand to help residents embrace each other’s differences.

The province is investing $47,000 in two Vernon organizations to inspire individuals to welcome, accept and embrace differences while promoting harmonious, safe communities.

Vernon and District Immigrant Services Society will receive $25,000 for Interfaith Bridging, while the Social Planning Council for the North Okanagan will receive $22,000 to go towards combatting hate and racism.

“We are a multicultural society and bridging the gaps between cultures can only make us stronger. These grants and these organizations help us create a more tolerant and inclusive B.C.,” said Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster

Some of the goals of the program:

•Promotion of tolerance for other people’s values, including faith, spirituality, culture, ethnicity and racial identities builds closer communities.

•Freedom of religious beliefs and cultural expressions is the right of all Canadians.

•By celebrating cultural diversity, everyone benefits.

•Almost 30 per cent of British Columbians emigrated from another country.

•One quarter of people in B.C. are visible minorities, and five per cent identify as Aboriginal.

•The most ethnically diverse province in Canada, B.C. welcomes nearly 40,000 new immigrants every year.

•Since 2002, the Province has invested $7.9 million toward multiculturalism and anti-racism programs.

•During that same period, the Province has invested more than $2.2 million through EmbraceBC to help 65 communities promote multiculturalism and address issues of racism and hate.

•EmbraceBC is part of WelcomeBC, the province’s strategic immigration framework. EmbraceBC funding is provided by the Province and the Government of Canada through the Agreement for Canada-B.C. Co-operation on Immigration.

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Crown Land Referrals

In more recent years, the courts have provided greater clarity with respect to Aboriginal title and rights and the obligation of government to consult with and accommodate the interests of First Nations before granting rights in Crown lands where there is a prima facie case for Aboriginal title. Westbank implemented a Crown Land Referrals process to receive and respond to applications for activities on Crown Lands with the Westbank Administrative Area that may have an impact on the Aboriginal title or rights of Westbank or Westbank Members.

Source - http://www.wfn.ca/intergovaff.asp

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Westside Road pullouts called a safety measure
By Kathy Michaels - Kelowna Capital News - May 07, 2011

Complaints about a windy stretch of Westside Road aren’t new, but with Tuesday’s deadly crash top of mind, its safety shortcomings have become more pronounced.

It’s not an issue that has escaped the radar of the B.C. Ministry of Transportation, however, and there are plans in the works to lessen the strain on the road.

“The ministry is assessing up to 10 pullout sites to enable slower-moving vehicles, such as heavy commercial vehicles and recreational vehicles, to safely pull over so that other vehicles can pass,” said Jeff Knight, communications manager for the ministry of transportation and infrastructure.

“The first two locations just south of La Casa and at Cesar’s Landing are double sites, with pullouts on two sides of the roadway, both north and southbound.”

The other six are all single locations for a total of 10.

Once installed, they’re intended to reduce driver frustration, and the risk of unsafe passing maneuvers—two things that might have led to Tuesday’s crash.

That collision occurred Tuesday at about 6:30 p.m. on a stretch of Westside Road, about seven kilometres north of Highway 97. The driver of a Cadillac sedan, is believed to have tried to pass a northbound Toyota station wagon on a sharp curve. Instead the Cadillac sideswiped the vehicle, forcing it into the cement barrier on the side of the road. Then the Cadillac driver lost control and the vehicle plunged down a steep embankment. The car was submerged when emergency personnel arrived.

The body of a man, believed to be in his 60s, was recovered Thursday. The occupants of the other vehicle were shaken up but not injured.

The start of construction will depend on the results of both required engineering work and further consultation with First Nations on land use issues.

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Ground finally broken on new mall
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 61277 - Apr 6, 2011

Nearly a year after plans were first announced, ground has broken on a new shopping centre adjacent to the Westbank First Nation Administration offices.

Ground was broken Wednesday.

Plans for the shopping centre were initially unveiled in April, 2010.

At the time, only Landmark Cinemas was announced as a tenant with plans for a six screen theatre.

Those plans have since grown.

“Landmark Cinemas is looking forward to the opening of our newest, state of the art theatre with features not found elsewhere in the Okanagan,” says Neil Campbell of Landmark Cinemas.

"The theatre will feature eight 3-D capable cinemas with curved screens and one EXTREME equipped auditorium, as well as many other conveniences designed to provide the best in movie-going experiences."

The shopping centre is expected to be open in spring, 2012.

“We are very excited to partner with Churchill and PDG on this development project,” says Chief Robert Louie.

“Not only will the new shopping centre provide amenities to the area, but as part owners, the Westbank First Nation community will realize benefits of this development for generations to come. We couldn’t be more pleased to see the project underway.”

Along with Landmark Cinemas, the shopping centre will also include a major Canadian drug store, a major liquor store, Dollarama, banks and restaurants.

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RDCO Board highlights
Castanet.net - by Contributed - Story: 60991 - Mar 23, 2011

The following are highlights from the Regional District of Central Okanagan Board meeting held Monday, March 21, 2011.

Westbank First Nation – Voting Rights - The Regional Board has authorized staff to initiate discussions with the Provincial Government and Westbank First Nation to determine the process that would allow the Westbank First Nation (WFN) to become a full voting member of the Regional Board. Since 2007, the WFN Council has appointed a non-voting representative to the Regional Board: a position that was confirmed in the Services Agreement between the Regional District and WFN signed in January 2007.

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.pdf icon March 21, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Highlights of the Regular Board Meeting

Westbank First Nation – Voting Rights

The Regional Board has authorized staff to initiate discussions with the Provincial Government and Westbank First Nation to determine the process that would allow the Westbank First Nation (WFN) to become a full voting member of the Regional Board. Since 2007, the WFN Council has appointed a non-voting representative to the Regional Board: a position that was confirmed in the Services Agreement between the Regional District and WFN signed in January 2007.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 21, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting .mp3 (165 MB)

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 21, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting revised .mp3 (176 MB)

Windows Media Player File Icon - Click here for help with the audio files March 21, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting of just the revised section that was added later .wma (2.47 MB)

Windows Media File Icon March 21, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about the WFN becoming an RDCO voting member - .wma (5.09 MB)

.pdf icon March 21, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 6.4 Westbank First Nation.pdf

WESTBANK FIRST NATION

February 28, 2010

Regional District of Central Okanagan
1450 K.L.O. Road
Kelowna, B.C.
V1W 3Z4

Attention: Robert Hobson, Chair RDCO Board

Dear Mr. Hobson:

RE: WFN becoming voting member of RDCO Board

We are writing in reference to a recent meeting between Mr. Pat Fosbery, WFN CAO, and Mr. Harold Ray, RDCO CAO, regarding the status of WFN on the RDCO Board.

At that meeting Mr. Ray suggested that WFN approach you with the request that you undertake to initiate the process which would make WFN a voting member of the Board. As Chief and Council of WFN we are in full support of this proposal and by this letter hereby request that you initiate this process.

If WFN can be of any assistance in this matter, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Fosbery.

Respectfully,
WESTBANK FIRST NATION

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 21, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting .mp3 (165 MB)

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 21, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting revised .mp3 (176 MB)

Windows Media Player File Icon - Click here for help with the audio files March 21, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting of just the revised section that was added later .wma (2.47 MB)

Windows Media File Icon March 21, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about the WFN becoming an RDCO voting member - .wma (5.09 MB)

.pdf icon March 21, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

6.4 Westbank First Nation (WFN) - re: WFN becoming a voting member of the RDCO Board

The Regional Board received a letter dated February 28, 2011 from Westbank First Nation Council requesting that WFN become a voting member at the Regional Board table. It was noted that due to the relationship with the Regional District many issues affect WFN but that the WFN member does not have a vote particularly issues on contractual in nature.

The issue of a vote was offered to WFN many years ago, but the Band at the time did not want to be a voting member. It was noted that Metro Vancouver has a voting Band member at their Board table.

Questions were raised on whether there are costs associated with representation, what services would they vote on, what services would they participate in, and what is the voting structure? Staff noted that the Province will need to be contacted to discuss the logistics and any technical issues to be worked out.

BAKER/EDGSON
THAT the February 28, 2011 letter from Westbank First Nation Council requesting WFN become a voting member at the Regional Board table be received;

AND FURTHER THAT staff enter into discussion with the Province and Westbank First Nation around the principle of WFN participating as a full member of the Regional Board and that staff report back to the Board with a preliminary report.

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 21, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting .mp3 (165 MB)

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 21, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting revised .mp3 (176 MB)

Windows Media Player File Icon - Click here for help with the audio files March 21, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting of just the revised section that was added later .wma (2.47 MB)

Windows Media File Icon March 21, 2011 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about the WFN becoming an RDCO voting member - .wma (5.09 MB)

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Gov't injects 100K into WFN
by Castanet Staff - Story: 60850 - Mar 17, 2011

The Westbank First Nation has received more than $100,000 from the federal government to go towards affordable housing on the reserve.

The Okanagan Indian Band will receive $90,777.

The Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), announced Wednesday an investment of more than $5.3 million as part of the year two funding through Canada’s Economic Action Plan to improve housing conditions for 49 First Nation communities in the Northern and Southern Regions of British Columbia.

Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), made the announcement along with members of the Westbank First Nation community.

“Year two of Canada’s Economic Action Plan demonstrates that our government remains committed to improving housing conditions for First Nation communities in British Columbia,” says Minister Day.

“Today’s investment will provide quality, affordable housing while creating jobs and stimulating the local economy.”

Through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the Government of Canada has committed $400 million over two years to help close to 500 First Nation communities build needed new housing, repair and remediate existing non-profit housing for their members, and complement housing programs offered by CMHC.

This investment is also providing an economic stimulus for many First Nations and surrounding areas by creating jobs.

Some $63 million in federal investments through Canada’s Economic Action Plan will be made available to First Nations in British Columbia to address immediate housing needs.

Specifically, CMHC will allocate more than $5,350,000 to renovate and retrofit 460 housing units on-reserve in the Northern and Southern Regions of British Columbia.

“The retrofit of these homes is a step toward addressing our longstanding housing needs while helping us build housing for our community,” says Chief Robert Louie on behalf of the Westbank First Nation.

“These projects represent major life changes for families here on-reserve – and this opportunity would not have been possible without the support of the Government of Canada and our community would like to thank them.”

More information on this and other measures in Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the federal government’s plan to stimulate the economy and protect those hit hardest by the global recession, can be found at: www.actionplan.gc.ca

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WFN housing upgrade grants announced
By Alistair Waters - Kelowna Capital News - March 19, 2011

Westbank First Nation chief Robert Louie (right) shares a laugh with local Conservative MPs Stockwell Day (left) and Ron Cannan following a press conference on Wednesday to announce the federal government will grant the WFN $102,000 over the next two years to help improve living conditions for band members living on two Westside reserves.
Sean Connor/Capital News
Buy Kelowna Capital News Photos Online

The federal government is giving the Westbank First Nation $102,000 over two years to help improve living conditions for some of its members whose homes are located on its two Westside reserves.

Outgoing MP Stockwell Day made the announcement Wednesday, saying the money was part of $5.3 million that Ottawa will provide to help renovate and retrofit 460 housing units on reserves across B.C.

“Today’s investment will provide quality, affordable housing while creating jobs and stimulating the economy,” said Day.

The local MP announced last weekend he will not run for re-election in the next federal election. Pending the outcome of the vote to approve next week’s federal budget—a vote that could prompt the next election— this funding announcement could be one of his last as an MP.

Following the announcement, Day said helping constituents will be one of the parts of his job that he will miss the most when he leaves politics.

WFN Chief Robert Louie said the retrofitting of the 18 homes on the reserves, as well as previous funding over the last year for similar projects, is another step towards addressing the long-standing housing needs of his band.

“These projects represent major life changes for families here on reserve,” said Louie.

The grant money can be used for such home renovation projects as installing new windows, roofs and repairs, as well as retrofitting some homes to be more energy efficient.

One WFN member who hopes to have a new roof put on her home—a house she is currently buying from the WFN—is Dorris Alexander.

Alexander agreed grants such as this latest federal contribution will help improve living conditions for band members and that they are badly needed.

Day said the B.C. program is part of a larger national program that was oversubscribed shortly after it was announced. The money is being provided through the government Economic Action Plan.

Day praised the WFN as being very organized when it came to applying for the grants, something that made his job easier lobbying on the band’s behalf for the funding.

The money for 49 First Nation communities in B.C., including the WFN, will be made available over the next two years.

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STUDY OF THE TAX AND SERVICE IMPLICATIONS OF BILL C-115

All About Westbank First Nations

http://www.rbish.ca/BillC115report.pdf

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End all special tax treatment for natives.

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WFN Crown Land Gravel Pit application out Westside Road next to La Casa Strata and Resort of approx. 500 homes.

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ORL and WFN to reach deal on library services
Kelowna Capital News - By Mike Simmons - November 26, 2010

Assistant librarian David Finnis shelves volumes at the Westbank branch of the Okanagan Regional Library. The library will be more accessible to residents of Westbank First Nation land under an agreement that would administer a similar fee structure as other system stakeholders.
Mike Simmons/Capital News

A new agreement will see residents of Westbank First Nation land receive the same levels of library service as residents of the district of West Kelowna.

Okanagan Regional Library executive director Lesley Dieno said the library system has an agreement in principle that the WFN will commit to a longer-term contract.

The library system and the WFN have been running a pilot project for the past three years, where people who live on reserve land received library services and the band collected taxes from them.

Dieno noted that demand for library services has been about the same as everywhere else, with around 60 per cent of residents using the library.

The pilot project involved the ORL providing library services to WFN residents for about $30,000 to $40,000.

Dieno said the WFN wanted to find out if it was worthwhile providing the service to the public so that residents could get free library cards.

When library services were not in place, WFN residents had to pay $75 per year for a library card.

Dieno said the WFN was paying the library system a stated amount for library services each year, so it could try it out and make sure people who lived on reserve land still wanted the service.

After the pilot project, talks began this summer.

Dieno noted the WFN wanted to come into the system under the same conditions as other municipalities, regional districts and the Penticton Indian Band.

“They agreed they would pay what everyone else does,” she said.

The arrangement will see the WFN get a vote on the library board and pay a percentage of the total library system operating costs.

Dieno added that in principle, the contract says WFN-land residents are treated like everybody else is treated under the Library Act.

She noted the WFN will have a vote on the board, which it did not receive under the pilot project because it was not paying a full share of the cost at that time.

The agreement is being reviewed by lawyers with both the WFN and the library system, and still has to go through the library’s policy and planning committee.

Dieno said she anticipates the agreement will come to the library board in March of 2011.

msimmons "at" kelownacapnews.com

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District says WFN land developers get unfair break
Kelowna Capital News - By Mike Simmons - November 25, 2010

West Kelowna is asking to enter an informal dispute resolution process after hearing School District 23 will not be applying school site development cost charges to residential developers on Westbank First Nation land.

In a letter to the district of West Kelowna, school board chair Rolli Cacchioni explained School District 23 would not be asking Westbank First Nation to participate in the charge, due to the criteria of provincial legislation around the school site acquisition fee.

“Westbank First Nation lands fall under federal jurisdiction, as well; the Westbank First Nation is a self-governed nation which is not defined as a local government.”

Cacchioni noted the addition of any deferred development cost charge is a challenge for developers.

He wrote that such a charge needs to be weighed against the value of proper planning and placement of infrastructure.

“This charge will allow the School District to work with developers, local governments and the (B.C.) Ministry of Education to ensure that future land needs of the School District are addressed.”

The board of education is asking West Kelowna council to rescind their motion and continue with approval of the school site acquisition charge.

When originally approached in September of this year, West Kelowna opted to wait and see if Westbank First Nation would be included in the charge before approving it themselves.

Coun. Duane Ophus noted approving the charge would put West Kelowna residents at a financial disadvantage.

Mayor Doug Findlater said if the issue can’t be resolved, West Kelowna and the school district would enter an informal process to resolve the issue.

He added that if not, the issue would go through a more formal and mediated process which Cacchioni hopes to avoid because of the cost to both parties.

He pointed out the district of Peachland has also experienced issues around the charge for future school sites.

Findlater said the school district is correct that First Nations land falls under federal jurisdiction, but he did not understand why they could not ask for some kind of arrangement.

“If people living on and units built on reserve are not contributing, then we all contribute a little bit more.”

Council carried a motion to write to School District 23 detailing the West Kelowna position on the charge, and recommending they proceed to the first stage of a reconciliation process, along with Peachland if applicable.

The school sites acquisition charge is placed on residential developers to help fund the purchase of land for schools in the future.

When the charge is in place, the school district can receive funding from the ministry of education as well for land purchases.

School District 23 expects enrolment to grow and schools to be at or over capacity by 2018 across the Central Okanagan.

msimmons "at" kelownacapnews.com

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Superstore adds jobs in economic lull
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 58305 - Nov 17, 2010

A new Real Canadian Superstore in Westbank provides not only a boost for local consumers but a boon to the economy as well.

The on-again, off-again mega store officially opened its doors to shoppers Wednesday morning.

At 110,000 square feet, it's one of the largest retailers on the westside and one of the biggest employers.

"We're really happy. We've added a lot of jobs to the community, over 110 to 115 jobs have been added as a result of our new store," says store manager, Jeff Dyck.

"It's a win win for residents on this side for sure. They can come in and get all their goods without having to go back and forth. We think it's a double win for everybody."

Superstore parent company Loblaws closed down its other Westbank store, Extra Foods, Tuesday evening.

More than 100 employees from that store made the move to the Real Canadian Superstore.

"This store is considerably bigger in size (than Extra Foods, which was about 80,000 square feet), not quite as big as Kelowna but we feel it's the right footprint for the clientèle. It's easy to get around, the aisles are a little shorter, everything is lower profiled and the sight lines are cleaner."

While Extra Foods provided mostly groceries with some general merchandise, the Real Canadian Superstore offers a large mix of both.

Dyck says he believes there are many advantages to shopping at his store including supporting local farmers, orchards and growers through a 'Grown Close To Home' summer campaign.

"We're one of the only retailers left that actually bake fresh every day. Most of our competitors do not do this. Not many people know this but we cut meat. We cut your meat for you versus pre-packaged."

Meantime, rumours continue to swirl as to what will go into the old Extra Foods building.

Speculation has run with everything from a Rona, an Old Navy and even a bowling and entertainment centre.

Westbank First Nation Chief Robert Louie says he's heard all the rumours and is not prepared to speculate what may replace the food store.

Louie says he hopes that announcement will be made sometime this week.

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.pdf icon November 4, 2010 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Board Meeting

Nothing was mentioned in the Highlights about the the appointment of elected officials for the Westside Wastewater Treatment Service Stakeholder Select Committee Terms of Reference.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio November 4, 2010 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting .mp3 (55.6 MB)

Windows Media File Icon November 4, 2010 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about the voting of WFN - .wma (566 KB)

.pdf icon November 4, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 4.1 Westbank First Nation.pdf

THAT the Regional Board approve the Westside Wastewater Treatment Service Stakeholder Select Committee Terms of Reference.

CARRIED

#246/10
THAT the Board appoint for 2010 the following elected officials to the Westside Wastewater Treatment Service Stakeholder Select Committee:

• Regional District of Central Okanagan - Director Findlater (Chair)
• District of West Kelowna - Director Ophus
• District of Peachland - Director Fielding
• Westbank First Nation - Councillor Werstuik

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio November 4, 2010 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting .mp3 (55.6 MB)

Windows Media File Icon November 4, 2010 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about the voting of WFN - .wma (566 KB)

.pdf icon November 4, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Board Meeting Minutes

4. Correspondence

4.1 Westbank First Nation - Voting Structure on the Westside Wastewater Treatment Service Stakeholder Select Committee (All Directors Unweighted Vote)

Withdrawn from the agenda. As the WFN representative to the Board, M. Werstuik, was unable to attend today's meeting, as requested by WFN the discussion on voting structure on the Westside Wastewater Treatment Service Stakeholder Select Committee was deferred until the November 22nd regular Board meeting.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio November 4, 2010 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting .mp3 (55.6 MB)

Windows Media File Icon November 4, 2010 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about the voting of WFN - .wma (566 KB)

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.pdf icon October 25, 2010 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Board Meeting

Regional Growth Strategy Process Approved

The Regional Board has approved initiating a review of the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS). The present Regional Growth Strategy was adopted in 2000 and must be updated to reflect anticipated growth in the region over the next 25 years. The Regional District will work with local municipalities and First Nations, the provincial government and other stakeholders in developing an updated strategy. Public consultation and involvement will be included in the process, which is expected to be complete by 2013, with the adoption of a new Regional Growth Strategy bylaw.

The Regional Growth Strategy is a vision of growth management and sustainability for the region establishing economic, social and environmental objectives that promote healthy communities. It helps guide member municipalities and the Regional District in the consistent development of local Official Community Plans and other bylaws that support the overall regional vision for managing growth.

.pdf icon October 25, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 6.4 Regional Growth Strategy Review Report.pdf (28 pages)

*Note - This is only a snippett, please click link above for entire 28 pages

Agenda NO: 6.4
Mtg Date: Oct. 25/10

DEVELOPMENT SERVICES DEPARTMENT REPORT For the Regional Board October 25, 2010

TO: Chair &Members of the Regional Board
FROM: David Widdis, Regional Growth Strategy Coordinator
DATE: October 25, 2010
SUBJECT: Regional Growth Strategy Review Work Plan

RECOMMENDATION:
1. THAT the Regional Growth Strategy Review be initiated to apply to the entire regional district area and endorse the proposed four phase work Plan as outlined in Attachment 1 titled "Regional Growth Strategy Review Workplan, October 25, 2010";

2. AND FURTHER THAT the Regional Board provide written notification as per Section 854 of the Local Government Act to the Minister of Community and Rural Services and all affected local governments within the Central Okanagan that the Regional District is initiating a review of Bylaw No. 851 Growth Management Strategy that will apply to the entire Regional District;

3. AND FURTHER THAT that the Regional Board direct staff to begin working with Ministry of Community and Rural Services' staff and other agencies to establish an Intergovernmental Advisory Committee;

4. AND FURTHER THAT the staff be directed to prepare a consultation plan to guide the Regional Growth Strategy Review process.

--------------------------------

from page 9

From the workshop, the document "Strategic Plan: Vision 2020 - Planning for the Future" was adopted on June 10, 2010, that provided a vision and priorities to focus the region's budgets and work plans. The RDCO formulated a "Mission Statement" in the strategic plan process to guide its actions and strategies:

"The Regional District of Central Okanagan will provide effective and efficient services that meet the needs of our citizens, in a manner that nurtures growth, opportunities and prosperity, while maintaining and enhancing the unique Central Okanagan lifestyle and environment.

The mission statement helped outline the priorities for the region and describe how the Board would like to see the region in ten years. The excerpt of the priorities and vision are outlined in Appendix B.

.pdf icon October 25, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Board Meeting Minutes

6.4 Regional Growth Strategy Review Report regarding the initiation of the Regional Growth Strategy Review and endorsement of the Regional Growth Strategy work plan presented at the Governance and Services Committee meeting, October 14, 2010 (All Directors)

Staff report dated October 25, 2010 outlined the background for updating of the RDCO's Regional Growth Strategy (RGS). The RGS was adopted by the Board in 2000. The Strategy now needs to be updated to respond to the numerous changes that have occurred in the region. Issues that need to be addressed include: a desired future for the region; issues that affect the entire region; future sustainability for the region; general framework to guide growth management that affect the entire region; collaboration with member municipalities and First Nation; and monitoring progress to ensure Board decisions are incorporate into the vision.

The timeline for the process was reviewed--over a two year process.
Consultation will be key to this process and it will be early and ongoing. Next steps were reviewed: initiate the process, endorse the work plan, establish intergovernmental advisory committee and prepare consultation plan. Staff noted that review of parks and trails, lake management and consistency between bylaws are all issues which will be identified. These details will come up through Phase 1 of the process. Funding sources are still being identified for the full process and staff continue to look for grants to help fund the review.
This will be an annual budgeting process.

EDGSON/BAKER
THAT the Regional Growth Strategy Review be initiated to apply to the entire regional district area and endorse the proposed four phase work plan as outlined in Attachment 1 titled "Regional Growth Strategy Review Workplan, October 25, 2010";

AND FURTHER THAT the Regional Board provide written notification as per Section 854 of the Local Government Act to the Minister of Community and Rural Services and all affected local governments within the Central Okanagan that the Regional
District is initiating a review of Bylaw No. 851 Growth Management Strategy that will apply to the entire Regional District;

AND FURTHER THAT the Regional Board direct staff to begin working with Ministry of Community and Rural Services' staff and other agencies to establish an Intergovernmental Advisory Committee;

AND FURTHER THAT the staff be directed to prepare a consultation plan to guide the Regional Growth Strategy Review process.

CARRIED

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.pdf icon October 14, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Agenda

.pdf icon Item 4.1 Regional Growth Strategy Review Update.pdf (28 pages)

* Note - please click link above for all 28 pages

from page 2-3

DEVELOPMENT SERVICES STAFF COMMENTS:

The current RGS is ten years old and requires updating. This is an opportunity for local governments to engage the province in long range planning. Member municipalities will collaborate on important regional issues and seek senior government support for their implementation. The process will involve discussions to draft implementation agreements with senior governments to assist with the implementation of the growth strategy.

The RGS Review is an opportunity to refocus the process of growth management within ·the region and to have agreement on issues, actions and implementations among all levels of governments. First Nations, stakeholders and public. The RGS can be restructured to improve its value in the Regional District and member municipalities through clearly, identified actions and targets as well as a process to implement and monitor the issues.

The Regional District budget for 2010 has allocated funds to initiate the RGS Review process. However as outlined in the proposed work plan, the review is a minimum two year process. RD staff is researching funding opportunities to help offset the costs to include technical studies, consultation opportunities and any additional costing identified in the process. Funding may come through such forms as the Gas Tax or Green Municipal Fund.

For a successful review process, the RD also requires commitment and representation from the member municipalities to provide the input and review of documentation resulting from the review process. Staff members bring the policy knowledge and expertise of the area to help refine and package information for the community and elected officials. Their assistance will ensure the process is inclusive and reflective of community values.

click link above for more

.pdf icon October 14, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Minutes

4. Development Services

4.1 Regional Growth Strategy Review Update

Staff report dated October 14th provided an update on the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) workplan and next steps. It was noted the current Regional Growth Strategy is over ten years old and requires updating. The RGS workplan focuses on a four phase approach to collaborate with the member municipalities;  First Nations; federal and provincial agencies and the public to develop a desired vision and actions for growth over the next 20 years, The budget for 2010 has allocated funds to initiate the review process-the review process is a minimum two year process. Staff continues researching funding opportunities to help offset the costs of the Plan.

There were various ideas expressed to encourage public participation in the consultation process and that the public be provided with options for the plan as to what the area could look like in the future. Concern was expressed regarding duplication of processes (OCP'S vs. RGS) and also the need for dedicated staff time.

Staff noted that a public consultation plan will be developed and that the RGS is not a duplication of any OCP processes currently being undertaken now or in the future. The RGS is a guiding document and will provide an overall view of values and goals for the region, whereas an OCP provides results only within the borders of the area. The commitment required by municipal staff within the RGS area would be approximately one meeting per month and time to review documentation (5-10 hours/month). Staff also noted that the RGS allows the region to speak as a single voice and also provides for possible financial opportunities.

ACTION: Staff was asked to arrange a workshop for all the elected officials including WFN to discuss what the expectations and consensus of the RGS are among the elected officials.
Director Reid arrived at the meeting at 9:30 a.m.

#GS67/10 HODGE/JAMES
THAT the October 14, 2010 report on the Regional Growth Strategy workplan be received.

CARRIED

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.pdf icon September 9, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Agenda

.pdf icon Item 4.1 CDC Funding Program.pdf

*Note - this is only a snippett below, please click link above for entire 2 pages

Dear Harold Reay,

Please find attached a member release regarding the 2010/11 (Summer) Community to Community (C2C) Forum
Program.

Matching grants of up to $5,000 are now available to support C2C events before March 31, 2011. To qualify for funding,
a C2C Forum must include dialogue between neighbouring First Nation and local government elected officials
and must
work toward one or more of the objectives:

- Educating and informing the participating governments about current issues in relationships between the First Nations
and local governments.
- Providing a forum for dialogue on a specific concern or topical issue.
- Strengthening relationships and fostering future co-operative action by bUilding stronger links between First Nation and
local government elected officials and staff.
- Determining opportunities for future collaboration and joint action.

The application deadline is Friday, September 17, 2010. For more information, please contact Local Government Program Services at (250) 356-5134 or Igps "at" ubcm.ca.

This advisory is provided through a distribution system that is maintained and monitored by UBCM. To change or update
the contact information for your organization, please contact radamson "at" ubcm.ca.

-----------------------------------

To qualify for funding/ a C2C Forum must include dialogue between neighbouring First Nation and local government elected officials and must work toward one or more of the objectives:

• Educating and informing the participating governments about current issues in relationships between the First Nations and local governments.
• Providing a forum for dialogue on a specific concern or topical issue.
• Strengthening relationships and fostering future co-operative action by building stronger links between First Nation and local government elected officials and staff.
• Determining opportunities for future collaboration

The Program & Application Guide and Application Form will be available on on-line shortly. Please visit the Funding
Programs section at www.ubcm.ca or http://www.fns.bc.ca/.

The application deadline is Friday, September 17, 2010 for events up to March 31, 2011.

For more information or to request an application package/ please contact Local Government Program Services at (250) 356-5134 or lpgs "at" ubcm.ca

.pdf icon September 9, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

4. Correspondence

4.1 UBCM - 2010/11 Regional Community to Community Forum Program (Unweighted Vote - All Directors)

UBCM announced the 2010/11 Regional Community to Community Forum Program funding in August. To qualify for funding, a Forum must include dialogue between neighboring First Nation and local government elected officials and must work toward specific objectives. Deadline for funding application is September 17th.

The Administrator noted that discussion has occurred with Westbank First Nation staff and as the Council and Regional Board have just recently met they were unsure if a further meeting is required before the program funding ends in March 2011.

SHEPHERD/FIELDING
THAT the UBCM notice regarding the Regional Community to Community Forum Program be received.

AND FURTHER THAT staff speak to Westbank First Nation to determine their interest in participating in a Board/Council Forum prior to March 2011.

CARRIED

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UBCM endorses DWK resolution
Castanet.net - by Contributed - Story: 57250 - Oct 1, 2010

West Kelowna Council’s hard work has paid off with its resolution on the Capital Cost of Health Care being approved without debate by the assembly at the Union of BC Municipalities convention in Whistler this week.

The following motion was passed Thursday, September 29 and will be taken to the Provincial Government for consideration:

WHEREAS Regional Hospital Districts were originally created, among other things, “to establish, acquire, construct, reconstruct, enlarge, operate and maintain hospitals and hospital facilities”

AND WHEREAS in some Regional Hospital Districts, non-Aboriginal residents residing on First Nations land do not contribute to the capital costs of hospitals and health facilities yet are users of these facilities

THEREFORE be it resolved that UBCM lobby the Ministry of Health Services to establish an equitable provincial system to collect funding for regional hospital capital projects from non-Aboriginal residents residing on First Nations lands.

“I am very pleased West Kelowna’s resolution went through. We worked long and hard to have that go to Province. SILGA (Southern Interior Local Governments Association) endorsed it in the spring and now it has become UBCM policy,” says Mayor Findlater.

“We look forward to seeing what the Province will do in response.”

At Thursday's scheduled meetings with provincial government representatives, Mayor and Council continued their work to raise important issues for the District of West Kelowna including support for its Economic Development Strategy, the ongoing cooperative relationship with Westbank First Nation and its need for a secondary transmission line from BC Hydro. On Thursday, September 30, West Kelowna met with:

•Iain Black, Minster of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development to speak about the District’s interest in securing support for its Economic Development Strategy. Council recently adopted the Strategy and has committed to hiring an Economic Development Officer for a two year period to implement the recommendations of the document. Although no funding is available from the Province at this time, the District was provided with other avenues of funding from external agencies to follow up on.

•George Abbott, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation regarding the District’s relationship with Westbank First Nation. Minister Abbott was advised of the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding May 3, 2010 between West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation, declaring their mutual intentions to pursue a lasting relationship based on mutual respect, honour and recognition and work together to address issues of mutual interest and benefit.

The District raised the issue of the Ministry’s reconciliation negotiations with Westbank First Nation and asked that the minister ensure his staff continue to liaise with the District of West Kelowna as to the progress of the negotiations.

•Donna McGeachie, Community Relations Manager, Dag Sharman, Community Relations Manager and Julius Pataky, Vice-President of Asset Management, BC Hydro to discuss the need to provide an alternate, secondary electrical transmission line to the District of West Kelowna. Currently, only a single transmission line provides power to the Westbank station from the west in Merritt, which provides service to approximately 50,000 customers in the District of West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation, Peachland and adjacent rural areas. The District is the largest community in BC that is supplied by a single-circuit transmission line and has, over the years, experienced a number of significant power outages. A secondary transmission lines is needed to ensure future growth can be maintained and supported and to provide our existing population a secure power source in the event of an emergency such as a major forest fire. Last year, BC Utilities Commission authorized funding for a Phase 1 study of this issue.

The District was advised that BC Hydro is in the process of hiring a project manager for the Definition Phase – a high level feasibility study – with a public consultation process in West Kelowna to begin later this fall.

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West Kelowna council highlights
Castanet.net - by Contributed - Story: 56936 - Sep 16, 2010

The following are highlights of the District of West Kelowna council meeting of Tuesday, September 14.

School Site Acquisition Charge - Representatives of the School District 23 attended Council to present information regarding its request that the District implement a School Site Acquisition Charge, which is a charge on new dwelling units to be paid by residential developers in the geographic boundaries of school districts where the charge is justified. The charge is to be collected by local governments and transferred to the school district. No school site acquisition in West Kelowna is forecast for the near future, but charges would be levied on West Kelowna developers regardless. Council was advised that this charge does not apply to property on First Nation land, but that the School District intended to approach Westbank First Nation to voluntarily implement the charge. Council agreed to wait for results from the School District’s consultation with Westbank First Nation on this issue before pursuing any further.

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West Kelowna council highlights
Castanet.net - by Contributed - Story: 56809 - Sep 9, 2010

The following are highlights from the District of West Kelowna council meeting of Tuesday, September 7, 2010:

Highway 97 Intersections - Mayor Doug Findlater reported on a joint letter from the District of West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation to the Honourable Shirley Bond, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure regarding the need for left turn signals on Highway 97, particularly at high collision intersections. The letter indicated that many traffic accidents along Highway 97 are a result of left turns that end badly and included a map of collisions on the route, noting three intersections on Highway 97 had 20 collisions each in one year period. Council encouraged the continuing follow-up to this request.

-------------------------------------------------

WFN Community Forest Stewardship Plan - Council received a presentation by Grant Thompson, Registered Professional Forester with Westbank First Nation on the organization’s Community Forest Stewardship Plan. Council indicated the information on the program was extremely beneficial to know and expressed interest in ongoing information sessions regarding activities in WFN’s Community Forest. Council agreed to send a formal request to Westbank First Nation that notification to be sent to the District of West Kelowna when logging is to occur with its boundaries, including its watershed.

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North Westside and other Central Okanagan West areas, would pay tax for the WFN portion of Director earnings.

This Spring 2008 North Westside Communities News article states:

While the WFN residents pay a part of the annual stipend and first supplement through taxes to the WFN to pay for Regional Services on WFN land, the $2,100 supplement would be paid by the ratepayers of the area outside of the WFN.

North Westside and other Central Okanagan West areas, would pay tax for the WFN portion of Director earnings.

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Is it a tax or a regulatory charge?

*** This is just a snippet

Judgements of the Supreme Court of Canada

Citation:Westbank First Nation v. British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority, [1999] 3 S.C.R. 134
Date:September 10, 1999
Docket: 26450

Indexed as: Westbank First Nation v. British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority

File No.: 26450.
Hearing and judgment: June 21, 1999
Reasons delivered: September 10, 1999

Section 125 of the Constitution Act, 1867 is one of the tools found in the Constitution that ensures the proper functioning of Canada’s federal system. It advances the goals of federalism and democracy by according a degree of operational space to each level of government, free from interference by the other. It prohibits one level of government from taxing the property of the other. However, it does not prohibit the levying of user fees or other regulatory charges properly enacted within the government’s sphere of jurisdiction.

Although in today’s regulatory environment, many charges will have elements of taxation and elements of regulation, the central task for the court is to determine whether the levy’s primary purpose is, in pith and substance: (1) to tax, i.e., to raise revenue for general purposes; (2) to finance or constitute a regulatory scheme, i.e., to be a regulatory charge or to be ancillary or adhesive to a regulatory scheme; or (3) to charge for services directly rendered, i.e., to be a user fee. In order to determine whether the impugned charge is a “tax” or a “regulatory charge” for the purposes of s. 125, several key questions must be asked. Is the charge: (1) compulsory and enforceable by law; (2) imposed under the authority of the legislature; (3) levied by a public body; (4) intended for a public purpose; and (5) unconnected to any form of a regulatory scheme? If the answers to all of these questions are affirmative, then the levy in question will generally be described as a tax.

The levies are properly described as being, in pith and substance, taxation enacted under s. 91(3) of the Constitution Act, 1867. They are enforceable by law, imposed under the authority of the legislature, and levied by a public body for a public purpose. The appellant has not demonstrated that the levies are connected to a “regulatory scheme” which could preclude the application of s. 125. The charge does not form any part of a detailed code of regulation. No costs of the regulatory scheme have been identified, to which the revenues from these charges are tied. The appellant does not seek to influence the respondent’s behaviour in any way with these charges. There is no relationship between the respondent and any regulation to which these charges adhere. Although the Indian Act is legislation in relation to “Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians”, this does not, in itself, create a “regulatory scheme” in the sense required by the Constitution.

As these taxes are imposed on the respondent, which it is conceded is an agent of the provincial Crown, s. 125 is engaged. The taxation and assessment by‑laws are accordingly inapplicable to the respondent.

Source http://scc.lexum.umontreal.ca/en/1999/1999scr3-134/1999scr3-134.html

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August 12, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance & Services Committee Agenda

Item 5.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report.pdf

Agenda No: 5.1
Mtg Date: August 12, 2010
TO: RDCO Directors and Department Heads
FROM: Donna Adams, Accounting Analyst; Marilyn Rilkoff, Manager of Finance and Administration
DATE: July 30,2010
SUBJECT: Quarterly Program Measures Report, Year to Date June 30, 2010

*This is only a snippet of the 8 pages*

The following are some of the highlights for the year from the Quarterly Report, but are certainly not all inclusive. We do recommend that the report and each program be reviewed, particularly with respect to "Department Initiative Status Reports", the "Summary of Year to Date Results", and Project Updates for the various programs. There are too many items too be covered in this summary, and everyone's level of interest in the various programs and departments varies.

Executive Summary:

142 - Regional Parks (Page 105): Walk BC BCPRA Grant for $4,000 resulted in the successful Tracks Walking Club program in Mission Creek Regional Park. In March, UBCM contributed $379,425 for Regional Parks Operational Fuel Management Treatments 2009. NRCAN grant of $7,500 awarded for the final Operational Wildfire Protection Plan that has been received by the Regional Board. The Region Wide Community Wildfire Prevention Plan is also finalized and approved by the Regional Board. Community Adjustment Fund ~ Job Opportunity Program grant of $250,000 secured for regional park forest fuel modification work. Habitat Conservation Trust Fund application for support funding to complete sensitive ecosystem inventory of regional parks not awarded. Project is to commence with funding from RDCO. Mission Creek Greenway Scenic Canyon Trail ~ restoration received $42,500 under the Recreational Infrastructure Canada Program to upgrade a portion of the trail by widening, resurfacing and installing wooden stairs to reduce erosion and improve bank stabilization along a steep portion of the trail. Mission Creek Greenway Phase II Pinch Point detailed design and environmental assessment are near completion. Tender documents for the proposed tunnel are being prepared. Mission Creek Greenway Phase II Security Residence Occupancy Permit has been issued. Closure of the Mission Creek Greenway is scheduled for June 1 to approximately October 1 to accommodate the replacement of the Gordon Drive bridge. During May & June, unbudgeted staff resources were allocated to the pesticide applications for the Douglas Fir Tussock Moth organic pesticide treatment project in Trepanier Valley, Coyote Ridge and Upper Ellison areas. Hazard tree removals were completed in six Regional Parks including Mission Creek, Kalamoir, Coldham, Kopje, Glen Canyon, and Gellatly Heritage due to the Mountain Pine Beetle. NRCAN funding granted in the amount of $97,000. Titles to the Gellatly Nut Farm and Gellatly Heritage Regional Parks will remain vested in the name of RDCO. Official opening of the new playground structure at Gellatly Nut Farm Regional Park occurred June 20,2010. A temporary repair has been completed to enable recreational boaters to utilize the popular launch at the Okanagan Centre Safe Harbour prior to the launch structure replacement. Western Screech Owl Stewardship Agreement has been signed by the Ministry of Environment to protect the endangered Western Screech Owl and its habitat within several Regional Parks. The EECO Centre had over 12,500 visitors. The "Hunters in the Sky: Raptors of the Okanagan" exhibit received many comments and many groups toured through the "In the Line of Fire" exhibit. The preschool story time was well attended and the school education program "Owls in the Classroom" was very successful. Spring Break camps included programs on botany and raptors, with maximum enrolment. Success was also met with the "Go Fish", "Tracks Walking" and "Take a Hike" Programs. The website had 3,030 views of the Regional Parks Guide. Fleet changes included the sale of the 1995 John Deere Gator to Dog Control and the purchase of a 2006 Mazda pickup from Dog Control. Three vehicles are scheduled for sale at auction in addition to a trailer and a beach cleaner / sand sifter.

143 - Westside Community Parks (Page 109): UBCM is providing a $2,000 grant for an educational and information kiosk at the trailhead for the Trepanier Greenway. The Regional Board supports a proposed Wildfire Protection Fuel Modification Project by the Okanagan Indian Band as the area surrounding the Westshore subdivision, including the new Westshore Estates Community Park, is considered a high priority for treatment in order to reduce potential fire threats. Meetings completed with North Westside Community Association regarding proposed recreational pier project at Killiney Beach. Preferred solution is to target swim area markers instead of pier project. Operational maintenance contract implemented for Central Okanagan West Community Parks located north and inclusive of Fintry Parks. The Statutory Right-of-Way survey for Jack Creek Linear Trail has been completed.

144 - Eastside Community Parks (Page 112): UBCM Tourism Grant funding of $4,500 targeted for implementation of a "Welcome to Joe Rich" highway sign. Aerial pesticide applications for the Tussock Moth Spray Program were completed over the upper Ellison Area. In collaboration with Ministry of Forests and Range staff, COE community parks are being monitored but not treated for Douglas Fir Tussock Moth or Spruce Budworm due to limited outbreak conditions with direct effect on RDCO parks.

042 - Regional Crime Prevention (page 154): Block Watch Crime Prevention Program continues to be promoted. Operation Wrap III is in progress with WFN and utility boxes in their jurisdiction. New Crime Prevention Program introduced, BC Securities Commission Tipsters Program. In the process of implementing an Emergency Preparedness Plan for Peachland, complete with Volunteer Team Leader and Policy &Procedures Manual to assist the Community.

August 12, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance & Services Committee Meeting Minutes

5. Finance and Administrative Services

5.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report - Year-to-date, June 30, 2010 Executive Summary

Staff presented the Quarterly Program Measures report, year-to-date June 30, 2010 Executive Summary which highlighted key areas in the Regional District services.

Questions:
• Dog Control- is that being enforced? Yes, except for the one section in the City of Kelowna.
• What is the T-Card system? An accounting form provided to the Ministry of Forests for tracking equipment and services used by the Regional District.
• Joe Rich Volunteer Fire Department - Medical First Response. Are we being compensated for accidents where the boundaries are in question? We are negotiating a mutual aid agreement with Big White. No costs are being reimbursed at this time. RDCO subsidizes this service. Staff have unsuccessfully tried to recover costs from the trucking companies, ICBC and the province.
• What role does the Province play? They provide ambulance services.
• Is the RDCO covered by insurance for calls outside of our jurisdiction?
Believe that we are, but will confirm.
The Chair noted that this is a provincial problem.

#GS50/10 SHEPHERD/EDGSON
THAT the Quarterly Program Measures Report - year-to-date June 30, 2010 Executive Summary be received;

AND FURTHER THAT Staff bring back a report on the status of the Mutual Aid Agreements with the Kootney Boundary Regional District for Big White;

AND FURTHER THAT Staff confirm the insurance coverage for Medical First Response call outs outside of the RDCO jurisdiction.

CARRIED

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Forest Fuel Reduction Projects Partnership

Reducing the possible threat of wildfire is the goal of a partnership project underway in the Trepanier Creek area of the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO).

The fuel management work is a cooperative effort between the Regional District and Westbank First Nation (WFN) on just over 23-hectares within the Westbank First Nation Community Forest that includes an area adjacent to the District of Peachland, through the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area and District of West Kelowna to approximately Traders Cove. View Map of Treatment Area

A six-person crew contracted by the WFN’s forest management department Heartland Economics began falling, spacing and pruning trees in this high priority section just south of Trepanier Creek during the week of July 19th. It’s expected their work will wrap up by late September, but may be extended if the fire hazard and danger rating affects the crew’s ability to safely work in the forest.

All fuel materials will be chipped and removed from the site. No burning will take place. Signs have been posted and neighbours and recreation groups have been advised to be aware of periodic, short closures of unsanctioned trails through the 23.75-hectare forest as trees are cut, spaced, pruned and cleaned up.

The Regional District and Westbank First Nation recognize the importance of this work in reducing the future potential for fire in this area by removing dead and dying trees, thinning the forest understory and pruning ladder fuels, all of which can contribute to the spread and severity of any fire.

Regional District Chair Robert Hobson says, “This partnership with the Westbank First Nation is an excellent example of our governments working together to improve the safety and security of all our residents. We look forward to completing this and other joint forest fuel mitigation projects and encourage everyone to do what they can to make their properties Fire Smart.” Westbank First Nation Forestry Manager, Grant Thompson RPF adds “This fuel management project is a demonstration of WFN’s commitment to manage the Westbank First Nation Community Forest for multiple values over a very long time.. These values include timber, water, wildlife, recreation, traditional uses, visuals and protection from wildfire. Projects such as these will ensure that all Okanagan residents will be able to enjoy and benefit from of our forests for many years to come.”

The Canada Economic Action Plan is providing more than $166,000 in Community Adjustment Funds to the Regional District of Central Okanagan for completion of this work.

This is the second cooperative joint RDCO-Westbank First Nation forest fuel reduction project this year. In March, similar fuel management treatments were done on approximately 12-hectares in the WFN Community Forest, adjacent to the Trepanier Forest Service Road, north-west of the Okanagan Connector overpass. Almost $40,000 in Federal Community Adjustment Funds was provided to the Regional District for this work.

(August 4, 2010)

Source - RDCO "Whats New"

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Regional District, Westbank First Nation team up on forest fuel reduction
Kelowna Capital News - August 06, 2010

Reducing the possible threat of wildfire is the goal of a partnership project underway in the Trepanier Creek area of the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

The fuel management work is a cooperative effort between the regional district and Westbank First Nation. It covers just over 23 hectares within the Westbank First Nation community forest that includes an area adjacent to the District of Peachland, through the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area and District of West Kelowna to approximately Traders Cove.

A six-person crew contracted by the WFN’s forest management department, Heartland Economics, began falling, spacing and pruning trees in the high priority section just south of Trepanier Creek during the week of July 19.

It’s expected their work will wrap up by late September, but may be extended if the fire hazard and danger rating affects the crew’s ability to safely work in the forest.

All fuel materials will be chipped and removed from the site. No burning will take place. Signs have been posted and neighbours and recreation groups have been advised to be aware of periodic, short closures of unsanctioned trails through the 23.75-hectare forest as trees are cut, spaced, pruned and cleaned up.

The Regional District and Westbank First Nation recognize the importance of this work in reducing the future potential for fire in this area by removing dead and dying trees, thinning the forest understory and pruning ladder fuels, all of which can contribute to the spread and severity of any fire.

Regional District chairman Robert Hobson said, “This partnership with the Westbank First Nation is an excellent example of our governments working together to improve the safety and security of all our residents. We look forward to completing this and other joint forest fuel mitigation projects and encourage everyone to do what they can to make their properties Fire Smart.”

Westbank First Nation forestry manager Grant Thompson added: “This fuel management project is a demonstration of WFN’s commitment to manage the Westbank First Nation community forest for multiple values over a very long time.

These values include timber, water, wildlife, recreation, traditional uses, visuals and protection from wildfire.

“Projects such as these will ensure that all Okanagan residents will be able to enjoy and benefit from of our forests for many years to come,” Thompson said.

The Canada Economic Action Plan is providing more than $166,000 in Community Adjustment Funds to the Regional District of Central Okanagan for completion of this work.

This is the second cooperative joint RDCO-Westbank First Nation forest fuel reduction project this year. In March, similar fuel management treatments were done on approximately 12 hectares in the WFN community forest, adjacent to the Trepanier Forest Service Road, north-west of the Okanagan Connector overpass.

Almost $40,000 in Federal Community Adjustment Funds was provided to the Regional District for this work.

edit "at" kelownacapnews.com

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RDCO/WFN work to reduce wildfire risk
Castanet.net - by Contributed - Story: 56143 - Aug 4, 2010

Reducing the possible threat of wildfire is the goal of a partnership project underway in the Trepanier Creek area of the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO).

The fuel management work is a cooperative effort between the Regional District and Westbank First Nation (WFN) on just over 23-hectares within the Westbank First Nation Community Forest that includes an area adjacent to the District of Peachland, through the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area and District of West Kelowna to approximately Traders Cove.

A six-person crew contracted by the WFN’s forest management department Heartland Economics began falling, spacing and pruning trees in this high priority section just south of Trepanier Creek during the week of July 19th.

It’s expected their work will wrap up by late September, but may be extended if the fire hazard and danger rating affects the crew’s ability to safely work in the forest.

All fuel materials will be chipped and removed from the site. No burning will take place.

Signs have been posted and neighbours and recreation groups have been advised to be aware of periodic, short closures of unsanctioned trails through the 23.75-hectare forest as trees are cut, spaced, pruned and cleaned up.

The Regional District and Westbank First Nation recognize the importance of this work in reducing the future potential for fire in this area by removing dead and dying trees, thinning the forest under story and pruning ladder fuels, all of which can contribute to the spread and severity of any fire.

“This partnership with the Westbank First Nation is an excellent example of our governments working together to improve the safety and security of all our residents," says Regional District Chair Robert Hobson.

"We look forward to completing this and other joint forest fuel mitigation projects and encourage everyone to do what they can to make their properties Fire Smart.”

Westbank First Nation Forestry Manager, Grant Thompson, says the project is a demonstration of WFN’s commitment to manage the Westbank First Nation Community Forest for multiple values over a very long time.

"These values include timber, water, wildlife, recreation, traditional uses, visuals and protection from wildfire. Projects such as these will ensure that all Okanagan residents will be able to enjoy and benefit from of our forests for many years to come," says Thompson.

The Canada Economic Action Plan is providing more than $166,000 in Community Adjustment Funds to the Regional District of Central Okanagan for completion of this work.

This is the second cooperative joint RDCO-Westbank First Nation forest fuel reduction project this year.

In March, similar fuel management treatments were done on approximately 12-hectares in the WFN Community Forest, adjacent to the Trepanier Forest Service Road, north-west of the Okanagan Connector overpass.

Almost $40,000 in Federal Community Adjustment Funds was provided to the Regional District for this work.

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WFN approves shopping centre
by Castanet Staff - Story: 55643 - Jul 9, 2010

A proposed new shopping centre just south of the Westbank First Nation Administration Office has been given the green light.

WFN membership voted overwhelmingly in favour of the project during a special referendum Thursday.

Members approved a lease of 10.18 acres of community held lands at Westside Road and Highway 97 which will allow for the construction of a shopping centre development says WFN Chief Robert Louie.

In the deal, WFN will retain partial ownership of the shopping centre and will have a role in major decision making during and after construction of the project.

Community approval is required for leasing all of community-held lands pursuant to WFN’s Constitution.

“We had a really good voter turn-out at referendum," says Chief Louie.

“With 90% of votes being in favour of the deal, we’re satisfied that our community is ready and willing to proceed with the project.”

Construction of the shopping centre is expected to begin later this summer with an anticipated completion of September, 2011.

Only one tenant has been confirmed to date. Landmark Cinemas will construct a six-screen movie theatre as part of the shopping centre.

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June 10, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned In Camera at 11:10 a.m. Rise and report at 12:27 p.m.

The Regional Board rose from In Camera to report on the following:

b) June 10, 2010 In Camera meeting: Westbank First Nation/RDCO Memorandum of Understanding - Proposed Hydraulic McCulloch) Lake, Trepanier Creek and Black Knight Mountain Regional Parks.

The Board approved completion of the Memorandum of Understanding with Westbank First Nation for the future acquisition and management of Hydraulic (McCulloch) Lake, Trepanier Creek and Black Knight Mountain Regional Parks.

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Minister sheds light on Westbank First Nation talks
Kelowna Capital News - By Jason Luciw - May 04, 2010

A new chapter is being written in the B.C. government’s relationship with the Westbank First Nation, according to Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister George Abbott.

The Westbank band announced in November it was suspending its involvement in B.C.’s treaty process and looking to the courts to settle land claims in an area spanning 10,500 square kilometres in the Central Okanagan and Lower Arrow Lake regions.

However, Abbott said new talks started with the Westbank band last month and the B.C. government is optimistic court action can be averted.

“It’s important for all of us to work toward a better tone and a better outcome. No one benefits from protracted litigation,” said Abbott.

“We would go through three levels of courts, and then when we ultimately arrived before the Supreme Court of Canada, (the justices) would like advise us that we’d need to sit down and work out our issues, as happened with the Haida.”

The Haida have since signed a reconciliation protocol with the B.C. government and Abbott introduced an act in the Legislature last week in support of that agreement.

The deal renamed Queen Charlotte Islands as Haida Gwaii and set out terms for logging, managing protected areas and preserving heritage sites.

The minister said the B.C. government is now open to negotiating a similar reconciliation protocol agreement with the Westbank Nation as an interim measure.

“Whether a treaty comes in 10 years or 50 years with the Westbank First Nation, we need to find more and better ways to work together today.”

Westbank Chief Robert Louie announced last week that he was hopeful a reconciliation agreement could be reached in late July or early August.

While Abbott said he was optimistic the band and the provincial government could reach mutually acceptable terms, he was cautious about putting a deadline on a deal.

“We’ve agreed to sit down and try and work through range of issues. I made a commitment that we should get together in late July or early August, but, I’ll be surprised if we resolve all issues and proceed to a reconciliation protocol at that point,” the minister continued.

“Everything is always contingent on the ability of all parties to reach agreement.”

Ministry staff will work with the band to determine the issues to be addressed in the reconciliation protocol, which Abbott called a “decision making matrix,” to address large, complex land use matters.

However, Abbott said he wouldn’t want to get into details about specific issues the Westbank agreement might address.

“I wouldn’t want to speak definitively about any of those things until we got into the discussions. We want to hear the things that are of most concern to Westbank first Nation.”

Westbank First Nation title and rights manager Raf DeGuevara said his band hopes the reconciliation protocol would address issues such as shared decisions on land use, resource revenue and land selection.

“Right now, everyday lands are being given away without having settled the land question,” said DeGuevara.

Louie also noted last week that the band’s lawyers would continue working toward court action behind the scenes as a fallback position, should a reconciliation agreement fail to materialize.

jluciw "@" kelownacapnews.com

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Homeowner charged $35,000 by archeologists
CBC News - By Kathy Tomlinson - Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Vancouver Island resident unaware her land held aboriginal bones, artifacts

..Archeologists worked on site for several days last year, charging as much as $85 an hour. (CBC)
A property owner and her family from Vancouver Island are up in arms over a $35,000 bill she was held responsible for after her land was registered as a heritage site.

"We felt invaded," said Louise Allix.

Allix was required by law to hire an archeology team last year — to dig up the family property — before she was allowed to build a house just outside of Parksville. Bones and aboriginal artifacts were found, but her son said not much has been done with that discovery.

"It's just a box full of artifacts — that aren’t even on display," said Tim Allix. "If the B.C. government had to pay $35,000 for this, they wouldn't do it. They're saying 'Ah, let's just pass this on to the landowner.'"

Under the province's Heritage Conservation Act, landowners whose property has been designated a heritage site cannot build until archeologists have done an assessment and removed any First Nations artifacts or human remains — at the landowner's expense.

Individual violators face possible fines of up to $2,000 or six months in jail for altering a heritage site and up to $50,000 or two years in jail for damaging one.

"I never would have imagined that there would be bones under the ground," said Louise, who has lived on the property for 40 years, in a neighbourhood where there are several other homes.

"We had a garden here and dug it up all the time and never found anything."

No system to inform landowners
Many B.C. residents don't know their land has been designated, because there is no system in place to inform them. The province keeps the database of sites that are reported to them, by First Nations and other interested parties, but that information is not shown on land title documents.

Louise Allix and her son Tim feel they should not have to pay $35,000 for the archeological dig on family property. (CBC)
There are now 38,000 registered sites with some 2,000 new ones added every year. The minister responsible, Kevin Krueger, acknowledged that the lack of disclosure has been a long-standing problem.

"It's an ongoing issue," said Krueger. "We are carefully working through how to address this whole issue."

Beginning in 1965, the Allix family lived in a house on one of three lots, near the Englishman River — an area where the Nanoose First Nation lived several hundred years ago.

In 2007, Louise and her husband Hereward decided to build a smaller house on the lot next to the main family home that they could move into, because, she said, as they got older, they were having trouble with stairs.

The Allix family decided their aging parents had to move out of the old house, when the stairs got too difficult. (CBC)
Louise said a local archeologist heard of their plans and sent a letter informing them of their obligations, so they hired an archeological consultant to do the work.

"The [house] construction was delayed by months," said Tim, who stands to inherit some of the same property. "Every step of the way there was another permit that had to be applied for."

"Instead of the digging taking two days — which we had thought it was going to be — it was something like two weeks," said Louise. "All these people, crawling about at 80 bucks an hour.

"My mom had to pay for their lunches," Tim added. "It's right on the bill. Accommodation and meals."

Bill 7 times estimate
The original estimate was $4,000. However, Louise said, after the team found part of a human skull, they decided to sift through the dirt for several more days. They also recovered a dog skeleton, several arrowheads and a hand-carved pin.

Her husband was in his 80s and in poor health while this was going on, Louise said. He died last summer, and his son and wife believe the stress hastened his death.

"He broke down and cried one day. He just broke down and he cried. He didn't know how to deal with it," said Tim. "It makes me want to cry — to think of him getting that upset."

Louise said the $35,000 final bill came as a huge shock — and because she lives on a fixed income, she doesn't have the extra money to pay it.

Nanoose First Nation historian Wayne Edwards said all property owners whose land could be affected should be informed by the province. (CBC)
"If the bill were split up among taxpayers — between everybody in the province — it would be peanuts. But for me it's a heck of a lot," said Louise.

"I don't really care who pays it, but it shouldn't be us," said Tim.

The B.C. Real Estate Association has been pushing the government for years to compensate landowners for whatever losses they incur in such cases.

"If society is benefiting from whatever the government is doing, society should pay for it, not the landowner," said CEO Robert Laing. "The cost can be horrendous. And it isn't fair."

Buyer beware, says First Nation
When the B.C. Liberals were in opposition, some of its MLAs also called for full disclosure and compensation.

"Buyer beware," said Wayne Edwards, historian and former chief of the Nanoose First Nation. "That land you are buying may be of historical importance to First Nations."

Edwards said he agrees with the Allix family that every B.C. landowner and buyer whose property might be affected should be told.

"Homeowners should be afforded the courtesy of having that kind of information," said Edwards.

With no system in place, he said, some property owners bulldoze through precious artifacts, because they don't know or care that they are there.

Kevin Krueger, B.C.'s minister responsible for the Heritage Branch, said the government is working on solutions 'in a big picture way.' (CBC) "We've found artifacts in pawn shops and in private collections. From areas that are known archeology sites," he said.

Over the years, there have been several disputes, all across the province. Last year, police were called on a property owner in Oak Bay, near Victoria, who was trying to build $1 million home without the proper site alteration permit.

"Heritage can be preserved or destroyed," Edwards said. "And the biggest problem that we've had is that it's been destroyed."

He believes the cost of preserving heritage should be shared. Otherwise, he said, there is a great incentive for individual property owners to ignore the rules — to avoid getting stuck with the bill.

"A lot of people are saying why should I say anything? And that's unfortunate," he said.

'Heritage can be preserved … it's being destroyed.'
—Nanoose First Nation historian Wayne EdwardsEdwards pointed to a plain brown box sitting on property bought by the province in the 1990s at Craig Bay, also near Parksville. The box holds ancient bones, dug up when the area was developed, before the province bought the site to end the dispute between First Nations and the developer planning to build there.

Edwards said that, as the landowner, the province should have re-interred those bones long ago.

"I'll be happy when they are back in the ground," he said. "It saddens me. But the province is broke. They tell us that they are broke and they don't have money for this kind of thing."

Better forgiveness than permission
Even if the government makes changes, Krueger indicated landowners would still bear most of the financial responsibility.

"The ownership of the land on the surface doesn't mean unrestricted control of what happens subsurface when the ground is disturbed," said Krueger. The minister also said the registered sites are just a small fraction of the real number across the province.

Bones from an extinct dog were considered to be one of the more important finds on the property. (CBC)
Tim is currently unemployed — and expects to face the same hurdles his mother did, if he tries to build on the other empty lot when he inherits it.

"I think it's better to ask forgiveness than permission," he said. "Then say — oops, I didn't know."

-----------------

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First Nations angling for exemption from new tax
Kelowna Capital News - By Alistair Waters - June 22, 2010

B.C. First Nations leaders are calling for a province-wide HST exemption for their members.

Penticton Indian Band’s Stewart Phillip, head of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, told the Capital News Tuesday, that’s the demand he will make when he and other First Nation leaders meet with Finance Minister Colin Hansen on Thursday.

Saying he was “not impressed” that Hansen waited until the “11th hour,” to meet despite repeated attempts by Native leaders over the past few months, Phillip said he will go to the meeting and will press for B.C. to follow Ontario’s lead and exempt B.C. aboriginals from paying the HST on and off reserve

Unlike B.C., which does not have a history of treaties between First Nations and the federal government, Ontario has exempted its Native people from sales tax both on and off reserve for many years, said Phillip.

In B.C., there has been a sales tax exemption for First Nation members but only for goods purchased on reserve.

But, he said a majority of First Nations people live off reserve in B.C., in part because of a lack of housing and jobs in their home communities. Many aboriginals also tend to have a lower income and because of that, the HST will affect them particularly harshly.

“It will be another burden in an already dire situation,” he said.

Support for a mirror of the situation in Ontario is widespread among B.C. First Nations across the province, according to the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, including First Nations here in the Okanagan.

Chief Robert Louie of the Westbank First Nation said he supports the move to bring in a sweeping HST exemption for First Nation people in B.C. both on and off reserve.

“If the province of Ontario can do it, why can’t the province of British Columbia?” he said.

Louie believes the “vast majority” of First Nation people are opposed to the HST here but added it’s still unclear what will happen in regard to the current initiative petition campaign to have the tax scrapped and as a result, would not speculate on what will happen if a province-wide exemption is not granted to First Nations people.

On the WFN reserves, the WFN government currently collects a five per cent tax—equivalent to the GST—from its members on just three items, alcohol, tobacco and automotive fuel.

Other purchases by First Nation members of products bought on reserve are not taxable. First Nation members pay sales tax and GST on goods bought off reserve just like non-native people.

Louie said information from the Canada Revenue Agency has shown the amount of administration will increase with the introduction of the HST but other than that, little will change on WFN reserves.

The issue, he added, is really an exemption for First Nation people shopping off reserve across the province.

Phillip said after a recent meeting with leaders of the Fight HST group—lead by former Social Credit premier Bill Vander Zalm and trying to have the current law allowing the HST rescinded—members of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs vowed to do all they could to stop the new harmonized sales tax.

The tax will replace the current five per cent GST and the seven per cent provincial sales tax as of July 1 with a combined 12 per cent sales tax.

The new tax will be applicable on a host of items and services currently exempt from the PST.

Despite many economists supporting the introduction of the HST in B.C., saying it will be good for the economy, a recent StatsCan report said the introduction would immediately increase costs for an average B.C. household by about $500 per year.

The Fight HST group has gathered the signatures of 15 per cent of all registered voters is all 85 B.C. ridings on petitions to try to force the government to either hold a non-binding provincial referendum on the HST or introduce legislation abolishing it. If the latter route is followed, the Liberals have a majority in the legislature to vote such a bill down and keep the HST in place.

As part of the deal it made with Ottawa to create the HST, the province will get $1.6 billion.

But unlike Ontario, which got $4 billion in its HST deal with the federal government, B.C. is refusing to pass the money it received onto residents in the form of HST rebate cheques.

awaters "at" kelownacapnews.com

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City declines to sign memorandum with the WFN
Kelowna Capital News -By Jennifer Smith - June 01, 2010

Kelowna city council opted not to sign a memorandum of understanding designed to align the city and Westbank First Nations on community planning and economic development Monday.

With an offer on the table to review the document in a workshop before signing, mayor and council decided it might be best to ensure they definitely understand what it all means.

Though the MOU is more a statement of intent than a legally binding agreement, the mayor said she felt the move was still prudent.

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B.C. native leaders call for wildfire aid
Kelowna.com - Monday, May 31st, 2010

The B.C. First Nations Forestry Council says communities are still looking for the fire prevention help they were promised.

The council says of 103 communities in B.C.'s wildfire region, only 39 have special strategies in place and none have been able to complete the job of removing dead timber to create a firebreak.

Council president Chief Bill Williams said the council drafted a plan to mitigate the risk of wildfires more than two years ago.

Members estimated it would cost $135 million to clear dead timber and create a buffer around their communities.

“We submitted a budget, but we never received any funding,” Williams said.

Many aboriginal communities sit in the middle of timber killed by the pine beetle.

Federal aid runs out
The federal government provided some money in its program to deal with the beetle infestation, but that has now ended.

In the B.C. legislature last week, New Democrat MLA Bob Simpson blamed the provincial government.

“This government has actually abandoned the most vulnerable communities in the fire interface and that's First Nations communities.”

But Forests Minister Pat Bell rejected that allegation.

“Well, that's just nonsense and, in fact, we've worked very closely with First Nations communities across the province to make sure that they have wildfire protection plans in place,” Bell said.

Williams said community leaders are worried about what may happen if fire breaks out.

“Oh, it just horrifies. We know how that the aboriginal communities live within the forest,” he said.

“There is no firebreak whatsoever and if there is a fire started it is going to, unfortunately, create havoc — not only to people's homes, but maybe to community centres.”

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Millions in WFN transfers are set for renegotiation
Kelowna Capital News - By Jason Luciw - May 07, 2010

Taxpayers could be permanently on the hook for transfer payments to the Westbank First Nation, relating to the implementation of the band’s self-government agreement with Ottawa, which began April 1, 2005.

At that time, the federal government agreed to a five-year deal, giving the band more than $4 million per year until 2010 to cover a variety of costs.

The money has been given in addition to more than $2 million in other transfer payments the WFN receives for health care, housing and other social programs.

But WFN director of operations Pat Fosbery said that his First Nation has started renegotiating with the federal government, believing self-government transfer payments should be made in perpetuity.

“The Westbank First Nation envisioned that this would be an ongoing payment from the federal government, just as the province receives transfer payments from the federal government,” Fosbery explained.

The WFN considers itself on equal footing with the province in many respects when it comes to its relationship with Canada, although its jurisdictional powers vary from those of the B.C. government, said Chief Robert Louie.

The final transfer payment for the implementation of self-government was to be paid this year and was to be $4.5 million, according to Ministry of Indian and Northern Affairs budget documents.

The payments are used to support education, including operation of the Sensisyusten House of Learning, culture, social and economic development, legislative and administrative services and processing membership status cards.

“A portion of it also goes to capital projects,” explained Fosbery.

The ministry also said funding could be used for land, resource and environmental management.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation is calling on the ministry to make public the salaries of chiefs and band councillors across Canada.

The federation released information Thursday, stating the salaries of some chiefs exceed remuneration for provincial premiers and in some cases the prime minister.

“The Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation was recently sent a brown envelope containing information that showed the chief of the Enoch Cree Nation, a community of 1,529 just outside of Edmonton, was paid more than Alberta’s premier––getting paid $180,000 tax free,” the organization said.

“Meanwhile, the average Enoch band member’s earnings are closer to $20,000 per year.”

Unlike those bands, however, many First Nations do make their chief and councillor salaries public, the organization added.

The Westbank First Nation does post remuneration figures, showing Louie was paid $100,000 tax-free last year while Couns. Brian Eli, Larry Derrickson, Loretta Swite and Mike DeGuevara were each paid $60,000 tax-free.

jluciw "at" kelownacapnews.com

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News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2010

Coordinated funding of $126,375 for Tourism Westside was announced today by Mayor Doug Findlater, District of West Kelowna, Chief Robert Louie, Westbank First Nation, and Jim Edgson, Director Central Okanagan West Electoral Area (Regional District of Central Okanagan).

The joint funding, ($94,683 from District of West Kelowna, $28,692 from Westbank First Nation and $3,000 Central Okanagan West Electoral Area) is intended to support the initiatives of Tourism Westside, a committee of the Westbank and District Chamber of Commerce.

“Tourism Westside’s new strategic plan emphasizes the need for coordinated support from the governing bodies in the area, and not just financially, but as vital stakeholders,” says Mayor Doug Findlater. “All Westside residents will benefit from an enhanced tourism function and I’m very pleased that both Westbank First Nation and Central Okanagan West support this endeavor as well.”

“Westbank First Nation firmly believes that Tourism is a cornerstone of the economic drivers in the Okanagan. In this light, we have been an active participant on the tourism committee that is bringing forward this unique strategic plan that will combine resources of local governments, businesses and new opportunities in true partnership,” says Chief Robert Louie. “We are eager to continue the work to build a fresh tourism experience with Tourism Westside.

“The Central Okanagan West Electoral Area of the RDCO provided Grant in Aid funds to Tourism Westside because there is a need to promote tourism within the Electoral Area,” says Regional Director Jim Edgson. “We look forward to participating in Westside Tourism as a partner to enhance tourism, not only in the Electoral Area, but in the entire Westside, along with Westbank First Nation and West Kelowna."

Source WFN.ca (.pdf)

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WFN responds to gravel pit issues
Kelowna Capital News - By Jason Luciw - April 08, 2010

Westside Road concerns will be addressed as part of the Westbank First Nation’s application to operate a gravel pit near Fintry, according to Chief Robert Louie.

Louie made the comments Wednesday, four days after residents expressed concerns in the Capital News regarding the impact gravel truck traffic would have on Westside Road if the pit were permitted. (Proposed Gravel Pit Has Nearby Residents Worried, April 4, Page A10).

The residents said they were opposed to the idea of a sand and gravel quarry primarily because Westside Road would be unsuitable for the resulting 40 gravel truck trips per day.

Louie explained that his band would consider funding Westside Road upgrades if the pit permit were awarded.

“The province has come back to us and said it would like to see some road upgrades,” Louie commented.

“This is something we’re still working through right now is agreements to contribute potential moneys to improve the Westside (Road) so that all travelers can take the benefit of that.”

Louie indicated that Westside Road is in need of an estimated $15 million in upgrades.

However, the WFN chief would not say how much money his band would commit to improvements.

“It’s not cheap and this is not to a four-lane standard by any means. This is just dealing with the lack of shoulders, the tight corners, that type of thing. We’ll have to work (the) figures out.”

The chief also acknowledged the idea of using a barge to ship materials on Okanagan Lake.

“That’s a possibility of finding a barge that would be suitable for that particular venture and then having it land on one of our reserves, probably Indian Reserve No. 10…(on) lands adjacent to the (Bennett) bridge.”

Alternatively, the North Westside Community Association suggested building a back road southwest or northwest out of the pit, adding that under no condition would its 300 members support the addition of 40 gravel truck trips per day on Westside Road.

The B.C. government has posted legal notices in newspapers for the last few weeks informing residents that the WFN and Canadian Aggregates Inc. has applied for the gravel permit on a lot about one kilometre south of the La Casa subdivision.

The application indicated that 249,000 metric tonnes of gravel would be produced at the mine each year.

Residents and Crown land licence holders in the area have been invited to address concerns or comments to Chief Inspector of Mines/Section Head Crown Lands, c/o Front Counter BC, 441 Columbia St., Kamloops, BC V2C 2T3 with reference to file number 1620848 Westcan pit.

The deadline for submissions is April 30.

For more information about this gravel operation see what we have gathered on the Okanagan Aggregate Task Force webpage on this website.

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Property tax break given to WFN residents
Kelowna Capital News - By Jason Luciw - April 06, 2010

The Westbank First Nation has held the line on property taxes this year.

The band’s chief and council approved a tax increase of 0.2 per cent in its 2010-2011 budget, or $2.40 more for the average homeowner this year, when compared to 2009-2010’s tax notice.

The chairman of the Westbank First Nation Advisory Council, which represents non-natives living on band land, said the band’s budget shows “good financial management.”

Terry Turcan commented that he was pleased the WFN went easy on taxpayers’ pocketbooks this year.

“It’s a very small increase––a little blip.”

Growth on WFN lands helped offset taxes for residents living on reserves, Turcan noted.

“There’s no question about it, the commercial growth especially has been significant.”

Meanwhile, Chief Robert Louie said in a press release that the WFN’s budget is the result of “extensive planning and consultation by all stakeholders over the past six months.”

“It reflects the cooperation and goodwill that are key to the WFN’s financial progress,” Louie said.

The chief didn’t return calls for further comment.

The band said that, on average, a homeowner living on Westbank First Nation land would pay $1,222 in property taxes this year, after applying for the Home Owners’ Grant.

The WFN expects to collect $9.9 million in property taxes, with $2.6 million spent on administration, financial services, human resources and information technology; $2 million set aside for reserves and contingencies; $1.4 million returned to residents in the form of homeowners grants; $1.2 million spent on transit, the library, regional parks and community centres; $1.2 million for economic development, planning and engineering and $400,000 for recreation and youth programs.

The band expects to collect a further $20.6 million from other sources of income, including fees for services, fines, development cost charges, community forest operations and revenue from a handful of corporations.

In turn, the WFN plans to spend an additional $17.1 million on other operations over the next year, with the remaining $3.5 million to be placed in reserves for capital and other future expenditures, said the WFN.

The First Nations Tax Commission and the Minister of Indian Affairs are required to sign off on the WFN’s budget later this spring, clearing the way for tax notices to go out to 3,368 homeowners at the end of May.

WFN property taxes are due on July 2.

For more information, call the band’s finance department at 250-769-2400.

The WFN taxes are not to be confused with those charged to residents living in the neighbouring District of West Kelowna municipality.

Their bills go out separately the last week of May and property taxes are due to the District of West Kelowna on July 7.

West Kelowna residents face a net tax increase of 2.35 per cent, or an additional $32 based on a house assessed at $492,000.

Base property taxes on such a home were $1,354 last year.

The 2.35 per cent increase excludes a $126 shift in property taxes from the Central Okanagan Regional District, which is being caused by West Kelowna’s decision to manage its own transit contract.

For more information call West Kelowna’s property tax information line at 778-797-8860.

jluciw "at" kelownacapnews.com

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WFN is self-governing under federal legislation and has assumed full jurisdiction over its lands including lease registration. (page 3)

http://www.investkelowna.com/pdf/IndustrialLandProfile.pdf

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In his opening remarks, Chief Louie painted a picture of Westbank First Nation (WFN), which is one of very few that has successfully negotiated a self-government agreement with Canada. This gives them authority to make laws on their five reserves, all in the Okanagan. The population on their reserves numbers between 8,000 and 9,000 – about 650 are band members and about 8,000 are non-native. This high number of non-natives is “peculiar,” Louie said. The band has a community forest licence with an annual allowable cut of 80,000 cubic metres that employs many people, and not just their own. He said construction was underway on WFN lands for a Home Depot and Canada’s largest Wal-Mart. “We would like to be business associates of yours. By doing business together, it creates opportunities for you and for us,” he said.

http://www.valleyvoice.ca/_pdf/060830.pdf

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.pdf icon March 22, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Minutes

3.2 District of West Kelowna - SILGA Resolution Submission (for information)

EDGSON/FINDLATER
THAT the District of West Kelowna proposed resolution to the 2010 SILGA convention regarding a request that UBCM lobbies the Ministry of Health Services to establish an equitable provincial system to collect funding from Regional Hospital Capital projects from non-aboriginal residents residing on First Nation lands be received.

CARRIED

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Joint council meetings won’t be open to public
Kelowna Capital News - By Jason Luciw - May 04, 2010

Westbank First Nation Chief Robert Louie (left) and West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater signed an agreement Monday afternoon, which will ensure their governments work cooperatively to resolve issues of mutual concern.
Jason Luciw/Capital News Photo

Two Westside councils have signed an agreement ensuring they sit down and formally discuss matters of mutual concern, however, all sessions will be held out of the public eye, devoid of taxpayers’ scrutiny.

West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater and Westbank First Nation Chief Robert Louie signed an agreement Monday, stating that their councils would work together on issues such as economic development, tourism and service provision.

However, neither man would commit to holding any of the joint meetings in the open despite the fact some gatherings could deal with services impacting taxpayers.

Findlater said some of the subject matter could be sensitive and therefore most meetings should be held behind closed doors.

“We’d be prepared to put them open provided they met the test,” said Findlater, noting that some meetings would involve land and legal matters, which are typically discussed in camera.

Findlater was asked at what point meeting details would be made public.

“I believe that we’d be getting a consensus and then it would have to go back, in our case, for a formal public discussion depending on what it is.”

Louie mentioned that his council would be obligated under its constitution to go back to its membership specifically to get support for matters involving money.

After the membership of about 600 people approved the matter, then the band could reveal details to approximately 7,000 non-members living on reserves.

As for the cooperation agreement signed Monday, it is not legally binding on either party and both the chief and the mayor were asked how they intended to resolve any sticking points that arose during their discussions.

Findlater responded by saying he believed the spirit of the agreement was to solve issues, not magnify them.

“There’s always going to be issues, but this is a promise to see the other guy’s side of the story, and it’s about attitude and sitting down with a view to solving problems.

“It is symbolic but it’s very important that we make this commitment.”

While the band and the municipality may not always see eye to eye on all matters, it’s important both sides are open to dialogue, added Louie.

“I don’t think there’s anything that is insurmountable,” said Louie.

However, one of the sticking points between the two governments could be a service agreement with the Westbank First Nation, which the District of West Kelowna inherited two years ago from the Central Okanagan Regional District.

“When they expire we’ll have a really good discussion and maybe a tough discussion,” Findlater said.

For now most of the terms are in place for five to 10 years, said Findlater.

“If anybody wants to reopen them and there’s mutual agreement to open them…then we’d be glad to do that. But for now, they’re in place and they’re working.”

Findlater used the West Kelowna fire department as an example of a service both governments have managed to partner well on to provide for taxpayers.

“It would be absolutely silly to have two fire departments.”

The band also pays fees for its residents to use West Kelowna’s parks and recreational facilities.

Findlater said the two governments would also be working together on road and sidewalk connections and to resolve houseboat moorage issues in Gellatly Bay.

Louie added the joint council meetings could be used to discuss strategies for lobbying senior governments for grants to help pay for expensive infrastructure upgrades.

jluciw "at" kelownacapnews.com

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Minister sheds light on Westbank First Nation talks
Kelowna Capital News - By Jason Luciw - May 04, 2010

A new chapter is being written in the B.C. government’s relationship with the Westbank First Nation, according to Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister George Abbott.

The Westbank band announced in November it was suspending its involvement in B.C.’s treaty process and looking to the courts to settle land claims in an area spanning 10,500 square kilometres in the Central Okanagan and Lower Arrow Lake regions.

However, Abbott said new talks started with the Westbank band last month and the B.C. government is optimistic court action can be averted.

“It’s important for all of us to work toward a better tone and a better outcome. No one benefits from protracted litigation,” said Abbott.

“We would go through three levels of courts, and then when we ultimately arrived before the Supreme Court of Canada, (the justices) would like advise us that we’d need to sit down and work out our issues, as happened with the Haida.”

The Haida have since signed a reconciliation protocol with the B.C. government and Abbott introduced an act in the Legislature last week in support of that agreement.

The deal renamed Queen Charlotte Islands as Haida Gwaii and set out terms for logging, managing protected areas and preserving heritage sites.

The minister said the B.C. government is now open to negotiating a similar reconciliation protocol agreement with the Westbank Nation as an interim measure.

“Whether a treaty comes in 10 years or 50 years with the Westbank First Nation, we need to find more and better ways to work together today.”

Westbank Chief Robert Louie announced last week that he was hopeful a reconciliation agreement could be reached in late July or early August.

While Abbott said he was optimistic the band and the provincial government could reach mutually acceptable terms, he was cautious about putting a deadline on a deal.

“We’ve agreed to sit down and try and work through range of issues. I made a commitment that we should get together in late July or early August, but, I’ll be surprised if we resolve all issues and proceed to a reconciliation protocol at that point,” the minister continued.

“Everything is always contingent on the ability of all parties to reach agreement.”

Ministry staff will work with the band to determine the issues to be addressed in the reconciliation protocol, which Abbott called a “decision making matrix,” to address large, complex land use matters.

However, Abbott said he wouldn’t want to get into details about specific issues the Westbank agreement might address.

“I wouldn’t want to speak definitively about any of those things until we got into the discussions. We want to hear the things that are of most concern to Westbank first Nation.”

Westbank First Nation title and rights manager Raf DeGuevara said his band hopes the reconciliation protocol would address issues such as shared decisions on land use, resource revenue and land selection.

“Right now, everyday lands are being given away without having settled the land question,” said DeGuevara.

Louie also noted last week that the band’s lawyers would continue working toward court action behind the scenes as a fallback position, should a reconciliation agreement fail to materialize.

jluciw "at" kelownacapnews.com

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http://www.cornerplan.com/media/BCMM288May15.pdf

page 2

During an address to residents of the Westbank First Nation (WFN) reserve, Chief Robert Louie outlined the band’s development plans. Louie noted that two projects, the Real Canadian Superstore and a joint venture with Property
Development Group (PDG), are currently on hold. The PDG West Kelowna Landing project is looking to secure one more anchor tenant before proceeding, said Louie.

page 3
However, the band is considering a number of other projects such as a joint venture shopping centre called the Gathering Place and the development of a six-hectare island and marina in the Okanagan Lake. WFN and Canadian Aggregates Inc. also recently applied to the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands for an investigative permit for their proposed joint venture gravel pit project. Louie said the band council is currently working on its budget deliberations, which could increase taxes for non-First
Nations residents by 1.5 per cent. The council is keeping the state of economy in mind while working on the numbers and trying to keep the tax increase close to the levels recently approved by Kelowna and West Kelowna, which is 3.55 per
cent and 2.0 per cent respectively.  WFN chief and council are also close to passing a controversial banishment law aimed at serious criminal offenders that seeks to banish “undesirables” from band lands who present a tangible threat to the community.

(Kelowna Capital News, April 26)

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Tough land claims talk turns conciliatory
Kelowna Capital News - By Jason Luciw - April 30, 2010

Land settlement talks have resumed between the Westbank First Nation and the provincial government, five months after the native band announced it was suspending its involvement in B.C.’s treaty process.

Chief Robert Louie said that relations between his band and the government took a positive turn after B.C. Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister George Abbott agreed to a reconciliation process with the Westbank Nation, similar to one the province confirmed this week with the Haida.

“We have a handshake agreement right now,” said Louie.

“Our expectation is that this would be formalized and in place no later than the first week in August.”

The Westbank chief said that if a framework for the reconciliation process could be established this summer, his band would be willing to suspend legal action.

In November, the band suspended involvement in B.C.’s treaty process, saying it was fruitless, and prepared to settle rights and title claims through the courts instead.

“All the money and resources were not achieving anything so we formally announced our treaty suspension and we made it clear to the province that we had no other alternative but to commence a lawsuit to protect our traditional lands,” Louie stated.

However, the chief mentioned preparations for litigation would continue behind the scenes should his band need to resume court action in the future.

“We’ve got teams of lawyers working on it and getting ready for it just in case. But (reconciliation) is an alternative for us to work out a process to deal with issues one by one.

“It’s something very important to our community if our nation is to finally move along substantive land clams that are many, many years old now.”

The band formally entered the treaty process in 1992.

Unlike the treaty process, which involves the Canadian and B.C. governments and a first nation, the reconciliation process would consist of bilateral negotiations aimed at resolving sticking points between the province and Westbank, noted the chief.

Louie’s reconciliation announcement was made Thursday night on the heels of Abbott’s introduction of the landmark Haida Gwaii Reconciliation Act in the B.C. Legislature earlier in the day.

“The Haida Gwaii Reconciliation Act represents a new beginning for the Haida Nation, the people of Haida Gwaii and the province,” said Abbott in a press release.

“The legislation acknowledges the uniqueness of Haida Gwaii and the Haida Nation and confirms government’s continued commitment to build a new relationship with aboriginal people.”

The legislation backs up a recognition protocol agreement the government signed with the Haida Dec. 11.

The agreement immediately changed the name of Queen Charlotte Islands to Haida Gwaii.

Plus it set out terms for future land use agreements, established objectives for logging practices in Haida traditional territory, determined an allowable annual tree cut, approved plans to manage and protect environmentally sensitive areas and developed standards to identify and conserve heritage sites.

Abbott was unavailable for comment Friday regarding Westbank reconciliation.

Westbank First Nation title and rights manager Raf DeGuevara said his band hopes that its reconciliation protocol would achieve something similar, serving as an interim step toward shared decision making on land use, resource revenue sharing and land selection.

“Right now, everyday our lands are being given away without having settled the land question,” said DeGuevara.

The Westbank First Nation lays claim to 10,500 square kilometres of traditional territory in the Central Okanagan and Lower Arrow Lake regions of the province.

jluciw "at" kelownacapnews.com

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Six screen theatre to anchor new mall
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 54236 - Apr 29, 2010

A state-of-the-art six screen movie cinema will anchor a new shopping centre on the westside.

The new West Kelowna Landing will be built near the Westside Road interchange next to the Westbank First Nation offices.

The cinema will be owned and operated by Landmark Cinemas of Canada.

Landmark Cinemas also owns and operated the five screen Capital Theatre in Westbank along with the Paramount and Grand Ten Cinemas in Kelowna.

Officials with Landmark expect the new cinema to open in 2011 and also expect the Capital Theatre to remain open after the new complex is complete.

"Landmark Cinemas is pleased that the new shopping centre provides us the opportunity to bring this new, state-of-the-art facility to our many guests living in West Kelowna and area," says Landmark COO, Neil Campbell.

"The Landmark Cinema, West Kelowna will become the entertainment destination for the entire community and also those moviegoers living in Kelowna who choose to frequent the new centre because they will have easy access via the William Bennett Bridge."

WFN Chief, Robert Louie says the addition of Landmark Cinemas furthers their objective of creating exciting opportunities for growth and development of WFN strategic land assets.

Landmark Cinemas is the first tenant announced for the 42 acre shopping centre proposed to be constructed just south of the band office.

Before construction can begin, Louie says band members must approve using the community land for the shopping centre.

Band members will vote July 8.

If the vote goes through, Louie says construction would begin in September of this year and is expected to be complete by September 2011.

He expects construction to begin in September of this year.

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WFN ‘s building boom picking up again: chief
Kelowna Capital News - By Jason Luciw - April 30, 2010

Chief Robert Louie talks with new WFN chief administrative officer Pat Fosbery outside the band’s pavillion at Pine Stadium, following Louie’s annual address to non-band members who live on WFN land. Photo
Jason Luciw/Capital News

Development dominated Chief Robert Louie’s annual address to a gathering of non-band members who live on Westbank First Nation land.

It turns out even the development-savvy WFN could not escape the effects of 2009’s global economic downturn, according to stats Louie provided.

“In 2008 we had 248 building permits issued. In 2009, we had about 154 building permits,” Louie told more than 300 people gathered at the Sensisyusten Community Centre for the WFN Advisory Council’s annual general meeting.

The advisory council represents more than 7,000 non-members living on WFN land, providing input to the band’s chief and council on issues like taxation, services, bylaws and development proposals.

Looking forward, Louie said development seems to be on the rebound on WFN land this year.

Construction has started on the new Real Canadian Superstore at Butt Road and Louie Drive, adding almost 10,000 square metres of retail space.

As far as residential construction goes, 190 condominium units are under construction at Copper Sky on Old Okanagan Highway.

Phase three of construction has been approved at the Sage Creek manufactured home development on Elk Road, with another 63 units going in.

“That will necessitate more (servicing) improvements like sidewalks and streetlights. We know those are issues for the safety of you and all who use those roads,” Louie said.

Another 34 single-family units have been approved in phase eight of Sonoma Pines behind Canadian Tire. Elk Ridge, with another 85 residential units, was recently approved too, said Louie.

Other commercial developments approved this year include 3,530 square metres of retail space at the corner of Louie Drive and Butt Road, with a new drug store planned for that site and construction scheduled start later this month.

A 1,765-square-metre business park is being constructed on East Boundary Road.

Louie also spoke about the WFN’s planned shopping centre project with Property Development Group of Vancouver, which will add 14,000-square-metres of retail space on property between Boucherie and Westside Roads, along Highway 97.

Calgary-based Landmark Cinemas announced Thursday it will be one of the tenants, building an 1,850-square-metre state-of-the-art cinema and adding another six screens to the 23 theatres already offered in the Kelowna area.

A drug store, two banks and two restaurants are also planned for the strip mall, which is subject to approval in a July 8 referendum.

WFN members must endorse a 99-year lease allowing PDG to build and operate the mall.

If approved, construction is slated to start in September.

“And of course there are several other major commercial and residential developments scheduled to begin in 2011 and 2012, so the Westside is really in for dramatic change,” Louie continued. “It’s going to be a full fledged city, there’s no question about that and I keep saying one of these days, not too many more years away, high-rises are inevitable.”

With all that development comes the need for infrastructure, said Louie, who noted the band would work with developers to extend sewers, build water pump stations and add sidewalks and streetlights to reserve lands.

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Luciw: Time for WFN council to come out from behind closed doors
Kelowna Capital News - By Jason Luciw - March 26, 2010

The Westbank First Nation band council’s closed-door policy and members-only attitude are baffling and archaic.

The WFN claims to be a progressive band, yet it shies away from modern principals of equal access, openness and transparency in government by denying media and the general public attendance at council meetings.

This gives the impression the band is intolerant of outsiders and has things to hide, whether that’s true or not.

These matters of openness and transparency are being raised incidentally because this week the band council debated and subsequently rejected a media request to attend meetings.

WFN director of operations James Montain vaguely explained council’s decision.

“You may be aware that non-members of WFN can only attend a council meeting at the pleasure of the council. After due consideration of your request, council has declined,” wrote Montain in an e-mail to the Capital News.

“I hope you understand (their) decision.”

In fact, the decision is difficult to understand for several reasons.

For starters, based on Montain’s explanation, approximately 8,000 non-members who pay taxes to the band are also wrongly excluded from attending the same meetings.

If people are paying taxes to a government, those taxpayers should be permitted to at least attend the meetings where decisions impacting their wallets are being made.

And since it’s impossible for all 8,000 non-member reserve residents to attend the meetings, the media should be permitted and report on behalf of taxpayers.

Similarly, even the WFN’s 700 members could not feasibly attend council meetings all at once, even though the meetings are open to them.

Therefore, it can be argued that media should be permitted to attend and report on band business on their behalf as well.

Next, it should be noted that the WFN is managing the $41 million Westside Road interchange project, which B.C. taxpayers are funding.

When the WFN council makes decisions concerning the management of that project, the media should be there to report back to the general public on how the council is handling their money.

Another reason for open council meetings is the band’s symbiotic relationship with the District of West Kelowna, Peachland and the rural area surrounding those municipalities.

West Kelowna’s parks, recreation and fire departments and the Central Okanagan Regional District’s landfill and sewer plant serve the Westbank First Nation.

Decisions the WFN council makes on supporting or refusing these services impacts its partners and the media should be there to report on those matters too.

Neighbours living in West Kelowna also deserve to know the band’s plans for development on its reserves next door, so they can weigh in on how these developments would impact them.

Media plays a role in informing residents of these plans and educating them on how to provide input to the band, so council can in turn consider how these developments impact their neighbours.

But if for no other reason, the Westbank First Nation should allow media into its meetings as a point of living up to its word.

When the WFN negotiated the right to self-government five years ago, it was understood that council would allow media and the general public to attend their meetings, much like any other government would.

Instead, by closing itself off, the chief and councillors are sending the message that the WFN plays by a different set of rules than other governments and is content to exclude outsiders on a whim.

Closed doors and exclusive behaviour reflect poorly on a first nation that is otherwise so very progressive.

It’s also a poor image for the WFN to be projecting when it’s attempting to give businesses and residents good reasons to build, set up shop and buy homes on its land.

If West Kelowna, Peachland or the regional district have no trouble being transparent, then clearly Westbank First Nation’s council shouldn’t have any problem doing so as well.

Jason Luciw is the Capital News’ Westside reporter. He can be heard on AM 1150s Open Line with Phil Johnson and West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. every second Wednesday of the month.

jluciw "at" kelownacapnews.com

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