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Feds help fund Penticton bridge

The federal government has kicked in an additional $2.4 million to help build a bridge across the southern part of the Okanagan River channel.

The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Bernard Valcourt today announced a federal government investment in support of the Penticton Indian Band and the construction of a new bridge over the Okanagan River Channel in British Columbia.

The Satikw Crossing will provide access from Highway 97 to the Channel Lands and is part of a long term economic strategy that will create up to $2 million in annual revenue for the Band and over 600 jobs in the next 10 years.

“Our Government’s investment in the Satikw Crossing is an important economic asset that will benefit the entire community and is a clear demonstration of our commitment to working with First Nations to create the conditions for stronger, healthier, more self-sufficient communities," said Valcourt.

The strategy also includes future development plans of retail space, 270,000 square feet of business/light commercial space, and a 150 room hotel.

The project is expected to be tendered by November 2014. Penticton Indian Band Chief Jonathan Kruger could not comment on how much the PIB has contributed to the project before it is put to tender.

"It means a lot. We've been talking about making a bridge for years and it's finally coming to reality," said Kruger. "A lot of traffic is going to West Kelowna and Kelowna because we don't have a lot of that shopping."

Expanding opportunities for First Nations to fully participate in the economy is a priority for the Government of Canada. The federal government will contribute $2.4 million to support construction of the bridge through its Community Opportunity Readiness Program. 

"This is a really good day and to get some funding from Canada towards the bridge project is certainly good news." he said. "Penticton is the hub of the South Okanagan and we need to work together to create that capital for the South Okanagan."

The Government previously contributed $500,000 to support engineering and design work for the bridge.

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