The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, was in Vernon for a breakfast talk with The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce July 12. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Splatsin Chief urges Minister for reserve infrastucture funding

The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, in Vernon July 12

Infrastructure on reserve land has been left dwindling for too long, Splatsin Indian Band Chief Wayne Christian said.

Christian urged the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, to invest in British Columbia’s reserves during a breakfast talk with the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce Thursday, July 12.

Related: Christian returned as Splatsin chief

“For whatever reason, when you come to our reserve lands, everything seems to stop there. The roads become different. I always joke, ‘Well, you’re on the res now,’” Christian said.

“The management of infrastructure by the federal government for our communities is abysmal. It’s actually second-class how it’s considered discriminatory because we don’t have the same level of services available to our communities that other communities have.”

Christian said the infrastructure program needs to be revamped in the context of reserve land.

“You can drive through British Columbia and you can really see all of a sudden the roads change,” Christian said, noting the reserve on Salmon River Road as a prime example of that difference in infrastructure.

“As soon as you hit that boundary, things seem to deteriorate. We quite honestly have second-class processes in our communities. It’s been going on for too long. If you’re going to really address it, you need to invest in our communities.”

Sohi said Infrastructure Canada, which funds municipal and provincial infrastructure, is making changes on how they work with indigenous communities.

“You are actually right. When you get to that point then you go into the indigenous communities, that infrastructure, even though it’s managed by a different department within the federal government, we’re trying to improve that cooperation,” Sohi said.

Sohi told Christian he will discuss the matter with the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.

Related: Minister of Infrastructure and Communities plans Vernon visit

Housing key to fighting homeless problems

Housing and support are key to fighting the homelessness problems in Vernon and Canada as a whole, Sohi said.

“Housing is critical, but what kind of support do they have in their house,” Sohi said.

According to Sohi, the federal government has invested $40 billion into affordable housing and shelters through their 10-year national housing strategy.

“Our goal is to reduce chronic homelessness by 50 per cent,” Sohi said.

Federal programming through the strategy includes support for interventions and preventative strategies to mitigate homelessness before it begins.

An October 2017 homeless count survey conducted by the partners in action committee found that 153 people were considered homeless on Oct. 18, 2017. Of that 153, 24 per cent were female, 74 per cent were male and two per cent indicated transgender or other. Nearly half, 44 per cent, have called Vernon home for more than 10 years and 76 per cent said they grew up in the community.

Related: Homeless numbers hit 150

The average age of those sleeping outside was 38, while those in shelter averaged 50-years-old.


@VernonNews
parker.crook@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Thieves steal bottles, mattress from recycle depot

Chase RCMP still investigating theft of tires, generator from commercial garage

Regional district seeks $13 million to get rolling on Rail Trail

Federal grant would pay for a paved path from Sicamous to Armstrong

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Alberta’s oil-by-rail plan a worry for Shuswap mayor

High volume of train traffic already an environmental/public safety concern

Snowplow accident leads to power surge, small claims decision

Tribunal rules Salmon Arm resident not entitled to additional compensation

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

Letter: City should check out Powell River rec centre

I’ve only recently tuned in to the recreation centre debate, and while… Continue reading

Legal odd couple resolve personality conflicts in Trying

Shuswap Theatre’s latest production opens Friday, Feb. 22, runs to March 9

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Salmon Arm athletes help Team BC to podium at Canada Winter Games

Speed-skater wins bronze, ringette player contributes to playoff victory

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Okanagan man seeks glory, beer, on frozen pond

Financial advisor Randy Wilson plays in one of world’s largest pond hockey tournaments

Most Read