Louis accepts calls for change

Byron Louis won a fourth term as chief of the Okanagan Indian Band, taking top spot over former chief Dan Wilson and Joey Jack.

Okanagan Indian Band members spoke loud and clear.

Byron Louis was narrowly re-elected as chief Wednesday, while six of the 10 councillors are new to the job.

“It’s a responsibility and there are expectations from our people. They definitely want change and it’s something you have to respect,” said Louis, who is starting is fourth term.

Louis topped the polls with 210 votes, followed by 202 for Dan Wilson and 135 for Joey Jack.

Louis admits band members have been frustrated with the status quo.

“They want something to happen. It’s about jobs and economic development. There are a wide variety of issues, whether it’s economic or social, but they want progress.”

Of the 10 councillor seats, four were won by incumbents — Allan Louis, Leland Wilson, Dan Wilson and Tim Isaac.

The new councillors are Shawna Whitney, Sheldon Louis, Garett Lawrence, Dean Louis, Cindy Brewer and Val Chiba.

Byron Louis says he welcomes the new councillors.

“They will want to do things which is good. We (council) will have to be moving in the same direction moving ahead,” he said, adding that the first goal is to bring the new councillors up to speed on procedures as the term is only for two years.

“Time can be quickly wasted if you don’t do something. It’s something we all need to focus on.”

More than 450 voters turned out Wednesday, with an additional 129 mail-in ballots received. Official results will be posted on the OKIB website.

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