UPDATED: Lower Kootenay Band members approve land swap with Regional District of Central Kootenay

Web Lead

  • Sep. 27, 2015 8:00 a.m.

Twenty-five votes cast, 25 yes votes. On Thursday, Lower Kootenay Band voters have approved a land swap that gives them direct access to Kootenay Lake.

“This decision is of great significance,” LKB Chief Jason Louie said on Friday. “It was a rollercoaster of emotions last night when the results came in. We’re talking about 100 years at least of our people not having a presence on Kootenay Lake.”

After years of discussion and negotiation between the LKB and Regional District of Central Kootenay officials, a tentative agreement that would allow the RDCK to acquire land adjacent to its Lister landfill site was reached earlier this year. Approval of LKB voters was required.

“In the first round of voting (in August) the law required that 75 per cent of eligible voters approve the agreement,” Louie said.

That didn’t happen, but 30 of the 33 people who did vote were in favour of the deal, which includes $300,000 in cash (determined by an independent evaluation) and an additional $300,000 for a joint LKB-RDCK economic development initiative “to examine and expand opportunities for LKB’s community economic activities.”

Additionally, the province offered 474 acres at Burden’s Cut and LaFrance Creek on Kootenay Lake through an “incremental treaty agreement”. The LKB will hold the property in fee simple until a treaty is settled with the Ktunaxa Nation, at which point the parcel becomes Ktunaxa land.

“In the second vote, a simple majority of ballots cast would determine the outcome,” Louie said. “All 25 ballots were in favour of the agreement — there were zero opposing it.”

Louie paid tribute to his community’s elders and past leaders, many of whom didn’t live long enough to see the arrangement to completion.

“I think of our elders guiding us and feel sad they weren’t here for the final count.”

RDCK Area B director Tanya Wall said the referendum outcome has two primary benefits.

“From my position it’s a move forward that allows us to have a sustainable landfill plan — if you are going to own a landfill you need to be responsible for it,” she said on Tuesday. “Just as important, it is a relationship builder that shows that we can all work together to the benefit of all parties.”

Wall spoke of the positive relationship between Creston Valley’s regional directors and the Town of Creston, adding that including LKB in the mix is important to the entire area.

“We have a much greater voice with other levels of government when they know that we all work together for the betterment of all of our residents,” she said.

Louie said it is too early to determine just what purposes the Kootenay Lake land, which includes waterfront and mountainside, could be put to.

“It’s up to our citizens to determine what it looks like in the future and maybe that’s for future generations to decide,” he said. “Right now we will enjoy it in its natural state and take advantage of the beach and hiking opportunities.”

He said that the land swap is much more meaningful than a simple sale of the Lister property would have been.

“Money can be spent, but land is forever,” Louie said. “We made history yesterday and that’s something to be proud of. It was a genuine team effort and I credit RDCK representatives, past and present, for realizing it would take a collaborative effort to accomplish what just happened.”

Just Posted

ASC approves their work plan and reviews spatial analysis

FireWise Consulting Ltd. provided an overview of two components for the ASC to consider.

Hospice continues to serve

For more than 30 years, volunteers with the Creston Valley Hospice Society… Continue reading

Local singers to perform in Carnegie Hall, NY

Boundless vocal ensemble which features 10 singers from Bonners Ferry, Sandpoint, and Creston, BC

VIDEO: Highway 3A reopened after mudslide cleared

A mudslide closed Highway 3A between Castlegar and Nelson just north of the Brilliant Dam on Wednesday.

Bad behaviour dominates police week

Bad behaviour, some fueled by alcohol, was the running theme as Creston RCMP responded to 57 calls for assistance from April 10-17, Staff Sergeant Ryan Currie said on Tuesday.

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Renewed plea for answers in 40-year-old B.C. cold case

The family of Lawrence Wellington Allard is hoping a private reward will get them some closure

UPDATED: Arrest made after van hits pedestrians in Toronto

Police are not saying what is the extent of injuries yet

B.C. farmland values grew at slower rate in 2017: report

Vancouver Island saw the highest growth in the province

Lt. Governor back in the saddle, with a legacy of land stewardship

Judith Guichon ends term today, returns to Nicola Valley ranch

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Maple Leafs look to stay alive tonight as they face elimination against Boston on home ice

Electric vehicles more affordable than you think: BC Hydro

Myths blocking road to electric vehicle adoption

Kinder Morgan bungled pipeline public relations: poll

The survey suggests 58 per cent of Canadians believe the company is to blame for poor perceptions

Plane makes a surprise landing on the Coquihalla

Social media was alive Sunday night with pictures from Coquihalla commuters.

Most Read