Why did WFN buy houses?

The Westbank First Nation corporate division, also known as Ntityix (translates to Salmon in English) has purchased some townhomes on Spland Road in Westbank.

From what I understand, the townhomes were sitting vacant and unfinished for a few years. The cost of Ntityix’s contribution to the purchase was $5 million. A company it partnered with is covering the balance of about $6 million.

I am a little skeptical about this whole deal. When the Westbank First Nation enters into a business partnership, it doesn’t usually work out. The plan is to sink $1 million dollars into these homes to bring them up to code so occupancy permits can be issued.

I wonder why the Westbank First Nation didn’t go at this project alone? Was there not enough money in the bank to take on the purchase of the properties, plus the cost of a new roof and all that construction stuff?

I think everyone knows the saying, “live within your means.” Also, why contribute to already inflated rental prices in the Okanagan Valley? The townhomes will rent for $3,500 a month. I guess spending money on building affordable housing for the WFN’s ever growing member population is not happening.

With no costs to Westbank First Nation for land purchases to build housing (it owns a ton of land), you would think it’s pretty easy to put money towards affordable long-term accommodations. It seems the provincial government helps the WFN government with a good amount of monetary assistance for that stuff.

So I will not be one of the lucky people to pay $3,500 a month for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse. I would rather take out a mortgage and own a property in a nice neighbourhood and not be subject to yearly rent increases.

If anyone has questions about renting from Ntityix, go to Ntityix Development Corporation.

Graeme Derrickson, Westbank First Nation

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