April 2019 WFN business e-newsletter. 
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Join us November 12-14 at the Delta Grand Hotel in Kelowna for inspiring stories and transformational experiences, as we unite the tourism industry. IITC 2019 is hosted on the traditional territory of the Syilx Nation, in partnership with the Nlakápamux and Secwépemc Nations, Tourism Kelowna, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, and Indigenous Tourism BC.

This year’s conference theme is “Inspire. Transform. Unite. Accelerating Indigenous tourism growth.” Presentations will focus on inspiring communities and entrepreneurs to explore tourism as an economic driver. It will discuss the impacts of Indigenous tourism and the power of partnerships.

Early bird pricing ends August 31.

More information/Registration
Exhibitor Application
Sponsorship Opportunities

2019-2020 Assessments and  Annual Budget

BC Assessment shows 3.27 % growth rate in new construction on WFN lands, totalling $61.07 million. Market values increased total assessments a further 6.55%. Combined with 484 businesses (457 in 2017; 406 in 2016), assessed taxable property on WFN lands now totals $2.05 billion, ranking WFN 58th among 162 registered municipalities in BC.

Total residences increased from 4,361 in 2018 to 4,496 in 2019. An average taxable residential unit/home will pay $1,345 in 2019/20 property taxes, compared to $1,435 in 2018-19 and $1,395 in 2017-18. Property tax notices will be mailed out late May, and final deadline for payment without penalty is July 2. Residents are welcome to attend the Advisory Council AGM scheduled for May 1 from 4p.m. to 7 p.m. in the sənsisyustən House of Learning Gymnasium for an annual update from Chief Roxanne Lindley and Advisory Council chairperson Terry Turcan.

Indigenous Tourism

Results from Destination Canada, show the direct economic benefit of Indigenous tourism across Canada increased 23.2 per cent to $1.7 billion between 2014 and 2017.

There are 1,875 Indigenous tourism businesses across Canada, 341 of which are in B.C. The industry employs 39,000 people, though only about half of those are identified as Indigenous.

The report notes the Indigenous tourism sector is growing faster than Canadian tourism activity overall.

Indigenous tourism employment has increased 17.3 per cent in three years, versus 5.1 per cent for the broader industry. Economic impact jumped 23.2 per cent, outpacing the Canadian tourism growth of 14.5 per cent.

BC Industry Tourism Statistics

2018 was a standout year for tourism across the country with more than 21 million visitors which is the first time visitation has crossed the 21-million mark.

The sector delivered 1.8 million jobs, helping to drive our Canadian economy.

Tourism is one of BC's fastest growing industries, outpacing provincial economic growth and is the most profitable industry in BC in terms of GDP contribution.

With 18.4 billion dollars in revenue generated in 2017, the tourism industry contributed 9 billion dollars to BC’s GDP in 2017, representing a 6.4% increase over 2016, and a revenue jump of 41% since 2007.

WFN Active Transportation Survey

WFN is looking for input into our new Active Transportation Plan. Please take a few minutes to fill out our survey as it directly affects those working, living and commuting on WFN lands.

Active transportation is any form of human powered transportation, including walking, biking, skateboarding, using a motorized wheelchair etc. The plan will identify improvements to existing facilities and recommend new paths, sidewalks, and bike lanes. 

More info


COEDC released 2018's 4th quarter Economic Indicators Report in an effort to keep the public and business community informed on the economy of the region. The Q4 Economic Indicators Report includes cumulative statistics for 10 key economic indicators.

Highlights include Business Licenses in the region which saw a strong 4.5% growth. The District of Peachland is leading the region with 14.2% increase in business licenses and Westbank First Nation is second with 5.9% growth since 2017.

Minister Bennett visits WFN

Canada’s Minister of Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett, met with WFN on March 27 to discuss the development of a Federal Implementation Branch along with other initiatives.

limləmt, thank you, Minister Bennett.

BC First Nations Share in Provincial Gaming Revenue

BC’s Gaming Commission, which WFN Councillor Konek sits on, recently announced that BC First Nation’s would share in provincial gaming fund revenue. $3 billion over 25 years will be shared under the agreement, to be signed this April. 7% of net provincial gaming revenues will be managed by a limited partnership, with 50% of that going equally to each community, 40% based on population and size, and 10% for remote communities only, totalling $250,000-$2,000,000/yr for each community. Communities can determine their own priorities for the funds, eg. health and wellness, housing or infrastructure, but it can not be used for financial distribution to Members. As a step towards reconciliation, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Nova Scotia have revenue sharing agreements already in place.

Spring into Emergency Safety Preparations

Snowpack is low this year and snowmelt is early with favourable weather, however, there is risk of groundwater issues, including saturated soil and land slippages. The drier conditions also raise concerns of an elevated wildfire risk. Mitigation work has been done by local governments within the region to increase creek capacity, repair and protect public infrastructure and clean-up the foreshore to minimize flooding risks and impacts. Many fire fuel reduction projects have also been done over the years in parks and on public lands to lower the severity of fires. 

To prepare your businesses or home, consider the following:

  • Installing a sump pump and checking that foundation drains (if present) are working if they have historically experienced wet basements or seepage. Do not pump water into the sanitary sewer system.
  • Having the tools and plans in place to keep private property safe: private property owners are responsible for protecting their structures from possible flood damage.
  • Knowing where water and power shutoffs are located
  • Inspecting nearby culverts or storm drains to clear accumulated debris so that water can flow easily
  • Checking with FrontCounter BC, for any special authorization or permits that may be required before doing any work in and around water courses or sensitive areas within the electoral areas.
  • Being cautious around creeks as water can unexpectedly rise and flow faster during the spring freshet, even if there is little to no flooding risk. Stay away from creek banks which may be slippery or subject to erosion.
  • Watching for floating debris when boating on local lakes, as logs and large debris may have floated from tributaries
  • FireSmart your property while conducting spring gardening and cleanup
  • E-subscribe for updates at

WFN Advisory Council Donates to the Westside Shelter

WFN Advisory Council donated $1,000 to the United Church to assist them with a temporary Homeless Shelter on February 13, 2019, just in time for Valentines Day. The shelter is newly supported by the Provincial Government and operates in partnership with the City of West Kelowna and the West Kelowna Shelter Society. The funding allocated for the temporary shelter will come out of the council’s annual donation budget. 

sənsisyustən House of Learning Accepting Applications

WFN’s sənsisyustən House of Learning elementary school, currently undergoing a major $9M renovation and expansion, is now accepting applications for the 2019/2020 school year, which is the anticipated time for renovation completion.

sənsisyustən House of Learning is a Group 2 Independent Elementary School providing BC curriculum with integrated syilx perspectives. 

Apply here

Pine Acres Home

Providing excellent care and residence for the aging population, including complex care and dementia, Pine Acres is located at 1902 Pheasant Lane, Westbank. Programs and services include bus trips to shopping centres, social functions, attendance at the annual Siya celebration, a hairdressing salon, recreation therapy, social work services through Interior Health, and nutrition and dental services. Meals are cooked in house, and a flexible meal schedule contributes to the overall resident-centred approach. Current employment opportunities for Pine Acres includes a Cook/Baker and Dietary Aid.

HomeSense now open on WFN Lands!

WFN EDC Chair - Steve Fosbery

WFN EDC would like to welcome Steve Fosbery as 2019-20 Chair. Steve, a WFN Member, is owner/operator of Country Pawn, the only Pawn Broker operating on WFN Lands. 

WFN EDC Commissioner - Jennifer Money

WFN EDC would like to welcome to the EDC Jennifer Money, a WFN Member and business owner who has enjoyed a lengthy career in tourism and hospitality. 

2019 WFN Retail Directory

WFN's Retail Directory has been updated with a number of new businesses.

If you do not see your business in the Retail Directory or wish to update your business contact info, contact WFN EDO Kristy Jean

View 2019 WFN Retail Directory

Siya Celebration 2019

WFN welcomes you to share in their signature cultural event, honouring the lands and resources for a fruitful year ahead. Jun 7, 9am-3pm, at the Shannon Lake Ballfields and Elders Hall, 3255D Shannon Lake Rd. For more info, contact WFN’s Sncewips Heritage Museum at 778-755-2787 (ARTS).

2019 Golf Classic

Friday, May 10 @ Shannon Lake Golf Course
Registration at 11:00 am
Shotgun Start at 1:30 pm.
Dinner, prizes & awards to follow

More info & registration

Let's Talk Transportation

8:00 AM – 12:00 PM, April 24 @ UBC Okanagan Ballroom

More info & registration

WFN Employment

Employment Opportunities at WFN currently include Controller (1 Year Term), Archaeology Project Coordinator, Water and Wastewater Operator Level II and more.

Apply now!

WFN Economic Development

Are you an innovator, entrepreneur, or someone looking to start or grow a business? WFN’s Economic Development Department, through its networking activities, programs and contacts, can help! Contact Kristy Jean, Economic Development & Communications Officer at 250-769-4999.

Unity Run 2019

The Spirit of the Syilx Unity Run takes place May 9-12 in an effort to promote youth wellness through connection and belonging to the land. Upwards of 200 Okanagan Nation youth will be running from Polson Park, Vernon, to Westwold, and over the hill to Merritt.

Okangan Regional Library Learning Lab

February 23, the Okanagan Regional Library opened its newest library branch, the Westside Learning Lab, located  in the Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre.

The focus of this new location is on learning, technology, and community partnership and will benefit many people and organizations on the Westside. The Westside Learning Lab features bookable community space and meeting rooms for events, programs and gatherings. A key component of the Learning Lab is the maker space that will enable people to learn and use technologies related to 3D printing, material design, crafting, coding, robotics, electronics and more.

Hours of operation & more info

No Speculation Tax on WFN Lands

WFN lands are exempt from speculation and vacancy tax. The Provincial Government website includes information on speculation tax and the regions in which exemptions apply.

WFN Office Closures

Please note WFN offices will be closed on the following dates:

April 19 - April 22
(Good Friday & Easter Monday)
May 20
(Victoria Day)
June 21
(National Aboriginal Day)

WFN Directory

Main Reception
250 769 4999

Employment Coordinator
250 768 8281

Health & Wellness
250 768 0227

Youth & Education
250 768 4838

250 768 7337

250 707 3332

Public Works
250 707 0493

Law Enforcement
250 717 6147

778 755 2787
Full Directory
WFN Economic Development Commission (EDC)

Steve Fosbery, Chairperson
James Carmichael, Vice Chairperson
Sharon Peterson
Jennifer Money
Lori Ann Swite
Brianna Wilson
Lenora Posella-Holding

View Commissioner profiles >

WFN EDC Mission: Assist & facilitate Chief & Council, and the WFN business community, to create a healthy, environmentally sustainable & dynamic economy based on values of self-reliance. 
Copyright © 2019 Westbank First Nation, All rights reserved.

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