Okanagan Indian Band and City of Vernon, BC

Unique Features of this Partnership

Prior to participating in CEDI, Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) and City of Vernon councils gathered annually through the Community to Community Forum (C2C). Since 2017, these communities have formalized their partnership through a joint CEDI Working Group, signed and celebrated a Relationship Accord, and most recently, through a joint strategic plan.

The plan’s objectives are: strengthening long-term relationship and formalizing joint planning processes between Okanagan Indian Band and City of Vernon; celebrating and respecting our ancestors and environment through joint cultural, historical and educational initiatives; and, strengthening long-term collaboration on ‘Waterfront Area’ development between City of Vernon, OKIB and CP holders on IR6.

OKIB and City of Vernon participated in CEDI 2017 – 2020

Areas of Collaboration – Joint CED Themes

  • Inclusive Land-use and Infrastructure Planning in the Sandy Beach /Kin Beach /Lakeshore Road (or ‘Waterfront Area’)
  • Joint Cultural, Historical and Educational Initiatives  
  • Joint Tourism Initiatives
  • Inter-governmental Communication Processes


  • Established Terms of Reference (TOR) for the OKIB-Vernon Joint CEDI Working Group
  • Joint Workshop to explore each community’s land use plans and jurisdiction, specifically on the waterfront area (April 2018)
  • Established a sub-committee to create a Joint Strategic Plan for Waterfront and completed a draft Strategic Plan (July 2018)
  • Designed and finalized Relationship Accord between OKIB and City of Vernon (August 2018)
  • Celebrated the signing of the Relationship Accord on the shores of Okanagan Lake with both OKIB and City elected councils, Elders, regional dignitaries, and community members (October 2018)
  • Joint Workshop to explore potential joint tourism initiatives (December 2018)
  • Presented on partnership at several provincial and federal conferences (2018 – 2019)
  • Joint Workshop to bring both Councils and senior staff from both communities together to discuss active implementation of the Relationship Accord and short-term joint tourism action items (June 2019)
  • Joint Workshop to design a joint strategic plan and annual work plan for their partnership (December 2019)
  • Formalized the Joint Strategic Plan for Okanagan Indian Band – City of Vernon Partnership (2020 – 2025)
  • Through COVID-19, the Working Group used their monthly meetings to share information on their respective COVID-19 response, resources and supports available to their community members, as well as, economic and social development updates.
  • Following many discussions regarding trespassing issues at Sandy Beach and jurisdiction, OKIB and the Regional District of Northern Okanagan (RDNO) reached an agreement for beach maintenance, and under RDNO parks bylaw, RDNO can now enforce against littering, fires and dogs on the beach (July 2020)
  • Mayor Cumming and Chief Louis established a monthly check-in phone call with each other in order to stay better connected on issues and opportunities of mutual concern.
  • OKIB and City of Vernon Councils met for a Council to Council meeting, and committed to two Council to Council meetings annually (October 2020)
  • CEDI Capacity Building Grant was used to cover the expense of OKIB territorial stewardship and cultural department staff time and Elder knowledge in order to create the following educational and tourism products:
    • Create an OKIB Educational Pamphlet to be available for residents and tourists at strategic locations
    • Prioritize the creation of new signage that will provide education on culturally significant places to Syilx culture withing the Vernon boundaries
    • Engagement with Elders and OKIB community members to identify agreeable tourism initiatives within the territory and the creation of an OKIB tourism strategy, which will ultimately inform the regional tourism strategy.
  • OKIB Council voted in favour to accept the invitation for a non-voting seat at the RDNO in order to be more engaged with regional development.
  • City of Vernon Council opted to transfer the Ogopogo copyright to OKIB in March 2021.
  • City of Vernon Council endorsed a territorial acknowledgement for use at Council Meetings, Public Hearings and public meetings in May 2021.

Why Work Together?

“I am pleased to participate in this important initiative with Mayor Akbal Mund and his council. We recognize by working together on economic development initiatives in our traditional territory, we will have the opportunity to identify some challenges and create strategies to overcome them. The result of these efforts will strengthen our relationship and the regional economy.”

- Chief Byron Louis, OKIB

“I am confident that our common goals for local economic development will foster benefits that will extend to many other aspects of community building. The CEDI program is giving us the framework to work together to achieve strong local results.”

- Councillor Akbal Mund (former Mayor), City of Vernon

Next Steps

This partnership has graduated from the CEDI program. Okanagan Indian Band and City of Vernon continue to prioritize the joint community economic development initiatives identified during their participation in CEDI. Along with other joint initiatives identified in the Joint Strategic Plan, the partnership has plans to gather and unveil the new signage with their councils, staff and communities when it is safe to do so.