In November, Jason Louie was elected chief of the Lower Kootenay Band for a third consecutive term. (Photo credit Brian Lawrence)

YEAR IN REVIEW: Chief and council focusing on Lower Kootenay Band well-being

In 2019, the band will break ground on a 12,000-square-foot health centre.

By Brian Lawrence

When Jason Louie was elected as Lower Kootenay Band chief for a third term, he knew that a busy year was ahead. But he’s prepared for the hard work, which continues the band council’s goals of strengthening the financial and physical well-being of LKB members.

In 2019, the band will break ground on a 12,000-square-foot health centre and will vote in a referendum on the construction of a drug and alcohol treatment centre.

“Health and substance abuse are things I’ve had to live with and witness, and see so many friends and relatives leave this world because they didn’t have access to medical attention,” said Louie. “They didn’t even have a doctor.”

The health centre, which will also house the band’s administration offices, will be built on the site of the decommissioned St. Peter’s Church, and offer foot care, as well as the services of a diabetic nurse and nurse practitioner. It and the treatment centre would be partially funded by the First Nations Health Authority and would bring some peace of mind to LKB residents.

“Our cemetery is full of young people who could not overcome their addictions,” said Louie. “Seeing people have a second chance at life is the most rewarding thing.”

Louie has been the band’s chief since the 2010 election and was returned to the position in November, joined by the re-elected Coun. Sandra Luke and new Coun. Rob Louie Sr.; the latter tied with Wayne Louie, who conceded in the weeks following the Nov. 30 election. They serve alongside Josie Fullarton and Jared Basil, whose positions aren’t up for re-election until 2020.

He is looking forward to continuing to guide the LKB with a vision of self-sufficiency and self-reliance, a goal that will be accomplished by various business ventures, including the ownership and operation of Ainsworth Hot Springs and Morris Flowers, as well as a partnership in a Creston Valley orchard.

Since 2011, he has been working through the land claims process with the federal government and is now entering financial negotiations to repay the LKB for appropriated land on Kootenay River Road and Highway 21.

“We’re always thinking of the membership, at present, and into the future,” he said.

Among the recent band accomplishments, he’s most proud of is the $500,000 in grant funding obtained by housing co-ordinator Debbie Edge-Partington to refurbish some of the community’s homes, which weren’t built to any particular standards. The funding has gone toward replacing or upgrading decks, plumbing, septic systems, and roofing, and Fortis has helped with the purchase of hot water tanks and heat pumps.

“Any problem that can happen with a house is happening with these houses,” said Louie.

He also appreciates the significance of having the LKB logo displayed on Creston RCMP vehicles, a move spearheaded by Staff Sgt. Ryan Currie to acknowledge general difficulty indigenous people have had with the RCMP.

“That’s a symbol of unity and also an acknowledgment of the traditional homeland of the Yaqan Nukiy people,” he said.

Looking to the immediate future, Louie hopes to bring the LKB members closer together, possibly by hosting more social events, such as dinners without mention of politics — he may hold the title of chief, but he and the councillors are simply part of the community.

“We want to show the community we don’t live and breathe these positions,” he said.

Just Posted

Nine fires burning in West Kootenay

All fires considered to be lightning caused.

Lightning strikes cause fire in the Creston Valley

Two fires were located on Uri Road in Wynndel.

Castlegar mayor releases FCM itinerary

Bruno Tassone delivers promised report on activities at Quebec City municipal conference

Walk a mile in her shoes comes to Creston

AM Event Coordination has teamed up with Save-On-Foods and Kootenai Community Centre… Continue reading

LETTER: Fair Oaks Farms Animal Abuse

As a dairy farmer and beef producer, I saw red and felt anger inside of me that I have not felt in many years.

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Victoria mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Most Read