City hesitant to wade into dispute

The City of Enderby is reluctant to get involved in an aboriginal land titles dispute.

The City of Enderby is reluctant to get involved in an aboriginal land titles dispute.

Council has received a letter from the Splatsin First Nation about its decision to fence off land used by residents and tourists at Mabel Lake.

“I want to get some history on the issue first,” said Coun. Brad Case, a member of the committee responsible for parks and recreation in the city and Area F.

The Splatsin First Nation erected a fence around nine acres in mid-November to limit access.

The Regional District of North Okanagan, through the Enderby/Area F Joint Services Commission, wants provincial approval to use the site for permanent parking for boaters and residents in the area.

The First Nation says it has never ceded ownership of the land and it is concerned about the integrity of cultural values there.

“It’s a matter for the higher levels of government to deal with,” said Howie Cyr, Enderby’s mayor.

“We need to work on maintaining a healthy relationship with the Splatsin and we won’t allow a fence to become a deterrent to that.”

Cyr believes a resolution over the land may ultimately be possible.

“We want to keep the lines of communication open,” he said.

“In time, we hope we can come to an agreement on this and other issues.”

The nine acres has been used by residents of the Mabel Lake community, and tourists, for years.

“A lot of people use the property for parking and the trail down to the boat launch,” said Case.



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