Q1: Why is this addition to reserve being considered?
A1. The lands (150 acres) were originally part of the Penticton Indian Band reserve and were expropriated by British Columbia in 1911 to be used for a railway. Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) currently owns the lands, which were once part of the old Kettle Valley Railway right of way. Since the right-of-way has not been used for railway purposes since the 1980s, the Penticton Indian Band has requested the lands be returned to them. The CPR has agreed to relinquish the lands provided they revert to reserve lands for the use and benefit of the Penticton Indian Band.
Q2: What is the status of the Addition to Reserve (ATR)?
A2: A draft agreement has been reached to return the CPR lands to reserve land, subject to the Government of Canada's Additions to Reserves/New Reserves policy. The Addition to Reserve (ATR) process is in the early stages. Discussions regarding utility and road access have begun and environmental assessments are underway.
Q3: Who has responsibility for keeping interested parties informed?
A3: As the proponent of the ATR, the Penticton Indian Band is responsible for leading discussions and negotiations with municipal governments. During these discussions, municipal governments represent local interests and concerns from area residents. Interested parties should contact their municipal government to identify specific concerns and request information updates on the status of any First Nation-municipal agreements.
Although INAC may provide technical information on the ATR process during discussions between the Penticton Indian Band and municipal governments, the Government of Canada is not a party to any concluded agreements between a First Nation and a municipality.
Q4. How will the ATR affect access for roads and utilities?
A4: According to the Government of Canada's Additions to Reserves/New Reserves policy, existing services and access are maintained on or over lands affected by additions to reserve. The policy requires First Nations and municipalities to negotiate issues of access and servicing. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is working with the utility companies to ensure that federal permits will be in place to allow existing utility rights-of-ways to continue. The Department and the Penticton Indian Band also continue discussions with the Province of British Columbia to clarify road and highway access issues.
Q5: Will the public still be able to use the land for recreation purposes?
A5: The land was originally part of the Penticton Indian Band's reserve and if it reverts back to reserve land, the Band will determine the most appropriate uses of the land to meet the needs of its community. As part of the ATR process, the Band must identify the proposed use for the land and the Governor in Council must approve that use, before any land can be added to reserve.
Consult the First Nation Land and Additions to Reserve for more information.