With the Okanagan Indian Band in opposition

Municipalities to stay the course on CN Rail corridor, despite First Nations opposition

Kelowna's lead negotiator in the deal says they have no control over native land claims

Proponents of purchasing a railway corridor are staying the course despite high-profile opposition.

The Okanagan Indian Band has come out against the agreement local jurisdictions have signed to purchase the Canadian National line from Coldstream to Kelowna for $2 million. The band insists the corridor is part of an outstanding land claim.

“We have no control over that and we’re working through the rules as we know it. To just stop (the purchase process), we would lose that opportunity,” said Jim Garlick, Coldstream mayor.

“We’re not trying to infringe on anything with the band because we have no powers (with First Nations land claims).”

Juliette Cunningham, Greater Vernon Advisory Committee chairperson, is reluctant to comment on how the band’s opposition may impact the rail purchase.

“We will have to talk to City of Kelowna staff who have been the lead in negotiations,” she said.

Kelowna officials  say they were aware of the band’s land claims with the federal government along Wood and Kalamalka lakes.

“Our understanding is that CN has the right to legally dispose of the railway corridor and that this is a land claim issue between the OKIB and senior levels of government,” said Doug Gilchrist, Kelowna’s division director of community planning and real estate.

“The city does not take stands on land claim issues between First Nations and senior levels of government as its outside of our jurisdiction. The City of Kelowna will continue to work with the OKIB through the joint planning initiative currently underway for the mutual benefits of all our citizens.”

The corridor is part of the Commonage claim, which the band says was created when reserve land was taken away from the band in the late 1800s.

“In our eyes, the resolution of the OKIB’s entitlement to the Commonage Reserve remains outstanding business,” said Byron Louis, Okanagan Indian Band chief.

“We offered the mayors the opportunity to back our claim. First, it would have helped to build much needed bridges between parties and cultures and second, it would have saved the taxpayers $22 million.”

The band has forwarded the issue to legal counsel for further review, but that hasn’t halted optimism among the Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative that  a recreational corridor can be developed.

“This doesn’t surprise me because there’s still an unresolved issue,” said Brad Clements, initiative president, of the band’s concerns about the land purchase.

“All of us in the Okanagan need to understand the history and where the band is coming from. It’s part of the process. There will still be a solution.”

Just Posted

Kelowna Boat Show highlights abandoned boat program

The 24th annual Kelowna Boat Show hits shores April 27 and 28.

West Kelowna fire under control

A fire broke out just above Bear Creek Provincial Park Monday

Kelowna’s Korczak, Canada en route to U18 quarter-finals

Kaedan Korczak and Team Canada play Latvia Thursday

Kelowna driver searches for man who allegedly tried to run him off the road

The driver said he just missed a biker trying to avoid a collision

Social media flooded with love for woman found dead on Kelowna beach

“We lost a sister. Because that is what we are it is a sisterhood and I can’t help but feel anything but sadness.”

VIDEO: Okanagan fire victim Amy Hansen speaks out on the loss of her four pets

A gofundme page has been started for Hansen, with $1,140 raised of a $5000 goal to help her rebuild

WATCH: South Vancouver Island shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident, say police

One person in custody, another fled following shooting and crash on West Shore

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man accused in daughters’ murder

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

New survey looks at public opinion around government’s role in forcing immunizations

Okanagan history in pictures

Grand opening of downtown Vernon Safeway store from 1965

Okanagan firefighter steps up to challenge

Andrew Haak will be one of hundreds of firefighters taking part in the Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge in Calgary on May 5

SPCA investigating hen cull at Shuswap egg farm

Egg farm regulator says they are confident cull at was done properly

‘Cutthroat’ sport of wine tasting happening now in the Okanagan

BC Tasting Games are underway with competitions in three Okanagan communities.

Most Read