Two Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) members returned home Tuesday after their homes were destroyed by the White Rock Lake Wildfire in 2021.
The OKIB was able to secure a pair of modular homes last year from Pine Ridge Modular Homes Limited, located in Burns Lake, despite extended wait times in the industry. The modular homes will be a place for members to reside until their permanent homes have been re-built.
“On behalf of OKIB members and council, I would like to welcome our band members back to the reserve,” said Chief Byron Louis. “The return of the first of our band members to their homes is a step towards a new beginning.”
The band says more members and their families will return to the community next week as the OKIB has secured more fully-insulated, self-contained mini-homes which are suitable for all four seasons. The mini-homes will be set up on their properties for them to reside in while their permanent residences are being re-constructed.
The band members’ return came at the conclusion of the site clean-up, which involved the removal of all debris that remained from the wildfire and the preparation of the sites for the construction of new homes.
A GoFundMe campaign is underway for anyone who wishes to donate towards the recovery effort. The campaign has raised just shy of $11,000 as of Tuesday afternoon. People can also contact recovery manager Jenelle Brewer at firstname.lastname@example.org to make a donation and receive an official tax receipt.