Sickle Point as seen from the air. (Kaleden Community Association - David Mai)

Sickle Point as seen from the air. (Kaleden Community Association - David Mai)

Penticton Indian Band applauds decision to halt Naramata Bench development, calls for preservation of Sickle Point

Penticton city council rejected a proposed 300 house development on Naramata Bench on Feb. 16

The Penticton Indian Band (PIB) is among those celebrating city council’s decision to reject the development proposal for Naramata Bench.

The PIB also opposes the development of Sickle Point in Kaleden, and are also working with local government to return the land to them.

In a press release issued on Feb. 20, the PIB, a member of the syilx Nation reiterated their determination that the land, which is within the unceded territory of the band, remain undeveloped.

The band applauded the decision to reject Canadian Horizons’ proposed Vinterra development.

READ MORE: Community group happy with council’s rejection of Naramata Bench development

“The proposed development was located in an area that is important for our people and our Elk and Deer herds which continue to dwindle due increasing use of rural syilx Nation lands and resources,” said Chief Greg Gabriel in the release.

Sickle Point has been utilized by the people of snpink’tn, syilx Nation, for hundreds of generations.

“We are so honoured to have our language speakers and knowledge keepers to teach us the nsyilxcen placename for Sickle Point in our language, which is: ncaqeq?iwltn (phonetically: n-suck-ul-kay-ul-tn). It means a place to land or park a canoe and was used by our people as a camp and resting area,” said Penticton Indian Band Councillor Timmothy Lezard, the Lands and Natural Resources portfolio holder for the band.

The Penticton Indian Band continues to meet with the RDOS, local stakeholders and provincial and federal governments to reaffirm its position of “no development” at ncaqeq?iwltn.

READ MORE: Alternative Approval Process overwhelmingly rejected for Sickle Point purchase

“For generations, the Provincial and Federal governments have allowed the sale and disposition of our lands and benefited from the development of our lands without meaningful consultation or consent from our community. We have never consented to the disposition of our unceded lands within syilx Nation Territory,” said Gabriel.

The PIB met with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change George Heyman on Feb. 9 to discuss returning Sickle Point to the PIB.

“We are pleased to work with the Regional District and local stakeholders who share similar views; by working together we can ensure that these lands are returned to their rightful owners, the syilx people, to be conserved and protected for all time,” said Gabriel.

The RDOS had undergone an alternative approval process regarding purchasing Sickle Point that was rejected by residents in the area.

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