Nature park

Drawing shows what a cultural centre and nature park in Lake Country may look like.

Lake Country will become home to the Indigenous Cultural Centre and Nature Park with the help of nearly $4 million in government funding.

The federal government will contribute $1.6 million and the provincial government $1.33 million.

The centre, which will open in 2023, will be a collaboration between the District of Lake Country and the Vernon-based Okanagan Indian Band.

The facility will celebrate Okanagan Indian Band culture, history and language and promote tourism.

The centre will be build beside the Okanagan Rail Trail where it runs through Lake Country.

The trail is a 50-kilometre hiking and biking trail that runs from downtown Kelowna to Coldstream.

It’s expected the centre and nature park will attract many hikers and bikers off the trail for a visit.

A new stormwater treatment wetland will also be incorporated into the design to resort and enhance the wetlands and grasslands of the nature park.

“The community of Lake Country is looking forward to this unique partnership with our neighbours, Okanagan Indian Band,” said Lake Country Mayor James Baker.

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

The centre will be built to B.C.’s new Energy Step Code standards of safety, health, accessibility, fire and structural protection and energy and water efficiency.

“The Indigenous Cultural Centre will provide on opportunity for all people to learn about the Okanagan people and our traditions through art,” said Okanagan Indian Band chief Byron Louis.

“Through understanding, we can build quality relationships and become stronger.”