Okanagan Indian Band taking legal action over rail-trail land
Posted by Zig Zag
The stretch of land is approximately 28,000 acres of the 47.5 km of land proposed for the project, but lies right in the middle of the corridor. The band says CN doesn’t have the rights to sell the portion of land.
“It’s unfortunate it’s come to this, but we make no apologies when it comes to protecting the legal interests of our membership,” says OKIB Chief Byron Louis. “Our position remains the same. The rail line runs through the Commonage Reserve and the OKIB has never lawfully surrendered the land.”
The municipalities set to purchase the land from CN are still moving forward with the acquisition.
“The partners remain unanimous in our commitment to complete this once in a lifetime acquisition,” says Doug Gilchrist, director of community planning for the City of Kelowna. “We are proceeding on the understanding that the Commonage claim is a matter between the Federal Government and First Nations and it should have no bearing on the acquisition of land between a private company and local government.”
The legal action comes on the heels of another hurdle in purchasing the stretch of railway. Voters in the District of Lake Country knocked down the municipalities borrowing model to pay part of its share for the corridor.
Now Lake Country is holding a referendum to determine if residents want to borrow the nearly $2.6-million dollars.
Gilchrist says he’s been informed about the notice of claim, but has not yet received a copy and has no knowledge of it being filed with the courts.