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

Recognition for Mazu website founder Janice Taylor

Kelowna woman awarded alumni of distinction honour by Campion College

Kelowna child care centre selected to deliver low-cost universal child care

Kelowna’s Little Scholars program has qualified

Proportional representation not proving popular with voters in Central Okanagan

With three weeks to go, fewer than 9,400 referendum votes cast in three area ridings

Rockets lose double header to Winterhawks

Rockets fell 4-2 Sunday night

Comedy show to help Kelowna man paralyzed in crash

Warden is an incomplete C-5 quadriplegic, who was injured in a near fatal motor vehicle accident.

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Mother of missing Shuswap woman holds out hope she’ll be found

Nicole Bell’s mom urges public to report any information that might help

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Review: Okanagan Symphony dazzles with Verdi’s Requiem

Remembrance offering was months in the making

Video: Historic South Okanagan restaurant closes

Bittersweet ending for open mic night patrons and musicians in Penticton

Shelter struggles: Landlord takes over rental unit whenever visiting B.C. town

Renter’s story highlights how hard it is to find accommodation in Revelstoke

Summerland fallen soldier honoured in Alberta

Percy Broad called to the bar, more than a century after his death in battle

Lack of public response threatens B.C. referendum credibility

Of the few who have voted, poll finds most rejected proportional representation

Most Read