March 09, 2016 - 6:30 PM
PENTICTON - The Penticton Indian Band continues to move its economy forward with a milestone announcement expected in the coming weeks.
Penticton Indian Band Chief Jonathan Kruger says one of the locatee owners is poised to sign a letter of intent within the next few weeks which will see the lease of a three-acre parcel of land for a commercial development on their lands across the new Satikw Bridge.
The new business could bring up to 30 jobs to the area.
Kruger says once the deal is completed, the band will be under strict timelines to complete the leasing agreement, construct a road and complete other infrastructure in order to have a building up by next April.
“Motorists along the channel can expect to see site preparations underway just north of the bridge on the locatee lands in as early as two weeks,” Kruger says, adding the band is 'highly focused' on completing the timetable as scheduled.
There’s also a potential developer seriously looking at an additional 10-acre site on the Satikw lands, he says.
Chris Scott, an economic development consultant for the Penticton band, says infrastructure, including water, sewer, hydro, roads and telephone service, is being designed by their engineers and construction of a water line, running through the airport lands to service the Satikw lands, is set to begin in the next two weeks.
Scott says people continue to ask what is being done on the other side of the 'bridge to nowhere', and he continues to point out to people the need to develop infrastructure before economic development can take place.
The Satikw Bridge took $8.5 million of band, provincial and federal funds to build, but further funding of infrastructure on the lands was delayed because of impediments arising from last fall’s federal election.
“For the past four months since the bridge was completed we have remained market-focused as we identify potential opportunities. Council recently approved additional expenditures from the bridge budget to complete detailed design engineering for the Satikw developments,” Scott says.
Designs for water, sewage lift station and 'shallows', which include gas, power, Telus and cable infrastructure, were just completed this week, Scott says, and will now be reviewed. That will trigger an additional $1 million in infrastructure spending which will be recovered by taxation and development cost charges.
The band is also waiting for the remainder of a conditional grant of approximately $900,000 from the provincial government to be released once the band has proven it can provide connection for all of the locatee owners to the bridge.
“We worked for, and have found, a solution for access for all the locatee lands,” Chief Kruger says, adding the band has been working collaboratively with the City of Penticton and the locatee owners. “We’re trying to look after the locatee’s needs. If they prosper, we will prosper.”
Kruger adds the band is committed to putting a road, paving and lights into the development, because 'that completes a vision for people'.
Plans are in the works to bring at least two more parcels of land into development, subject to a land designation by the members of the band and approval from band council.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016