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441-00190 (Indigenous affairs)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

WHEREAS:

  • The Okanagan Rail Trail serves as an important recreational and commuter path for pedestrians and cyclists across the region;
  • 7km of the trail remaining incomplete poses a safety risk as users have no option other than to divert onto a busy highway;
  • The Okanagan Indian Band, a partner in this project, are still waiting for the federal government to return of a portion of the land to Duck Lake IR #7;
  • The xwil i? swkwna?qin, the Okanagan Indigenous People's nysyilxcn name for the trail route, is a place of legacy, rich heritage, connections, discovery, and enjoyment; and
  • The completion of the Okanagan Rail Trail will be an important link to provide more healthy activity space for residents and visitors in the Okanagan.

THEREFORE, we, the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada call upon the Government of Canada to:

  • Expeditiously complete the federal commitments to the Okanagan Indian Band and Duck Lake IR #7 to complete the Okanagan Rail Trail.

Response by the Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Vance Badawey

The Minister of Indigenous Services would like to thank the petitioners for expressing their interest in the completion of the addition to reserve for the Okanagan Indian Band.

At the request of a First Nation, lands may be set apart as a reserve under section 4(1) of the Addition of Lands to Reserves and Reserve Creation Act, upon satisfying Canada’s Additions to Reserves/Reserve Creation Policy. Additions to reserve provide First Nations with a land base to help build more sustainable communities and contribute employment and training opportunities, which benefit both their communities and neighbouring municipalities. By adding lands to reserve, the Government of Canada is fulfilling legal obligations, improving Treaty relationships, and fostering Indigenous economic development opportunities.

The Okanagan Indian Band continues to work to resolve third-party interests including those required by telecommunications providers, electrical transmission and distribution services, sewer utility interests, and access agreements for on-reserve developments. Government Officials engage with the Okanagan Indian Band, on a bi-weekly basis to fulfill any remaining addition to reserve requirements (i.e., resolution of third-party interests).

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the Okanagan Indian Band with its request to add the former CN Rail corridor lands bisecting Duck Lake Indian Reserve No. 7 to the Reserve. The First Nation has the support of Indigenous Services Canada, as well as, legal and technical experts working to satisfy final aspects of the addition to reserve process. Regional Officials in British Columbia have a strong partnership with the Okanagan Indian Band and will continue to work closely with the First Nation through the Addition to Reserve process. Upon the successful completion of that process, it will be the decision of the Okanagan Indian Band to determine the intended use of the lands.

Presented to the House of Commons
Tracy Gray (Kelowna—Lake Country)
February 15, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00190)
Government response tabled
March 31, 2022
Photo - Tracy Gray
Kelowna—Lake Country
Conservative Caucus
British Columbia

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.

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