The Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) and the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) have reached an agreement for the maintenance of Sandy Beach on Okanagan Lake.
The beach will be maintained by the RDNO year-round with beach raking during the summer and will be kept at a standard applied to all Electoral Area B and C parks and trails.
Sandy Beach will now fall under the RDNO’s parks bylaw, which will allow for the RDNO to enforce against littering and vandalism. Additionally, the RDNO can now enforce the ban on fires and dogs on the beach.
Changes will not be immediate since beach-cleaning equipment has been ordered and will arrive in the coming months. However, in the next few weeks, it is expected that the development of the beach will start, which includes garbage can placement, tree pruning and bylaw signage.
Interpretive signage will be guided by knowledge from the OKIB and installed on the beach to provide beach-goers with information about the history of the land. The OKIB will also give an official name for the beach shortly.
“Sandy Beach is an important part of a long history of Syilx culture and practice,” said OKIB Chief Byron Louis. “Our occupancy and use, such as an important fishery and as a gathering point for our people and visitors, is a matter of public and oral record. Trade and commerce were conducted here, as were celebrations. We are happy to see an agreement that will ensure the beach is maintained to a high standard.”
Said Amanda Shatzko, RDNO Electoral Area C (BX-Silver Star) director: “Finding a mutually beneficial agreement was the goal from the onset of this project. We are happy to have taken the time to agree to a solution that works for both of our organizations and the public’s enjoyment of the beach.”
Added Electoral Area B (BX-Swan Lake) director Bob Fleming: “Sandy Beach is a beautiful spot along Okanagan Lake, and we are proud to work with the OKIB to make it more accessible, clean and safe for locals and visitors.”
The City of Vernon maintains one half of the stretch of beach, Kin Beach, and the RDNO will maintain the other half, Sandy Beach.