Okanagan Indian Band says no alternative but to move forward with court action

With rail corridor acquisition moving forward, OKIB chief calls on local municipalities to rally around the band

Okanagan Indian Band members remain firm despite strong public support for a rail trail.

Chief Byron Louis says the band won’t back off a notice of claim in the B.C. Supreme Court despite a majority of Lake Country residents agreeing to purchase the Canadian National rail line as part of a plan for a public corridor from Coldstream to Kelowna.

“The only alternative we have is moving ahead with the court case,” said Louis.

“There’s been a lack of support by the federal government to settle this.”

The Commonage Indian reserve, which includes part of the rail corridor, was created in 1877, but the band says federal and provincial officials eliminated the reserve a decade later.

The band asserts that when a portion of the corridor ceased to be used for railway purposes, it should have reverted to band control instead of CN selling the property to the Regional District of North Okanagan, Lake Country and Kelowna.

While local jurisdictions are named in the court action, Louis believes municipalities and regional districts could rally around the band.

“Local communities could be very instrumental in resolving these issues,” he said.

“They could tell the federal government to, ‘Get on with it.’”

Louis would also like to see local residents become more interested in the issue because he says it boils down to one of basic property rights.

“People have to wake up to the fact that if this can be done to us, what’s stopping it from happening to them?” he said.

Despite the Lake Country referendum results and broad support in other communities for a rail trail, Louis says he feels no pressure to back away from the band’s interests.

“For us, injustice is injustice. We believe we are in the right,” he said.

Just Posted

Complete list of B.C. Interior wildfire coverage

Up-to-date information on blazes happening the Kamloops Wildfire Centre

Interior Health wants you to protect your lungs with the smoky skies

Kelowna - With wildfires comes with the risk of smoke pollution across the Interior.

Owner of fruit stand recounts ‘flames popping up everywhere’ from wildfire near Peachland

The Mount Eneas wildfire is burning at about 200 hectares south of Peachland

Smoky skies cause Okanagan-wide air quality issues

Central Okanagan pushed to high risk

Update: Wildfire crews continue to fight Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire

The wildfire across the lake from Peachland is burning at 200 hectares

Breaking: More evacuation orders for Mount Eneas wildfire, south of Peachland

The BC Wildfire Service is battling a large wildfire alongside Highway 97 in Peachland.

Campers find refuge at Penticton community centre

Campers evacuated from Okanagan Lake Provincial Park

Ontario, Saskatchewan premiers join together to oppose federal carbon plan

Saskatchewan is already involved in a court case over the tax

For-profit ridesharing legislation long overdue: BC Conservatives

Interim party leader Scott Anderson said the provincial government should step out of the way

After cave rescue, soccer boys pray for protection at Thai temple

On Wednesday evening, the boys and coach were released from hospital

Gymnastics sex abuse victims join hands, accept courage award at ESPYs

The women who spoke out against the abuse by Larry Nassar stood together Wednesday night

UPDATED: Expect heavy delays on Highway 97

Motorists may use an alternate route via Highway 97C, Highway 5A and Highway 3

Fire in backcountry near Keremeos reaches 400 hectares in size

Two significant fires are burning in the Lower Similkameen, smoke can be seen as far away as Osoyoos

Cluster of fires fans smoke over West Kelowna

A cluster of three fires are burning above West Kelowna

Most Read