The Splatsin First Nation has fenced off nine acres of land used by the Kingfisher community for parking.

The Splatsin First Nation has fenced off nine acres of land used by the Kingfisher community for parking.

Band action puts plan in doubt

Splatsin First Nation fences off portion of Kingfisher, compromising Regional District of North Okanagan plans

There’s concerns that First Nations actions could negatively impact land use planning at Kingfisher.

The Regional District of North Okanagan is developing a local area plan for the community at the north end of Mabel Lake. The plan includes nine acres that has been fenced off by the Splatsin First Nation to protect what it consider cultural values.

“This introduces some challenges and I’m not sure where we go from here,” said Rob Smailes, RDNO’s general manager of planning.

The site has been used for community parking for years and the district has been attempting to get approval from the provincial government for permanent use.

Besides boaters parking their vehicles and trailers, the land is used by 154 residences who only have water access to their homes on the west side of Mabel Lake and park their vehicles there.

“It could have serious implications,” said Herman Halvorson, rural Enderby director, of the Splatsin’s actions.

Halvorson believes the government must get involved.

“I think the situation with the Kingfisher plan will have to be dealt with at a very high level — a cabinet minister or the premier,” he said.

In a recent interview, Splatsin Chief Wayne Christian stated the band considers the land issue resolved and no development will be accepted.

“We have ownership. We aren’t looking to turn it over to anyone,” he said. “We have never ceded or sold any of our territory.”

RDNO has referred the Kingfisher local area plan to the Splatsin First Nation for input and staff says it will be sent again to try and keep dialogue open.

The concept of a local area plan for land use activities was first raised 13 years ago and in January 2010, a consultant was hired to develop the document.

 

“We’ve had six community meetings. There has been an extensive consultation process,” said Smailes.