All in favour? How Penticton candidates see future relationships with Penticton Indian Band - InfoNews

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All in favour? How Penticton candidates see future relationships with Penticton Indian Band

Penticton municipal candidates discussed the city's relationship with the Penticton Indian Band.
October 15, 2018 - 6:30 PM

PENTICTON - The city’s relationship with the Penticton Indian Band is an emerging issue in this month’s Penticton municipal elections, brought to the forefront by Mayoral candidate John Vassilaki’s insistence the city begin earnest discussions with the band to develop industrial lands on the west side of the Okanagan river channel.

It’s an issue that has been vocalized by other candidates, most notably Jesse Martin, who believes the city must embark on a whole new approach to dealing with the band.

We asked Penticton municipal candidates: Is the City of Penticton doing enough to work with its neighbours at the Penticton Indian Band?

Below are some excerpts from candidate responses. Full responses, as submitted, are at the bottom of the story.

Penticton can do more

Andrew Jakubeit (for Mayor): For significant work to take place it requires a stronger relationship to understand PIB history, culture plus truth and reconciliation…We haven’t been able to meet council to council like we have in the past. We are working towards that becoming a reality and moving forward it needs to be the first priority of the new council.
James Blake (for Mayor): We need to supportively reach across the channel and continue to positively communicate with our native friends and neighbours to build a unified community with a shared bright future.
Jason Cox (for Mayor): I would like to see more shared services with the Penticton Indian Band including transit, arts and culture and community support. I would also like to see the economic development teams of both communities finding opportunities where they can collaborate and support each other.
Dominic Wheeler (for Mayor): It is important that we work to increase and maintain a positive relationship with the Penticton Indian Band as we work together towards development of and maintenance of our valley.
John Vassilaki (for Mayor): It is important for us to understand their plan for future developments and for them to understand our priorities.
Jukka Laurio (for Mayor): The Penticton Indian Band has been working on development of its lands for over 10 years. The City of Penticton has not cooperated or assisted in any way.
Connie Sahlmark: I would like to see a partnership with the band as they have done some very innovative green building projects. They have more progressive zoning for such on their lands.
Campbell Watt: …We need to look more into being more open minded as to how to work together from an open collaboration perspective. I feel there are ways to collaborate where everybody “wins” but it takes true collaboration and I would hope we do a better job of that in the future.
Daryl Clarke: In order for us on both sides of the channel to grow and prosper we must look for new and innovative ways to collaborate with our First Nation neighbours as we move into the future.
Kevin Proteau: Our neighbours west of the channel are absolutely essential to Penticton’s growth and development. We are 42 square km and the Penticton Indian Band is 186 square km. The future of our development is tied to the Penticton Indian Band.

Council candidate Kevin Proteau.
Council candidate Kevin Proteau.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

Frank Regehr:  We should be open to mutually beneficial opportunities.
Max Picton: We are happy to look at any opportunity that may present benefit to both of our communities.
Julius Bloomfield: Future improved cooperation with the Penticton Indian Band should be a priority for the city.
Katie Robinson: There is always room for improvement and the more consultation the better when it comes to our neighbours.
Glenn Clark: Things appear to be moving in a good direction now that we have joined (the reserve lands) with another bridge.

It’s not as easy as it sounds
Doug Maxwell:
 Collaboration with PIB needs to be much sharper than it is. In order for this to happen it must be a two way street…..the Penticton Indian Band must also want to collaborate with the city.
Marie Prior: I believe through my research today, it seems very difficult to negotiate with the PIB in fact.

Penticton councillor candidate Marie Prior.
Penticton councillor candidate Marie Prior.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

Jake Kimberley: The Penticton Indian Band have always been very independent in dealing with what happens on their lands, taken from my own past experience.

These council candidates did not provide us with their comments:

John Archer
Duffy Baker
Karen Brownlee
Christopher Evison
Joe Frocklage
Isaac Gilbert
Lynn Kelsey
Jesse Martin
David O’Brien
Christopher Millin
Darryl Sanders
Judy Sentes

The following are the candidates’ full response to our question, "Is the city of Penticton doing enough to work with its neighbours at the Penticton Indian Band?

Jukka Laurio: No, Penticton goes out of it way to run interference and create red tape. It is one of the most common complaints about the City - delays and difficulties in the handling of permits, etc. The PIB has been working on development of its lands for over ten years, the City of Penticton has not cooperated or assisted in any way.

Andrew Jakubeit: For significant work to take place it requires a stronger relationship to understand PIB history, culture plus truth and reconciliation. While I attend many events such aboriginal day, pow wows, truth and reconciliation seminars, and regular dialogue with the Chief; we haven’t been able to meet council to council like we have in the past. We are working towards that becoming a reality and moving forward it needs to be the first priority of the new council.

There is a tremendous opportunity to interconnect and beautify the channel walkway in partnership with the Penticton Indian Band. I believe this would be a tremendous joint project, and an opportunity to connect our communities and showcase First Nations culture. With Penticton Nissan now open at the Satikw Crossing we should see other commercial or industrial businesses relocating or opening there.

There has been two major housing developments currently being constructed that has been a significant economic driver.  The city recently launched an economic development partnership that includes the Penticton Indian Band and their development corporation along with other stakeholders such as the Airport, Okanagan College, Industrial area association, downtown, chamber, etc... The sharing of information, challenges and opportunities will offer some synergies and strategies to leverage economic benefit for all parties.

James Blake: Absolutely not! We need to supportively reach across the channel and continue to positively communicate with our Native friends and neighbours to build a unified community with a shared bright future. 

Jason Cox: The Penticton Indian Band is the closest neighbouring government to our own. Our communities will always be connected by geography and ideally, we will have a relationship that continually seeks to find a path that is mutually beneficial. We must never approach a communication with any neighbour looking solely at what we get out of the proposal. This is not working with our neighbour for true collaboration, this can be seen as looking after self-interest alone.  I would like to see more shared services with the Penticton Indian Band including transit, arts and culture and community support. I would also like to see the economic development teams of both communities finding opportunities where they can collaborate and support each other. The indigenous community living on either side of the channel are tremendously important to the fabric of the entire region and I look forward to building a strong and respectful relationship.

Dominic Wheeler: It is important that we work to increase and maintain a positive relationship with the Penticton Indian Band as we work together towards development of and maintenance of our valley.

John Vassilaki:  We can always improve any and all partnerships. We need to place considerable effort into on going communications with the Penticton Indian Band. It is important for us to understand their plan for future developments, and for them to understand our priorities. I also have a deep respect for First Nations and look forward to working with their leadership team.

Connie Sahlmark: I would like to see a partnership with the band as they have done some very innovative green building projects. They have more progressive ‘zoning’ for such on their lands. I would like to see Bus routes extended to the reserve as suggested by Jesse Martin. It is good sense to assist our neighbours accessing the city just as with West Bench and Naramata.

Campbell Watt: I think the City is trying to work with the PIB but the interaction has been limited. I think instead of inviting them to simply be a part of our committee’s by having a seat on the committee and only trying to meet on occasion we need to look more into being more open minded as to how to work together from an open collaboration perspective. I feel there are ways to collaborate where everybody “wins” but it takes true collaboration and I would hope we do a better job of that in the future.

Daryl Clarke: The city of Penticton has several agreements in place with the P.I.B. but we can always do more. We have a finite amount of land available to us and much of future growth will happen on P.I.B. land. In order for all of us on both sides of the channel to grow and prosper we must look for new and innovative way to collaborate with our first nation neighbours as we move into the future.

Kevin Proteau: No ! Our neighbors west of the channel are absolutely essential to Penticton's growth and development. We are 42 square km and the Penticton Indian Band is 186 square km. The future of our development is tied to the Penticton Indian Band. Beyond that our First Peoples offer offer us a rich history and culture that is unique to this area.

Frank Regehr: Penticton provides a share of casino revenues to the PIB, as well as water and sewer services to PIB residential communities. We should be open to mutually beneficial opportunities.

Max Picton: The City of Penticton is always open to collaborating with our neighbours at the PIB. We are happy to look at any opportunity that may present benefit to both of our communities.

Julius Bloomfield: I do not want to look back and criticize, I would rather look forward and improve. There is a huge opportunity for both the city and the PIB to benefit from greater levels of cooperation. These opportunities rage from shared utilities and energy production to commercial and residential development. Future improved cooperation with the PIB should be a priority for the city.

Doug Maxwell: Collaboration with PIB needs to be much sharper than it is. In order for this to happen it must be a two way street. PIB must also want to collaborate with the city.

Katie Robinson: There is always room for improvement and the more consultation the better when it comes to our neighbours.

Glenn Clark: Things appear to be moving in a good direction now that we have joined with another bridge.  Otherwise, I have no idea what negotiations have been going on with our neighbors across the channel and can’t really comment.

Marie Prior: I believe through my research today, it seems very difficult to negotiate with the PIB in fact if it were possible to have the PIB help with our city costs which they use, schools, services etc. it might help resolve some of the concerns directed towards them and help establish a cohesive relationship.

Jake Kimberley: I’m not sure what this council has done regarding the city’s relationship with PIB.  The PIB seem to be developing some of their land for housing and commercial investment, so I’m not sure based on these investments they need our help.  They have always been very independent in dealing with what happens on their lands taken from my own past experience.


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