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Okanagan Indian Band tired of waiting for Defence Department to clean up military explosives

One of the Unexploded Explosive Ordnances removed from Madeline Lake in the summer of 2014 can be seen in this contributed photo.
Image Credit: Contributed/Don Louis
January 18, 2016 - 10:46 AM

VERNON - Military explosives left littered on their lands by the Department of National Defence continue to hamper the Okanagan Indian Band’s plans for development.

In a media release issued today, Jan. 18, Chief Byron Louis is calling on the Defence Department to fulfill promises made in the original agreement for use of the borrowed land, which states: ‘The Permittee [DND] undertakes to repair all damage done to the land and to fill all holes for the protection of stock and riders.’

Further, ‘[DND] agrees to remove, or dispose of all duds from the permit area at the termination of any firing practice…’

The Defence Department has stated it will assess and initiate clearances once the band finalizes its economic development implementation plan and timelines, Louis said in the release.

“There is no such requirement, under the terms of the permits, for the Okanagan Indian Band to submit an ‘economic development implementation plan’ or ‘timelines’ prior to DND clearing the lands of (unexploded explosive ordnance),” he said.

Until the land is cleared, potential uses for the property is in limbo, Louis said.

Recently, Aquilini Development and Construction Inc. settled out of court with the the Defence Department over unexploded explosive ordnance on their property which is near Okanagan Indian Band lands.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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