EDITORIAL: Band, city deserve praise

New faces around the table can lead to different approaches and a willingness to resolve outstanding conflicts.

New faces around the table can lead to different approaches and a willingness to resolve outstanding conflicts.

That’s certainly the case between the new council members at both the Okanagan Indian Band and the City of Vernon, and the progress being made on conditions at Kin Beach.

Back in 2009, both parties were at logger-heads, with then band council demanding the city cancel a $733,000 project to improve safety concerns on Lakeshore Road. There were also suggestions the road, which crosses through reserve land, would be closed.

Jump ahead to 2012, and the band is accepting an offer from the city to install barriers to keep vehicles off the beach. It is also proceeding with a regulatory bylaw for the area and it would like the regional district to enforce the rules.

This turn of events is welcome news given the problems that have surfaced over the years.

People have driven their vehicles on to the reserve portion of the beach, putting others at risk. Dogs have run at large, creating a safety hazard, while after-hours parties have also been common.

The situation has been troublesome for adjacent Lakeshore Road residents and disrespectful of the band, which has provided part of its land to the general public as a recreational amenity.

Current band and city leadership deserve credit for pursuing a different approach and moving away from the animosity of the past.

In the end, working together as neighbours is a trend that will benefit both communities for the long-term.