July 28, 2014 - 2:37 PM
PENTICTON - Penticton Indian Band chief Jonathan Kruger hopes to involve locatees and the band community in development projects, including the new bridge that will be built over the Okanagan River channel.
The project is part of Kruger’s big plans to improve the band’s economy and community. The bridge is just a gateway for some of his other grand plans to construct commercial big box stores, hotels and other amenities needed in the South Okanagan.
“This is a really good opportunity for the Penticton Indian Band to work together with locatees and the band and the city, the regional district and South Okanagan valley,” he said. “We’re doing our part… to make this hub better for everybody.”
The band negotiated a conditional grant agreement with the province and will use the funds to create the bridge and provide access to locatee owners, Kruger said.
“We want to encourage and empower our locatees along there to really open the door for development opportunities for them and our band,” he said. “We all benefit from this.”
The bridge will run across the Okanagan River, connecting Green Mountain Road and Highway 97. The river channel cuts off access to the locatees and the band has been in discussion with the province for several years about getting funding to ensure access for locatees and ultimately everyone in the area.
Aboriginal affairs minister Bernard Valcourt announced on the weekend the ministry will give $2.4 million for the bridge project. Earlier in the year, the federal government gave $500,000 to the project through the Community Economic Opportunity Program, to support the bridge’s engineering and design process.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014