Westbank First Nation ponies up for public beach extension | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Westbank First Nation ponies up for public beach extension

Chief Robert Louie, left, and Westbank First Nation resident advisory council president Gord Couch cut the ribbon at the dedication of a new portion of public beach, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015.
September 14, 2015 - 6:30 PM

WEST KELOWNA - Local residents can now enjoy an extended beach in Gellatly Bay courtesy of the Westbank First Nation.

The band dedicated a portion of band land along the lakeshore of Indian Reserve #9 adjacent to the public beach at Gellatly Bay today, Sept. 14.

Chief Robert Louie says the band recognizes the importance of recreation and pointed out the amount of lakeshore land the band owns is limited.

“We could have chosen to develop this land. We did not. Instead we chose to open it up for the community," he says.

The band’s public works department has been working on the project for six months.

The value of the project is estimated $325,000 for landscaping, construction and shoring work although Louie pointed out the land is worth considerably more.

West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater welcomes the addition to the infrastructure around Gellatly Bay and says both the city and the band have plans to extend the beach walkway both north past the band’s private beach and south past The Cove resort.

Louie says the band has considered trying to buy additional waterfront land on Okanagan Lake and has already purchased waterfront land on Arrow Lake in the Kootenays.

“Waterfront is very pricey, so it’s not that easy, but we have talked about it," he says.

Westbank First Nation’s main reserves #9 and #10 occupy aproximately 2,424 acres on the west side of Okanagan Lake.

The band has an additional five acres in IR#8 in Kelowna’s Mission area plus 2,911 acres in the Medicine Creek #12 and Medicine Hill #11 reserves in Gallaghers Canyon.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald@infonews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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