The re-elected chief of the Okanagan Indian Band says the message from voters was received loud and clear.
Byron Louis says his 8 vote victory margin over former chief Dan Wilson, along with six new band council members being elected, shows members want change, both social and economic.
Louis says one project could be using band land north of Swan Lake.
“There is probably a total of close to 60 acres in there that can open specific opportunities for our people, but that’s f something we have to bring forward,” Louis tells Kiss FM.
Louis says they also have to upgrade water and waste-water services for members, and will look to work with all levels of governments for funding.
Louis hopes the new council can focus on moving ahead with new social and economic projects to benefit all band members.
“That’s the way everyone should be looking at it. It’s sort of partly politics — us versus them –that basically got us in the predicament we find ourselves in today,” adds Louis.
Louis says he received 210 votes, while Dan Wilson had 202, Joey Jack received 134, with 25 for Reynolds Bonneau who had withdrawn from the race.
Wilson didn’t win for chief, but he was elected to the band council.
“You always have that dynamic in First Nations,” says Louis, which asked if he would have a divided council.
The Okanagan Indian Band has returned Byron Louis as it’s chief for a fourth term.
He beat out former chief Dan Wilson and Joseph Jack as over 450 voters turned out with another 129 mail-in ballots received.
Four of the ten councilors elected retained their seats with six new candidates joining the Band Council.
All will serve two year terms from April 3rd until April 2nd of 2019.
Chief Byron Louis
Councillor Allan Louis
Councillor Dan Wilson
Councillor Leland Wilson
Councillor Shawna Whitney
Councillor Sheldon Pierre Louis
Councillor Garett Lawrence
Councillor Dean Louis
Councillor Cindy Brewer
Councillor Val Chiba
Councillor Tim Isaac