New Bridge Announced – Vital Economic Boost in Penticton

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The federal government has announced funding for a vital bridge in British Columbia
The federal government has announced funding for a vital bridge in British Columbia

Minister Valcourt - We all agreed on the urgency of investing in Aboriginal Education.
Minister Valcourt

PENTICTON BC – BUSINESS – Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development states, “Our Government’s investment in the Satikw Crossing is an important economic asset that will benefit the entire community and is a clear demonstration of our commitment to working with First Nations to create the conditions for stronger, healthier, more self-sufficient communities.”

The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Bernard Valcourt has announced a federal government investment in support of the Penticton Indian Band and the construction of a new bridge over the Okanagan River Channel in British Columbia. The Satikw Crossing will provide access from Highway 97 to the Channel Lands and is part of a long term economic strategy that will create up to $2 million in annual revenue for the Band and over 600 jobs in the next 10 years. The strategy also includes future development plans of retail space, 270,000 square feet of business/light commercial space, and a 150 room hotel.
“The Penticton Indian Band appreciates Canada’s support of this project. The Satikw Crossing Bridge and development is going to create jobs and expand the shopping opportunities for the Southern Interior. It will be an economic boost for the Band, our certificate of possession land holders and the whole region,” said Chief Jonathan Kruger, Penticton Indian Band.

In Thunder Bay, the James Street Bridge, a vital community link between the Fort William First Nation and the City of Thunder Bay was closed in October 2013 after a fire damaged parts of the bridge. The James Street Bridge is owned by CN Rail, which has a contract with the City of Thunder Bay stemming from 1905 which is currently in dispute between the two parties.

The bridge has remained open to train traffic, but CN Rail is stating that the bridge is unsafe for both vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

The federal government has announced funding for a vital bridge in British Columbia
The federal government has announced funding for a vital bridge in British Columbia

The Federal Government states that “Expanding opportunities for First Nations to fully participate in the economy is a priority for the Government of Canada”.

In British Columbia, the federal government will contribute $2.4 million to support construction of the bridge through its Community Opportunity Readiness Program. The Government previously contributed $500,000 to support engineering and design work for the bridge.

In Thunder Bay, both the provincial and federal governments appear out of the loop on the James Street Bridge.

Quick facts

The Satikw Crossing will provide access from Highway 97 to the Channel Lands and 60 hectares of Penticton Indian Band land adjacent to the Penticton Regional Airport.
The bridge project is expected to be tendered in November 2014 and construction is expected to commence late January 2015.

“The B.C. provincial government is delighted to see the Satikw Crossing Bridge project reach this important milestone. This essential piece of infrastructure will provide the kind of opportunities that will offer real economic and social benefits to the Penticton Indian Band and I applaud their vision and tenacity in taking this project one step closer to reality,” stated John Rustad, B.C. Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.