The boundary between Kelowna, Lake Country and the Okanagan Indian Band could be adjusted to support the development of new industrial lands.
A mediator will be at a meeting this Friday to move along discussions aimed at extending water and sewer lines, and improve road access, to the currently vacant properties.
“Boundary changes are very challenging, but we’re willing to put everything on the table,” James Kay, Kelowna’s development services manager, said Tuesday. “We’re not saying no to anything at this point.”
Talks about possible boundary changes and adjustments in the provision of municipal services in the area have been going on for months. Kay said he hoped a report to the respective councils could be ready before the end of December.
The OKIB hopes to develop more than 20 hectares of band land in the area. But to do so, water and sewer lines would have to be extended to the properties, and some road upgrades undertaken.
One idea is for Lake Country to provide water to the band properties, as well as currently vacant privately owned land within the City of Kelowna that’s also been earmarked for industrial development.
New lines from Kelowna’s sanitary sewer system would service the area, and Kelowna and the OKIB would share the cost for the necessary road improvements, principally along Beaver Lake Road.
As part of the discussions, the OKIB may also agree to allow public access along its section of the Okanagan Rail Trail. The recreation corridor, which stretches from Coldstream to downtown Kelowna, currently has a closed-off section where the former railway passes through OKIB lands.
Also to be sorted out, along with any possible boundary changes, is how future taxation revenues from the properties would be shared among the three jurisdictions. The OKIB currently does not have a taxation system.