The Okanagan Indian Band has formed a company to help with the clean-up of unexploded explosive devices on its reserve land.
The OKIB has now submitted a joint bid with Xtech Explosive Decontamination Inc. to participate in the clean-up of the explosive ordnances (bombs, mortars, grenades and other munitions) from past military training activities on OKIB lands located at Goose Lake and Madeline Lake, north of Vernon.
“Earlier this summer we announced that nine OKIB members will receive training over the next three years to dispose of the unexploded bombs,” said Chief Byron Louis, “and this joint partnership is the next step the OKIB is taking to ensure an active leadership role in ridding bombs from our land.”
OKIB’s newly formed company, OKIB Explosives Management Inc., partnered with Xtech to submit a bid to locate and remove unexploded ordinances at the Madeline Lake Range, 24 kilometres north of Vernon, and Goose Lake Range. Both areas are part of Okanagan Indian Reserve No.1. If the joint bid is successful, OKIB members will clean OKIB lands for future generations.
Chief Louis added that the training of OKIB members and the formation of the company is evidence that the OKIB is committed, long term, to restoring previously unusable land contaminated by DND.
“This clean-up effort could take decades,” said Chief Louis, “We’re showing our commitment to this process and we’re hopeful our partners in Ottawa will match it.”