Located in south central British Columbia, Canada, the Okanagan Valley is home to Westbank First Nation, one of seven native communities that belong to the Okanagan Nation. The Okanagan (syilx) traditional territories extend from the south central interior of B.C. to north central Washington State. The syilx are a division of the Interior Salish and speak the nsyilxcən language. They have inhabited the valley for thousands of years.
Westbank First Nation is comprised of five reserves totalling 5,340 acres. Tsinstikeptum Reserves 9 and 10 border Okanagan Lake and are in close proximity to the City of Kelowna, one of the fastest growing cities in British Columbia. Kelowna has been rated among the most cost competitive places to do business in the Pacific Region of North America and also one of the most livable cities in Canada according to Canada Pulse 2011.
Westbank First Nation has implemented one of the most comprehensive sets of community laws in Canada that cover the development and regulation of reserve lands. All persons residing or conducting business on reserve are subject to Westbank First Nation Laws.
Through its administration, Westbank First Nation provides a number of community services including: a 63-bed intermediate care facility in Pine Acres Home; daycare and pre-school services at Westbank Child Development Centre; a multi denominational church; and a JK-4 school located within the Sensisyusten Community Centre.
Westbank First Nation's Membership totals 786 with majority residing on reserve along with 9,000 non-Member residents. To support the needs of the expanding population base there are a number of malls that offer a wide range of retail and commercial services. Anchor tenants include: Winners, Walmart, Superstore, Xtreme Landmark 8 Cinema, Capitol Movie Theatre, Home Depot, Canadian Tire and several major fast-food outlets. There are also a number of businesses (Member & non-Member based) that provide manufacturing and construction services including: Steelwood Engineered Systems Inc., OK Builders Supplies Ltd. and other arehousing outlets.
In response to the needs of business, the Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto Dominion Bank, Peace Hills Trust, and the First Nations Finance Authority provide a broad spectrum of financial conveniences for the WFN community.
The Okanagan Valley is world renowned as a major travel destination. Mild climates combined with stunning scenery and world-class ski, golf and wine attractions create an abundance of activities for visitors. The Westbank First Nation administration recognizes the importance of tourism as being a significant part of the reserve economy and promotes tourism ventures on the reserve through encouraging private investments such as 19 Greens, Two Eagles Golf Course, and Family Go-Karts.
Westbank First Nation is proud to be on the leading edge of aboriginal people. On April 1, 2005, and after two decades of community consultation and negotiation, the WFN Self-Government Act came into effect. The objective of the Chief and Council is to continue to grow the economy on the Westbank reserves and provide a solid and predictable economic climate in which business can flourish and members can prosper.
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