Westbank First Nation land swap deal finally hammered out

From left to right, Emil Anderson president Mike Jacobs, Westbank First Nation Advisory Council chair Gord Couch, Westbank First Nation Chief Robert Louie, District of West Kelowna mayor Doug Findlater and Beau Derickson with B.C. General Contracting cut the ribbon to officially open the Sneena Overpass on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014.
Image Credit: Contributed

KELOWNA – The Westbank First Nation will finally be compensated for the land it agreed to give up a decade ago for construction of the Westside Road interchange.

The tentative deal between the province and the First Nation was announced today, Feb. 20, in a media release.

The land and cash deal includes four separate parcels of land and $1.5 million. The money can be used for future purchases of land both sides agree upon.

According to the release, the First Nation is getting two private agricultural properties on Spiers Road and Hereron Road in Kelowna, a parcel of Crown land east of Kelowna on McCulloch Road next to Westbank First Nation lands at Medicine Hill, and a private property on the eastern shores of Lower Arrow Lake on Starlite Road near Fauquier in the Kootenays.

Construction of the $41 million Westside Road interchange was finished in the summer of 2013.

Back in 2005, the province agreed to a land swap with the First Nation as part of the overall agreement for a series of Highway 97 upgrade projects through reserve land, including the Bennett Bridge, the Campbell Road and Westside Road interchanges and the Sneena Overpass.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Howard Alexander at halexander@infonews.ca or call 250-491-0331. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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