Sandy Beach cleanup well received by OKIB, public

Beach cleanup applauded

Vernon's Sandy Beach has a new look since a partnership between the Okanagan Indian Band and regional District of North Okanagan.

The beach, adjacent to Kin Beach Park, is on OKIB land and has long had problems with parties, illegal bonfires, and garbage.

Last month, the two governments announced a partnership that has seen the RDNO take over maintenance of the beach, which the band did not have the manpower for.

On its Facebook page, the OKIB says cleaning at the beach "is coming along nicely."

Indeed, beach users have reacted positively, with some saying it's now the cleanest beach in the region.

"The RDNO is working closely with our (Territorial Stewardship Department) to ensure any culturally significant material is not disturbed at the site while still doing a thorough job cleaning the beach," the band says.

Signs have gone up, notifying the public about no dogs and fires. And, cultural signs that tell the Syilx story of the beach area are in the works. Garbage cans have also been installed.

"So exciting to see this happening... It is about time people start to respect this beautiful beach. Can’t wait to see and learn the history of this area that we live in," Brenda Fraser commented on Facebook.

OKIB Chief Byron Louis said in July, when the agreement was announced: “Sandy Beach is an important part of a long history of Syilx culture and practice. Our occupancy and use, such as an important fishery and as a gathering point for our people and visitors, is a matter of public and oral record. Trade and commerce were conducted here, as were celebrations. We are happy to see an agreement that will ensure the beach is maintained to a high standard.”

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