Millions for cultural centre

Millions of dollars have been pledged to celebrate OKIB culture, history and language and promote tourism in the North Okanagan.

The province will be providing $1,333,200 and the federal government $1,600,000 for construction of an Indigenous Cultural Centre and Nature Park in Lake Country.

The facility will be a collaboration between Okanagan Indian Band and the District of Lake Country with a total cost of $4 million.

The Indigenous Cultural Centre and Nature Park will be built to meet the British Columbia Energy Step Code and will provide a facility that will enhance and celebrate OKIB culture, history and language.

The centre will contribute to promoting tourism as well as further understanding of the traditional and continued land use of the Syilx people.

It will be constructed adjacent to the Okanagan Rail Trail, a 50 km multimodal trail that will provide connections to other communities to experience the cultural centre and nature park. A new stormwater treatment wetland will also be incorporated into the design which will result in restoration and enhancement of the wetlands and grassland habitat.

“We are very pleased to hear that funding has been confirmed for the Lake Country Indigenous Cultural Centre and Nature Park,” said Byron Louis, Chief of the Okanagan Indian Band in Vernon. “The Indigenous Cultural Centre will provide an opportunity for all people to learn about the Okanagan people and our traditions through art. Through understanding, we can build quality relationships and become stronger together.”

Lake Country Mayor James Baker said the community is looking forward to partnering with the OKIB.

“It is imperative for the entire community to preserve and showcase the culture of the OKIB and this community amenity will facilitate the opportunity to do so,” said Baker.

The project is expected to be completed by 2023.

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