It was announced on Tuesday (Feb. 8), that the Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB), the City of Kelowna and the District of Lake Country agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to improve and complete infrastructures like the Okanagan Rail Trail as well as important health and safety measures.
Discussions went on for a few months before coming to an agreement. There are already plans in the process of being made to overcome some of the challenges being faced.
“Improvements to water and wastewater on IR#7 will ensure a safe water supply and reduce septic pollution, while road improvements will increase safety and pave the way for economic development opportunities. We look forward to working with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to accomplish the road improvements,” said Byron Louis, Chief of the Okanagan Band.
Each party has its own goals to follow a part of the agreement.
The OKIB has agreed to create road access on the east side of Duck Lake, the opportunity for water and sewer services to existing residents and future projects and an addition to the Okanagan Rail Trail.
The City of Kelowna will complete the Okanagan Rail Trail, obtain full access to the industrial lands from Commonwealth Road, protect the city’s main sewer line within the trail rail and take care of the water supply from Lake Country for the neighbourhood.
The District of Lake Country has the longest list to accomplish. They have to address capacity issues on Beaver Lake Road. To do that, it will open Commonwealth Road as an arterial road to Jim Bailey Road from Highway 97. It is also will add a right-of-way road north of Beaver Lake Road to the Clearwater/Copperhill subdivision.
Lake Country will also help in completing the Okanagan Rail Trail, making minor boundary adjustments and securing interim sewer servicing from the City of Kelowna.
Once the government of Canada provides the lands to Reserve, the OKIB will provide access to the Okanagan Rail Trail.
Legal agreements that will include funding and responsibilities will be finalized within the coming months.
Commonwealth Road between Highway 97 and Jim Bailey Road is one of the key improvements that will be made. The City of Kelowna is going to lead the process and work closely with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to help the area deal with traffic.
The three governments will get together soon to finalize the agreements and have a ceremonial signing.