The City of Vernon and Okanagan Indian Band are working together as part of a national program called the Community Economic Development Initiative.
Vernon mayor Akbal Mund says it’s one of 10 partnerships in Canada as part of a three-year program aimed at improving economic prosperity through joint community economic development and land use planning.
“We’ve had one meeting. We’re going back and going to have future meetings to come to a consensus on what concerns we may have within our area. One may be the protection of Okanagan Lake at Kin (Beach). That may be by connecting sewer to the I-R 6 area there. So that’s a benefit for not only City of Vernon, but also for the Okanagan Indian Band,” Mund tells CJIB News.
Mund says the federal government is providing funding for the projects which can include joint land use planning, tourism, infrastructure, and emergency management planning and food security.
“It’s trying to get municipalities and First Nations to work together for their economic development initiatives,” adds Mund.
Mund says other projects could include the band working with the O’Keefe Ranch on tourism benefits, and providing a road connection from the Westside Road area to Tronson Road.
OKIB Chief Byron Louis says he’s pleased to participate in the initiative with Mayor Mund and his Council.
“We recognize by working together on economic development initiatives in our traditional territory, we will have the opportunity to identify some challenges and create strategies to overcome them. The result of these efforts will strengthen our relationship and the regional economy,” says Louis.
A city release says the CEDI experience opens the way for First Nations and neighbouring municipal communities to create economic and social advantages.
“The CEDI partnership will provide an opportunity to increase awareness of OKIB’s history and share this information with others, creating a stronger understanding of the Okanagan Indian Band community.”
CEDI enables participating communities to benefit from workshops, study tours, and peer mentorship, which help build strong partnerships and therefore capacity for joint economic development planning, foster strong inter-community relationships, and improve the quality of life for all residents.
Find out more about the program at www.fcm.ca/cedi