In 2015, WFN was recognized as Communities in Bloom national winners, with the City of West Kelowna, based on categories of Tidiness, Landscaping, Environmental Action, Heritage Conservation & Forestry.
Centered in the Okanagan Valley, WFN is adjacent to Canada’s 22nd-largest city, Kelowna, and is located 400 km east of Vancouver, 600 km west of Calgary and 130km north of the United States border. It offers one of the best possible lifestyles and quality of life, including reliable infrastructure such as the Trans-Canada highway which runs East-West through all ten provinces, and highway 97 that sees over 4M vehicles annually or 70k vehicles daily passing by WFN businesses, including the B.C.’s Route 97 Rapid Bus. WFN is well connected to its municipal neighbours, the rest of Canada and the United States.
Partnered with B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation, WFN has managed and administered the largest provincial infrastructure development projects on a reserve in B.C. over the past few years, including a $41M highway intersection, and two road extension overpass projects valued at $9.3M and $17M.
WFN’s Capital Planning projects for Fiscal Year 2017 total $7.4M including $2M in capital housing, as well as additional & improved lighting, sidewalks, transportation systems, water/drainage upgrades, and a new $5M Youth Centre at 14,000 square feet over two floors including wood from WFN’s community forest, an outdoor learning garden & classroom, a passive ventilation system, external green screens that grow in the summer to block the sun, and many other environmental features.
The Kelowna International Airport (YLW), Canada’s 10th-busiest airport, is situated 22km to the north east of Westbank First Nation, ranked tenth in Canada by passenger traffic, and serves 1.6M passengers per annum (non-stop to Vancouver, Calgary, Seattle, Phoenix, Las Vegas and beyond). The flight hub of the Okanagan Valley now includes New Leaf, Canada’s newest ultra-low-cost carrier, launched July 2016.
Cost & Labour
According to KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives Report, April 2016, Central Okanagan is ranked #1 most cost effective place to do business in the Pacific Region of North America, and 11th in Canada. Canada ranks as the 2nd most competitive country worldwide, with a cost advantage of 14.6% relative to the United States.
Partnered with its regional counterpart, the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, the award-winning MakeItHereOkanagan.com website and videos were released for the use of individual businesses in their labour recruitment efforts, as well as okanaganjobmatch.com, an online job-matching platform, launched February 2016.
University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan and Okanagan College are two leading tertiary education institutions based in Kelowna, serving local, regional and international students including Westbank First Nation Members. UBC’s 10-year-old Okanagan campus is now home to 8,500 students studying various disciplines including the well-regarded education, medicine and technology programs. With an annual payroll of $86 million spread across seven faculties, UBC-O is estimated to inject $1.5B into the local economy, with Okanagan College injecting another $0.5B.
Affiliated with UBC’s Medical School, Kelowna’s General Hospital (KGH) is one of the most modern healthcare facilities of its kind, serving residents of the Central Okanagan including WFN. Its $632M redevelopment over the last ten years includes a new Heart and Surgical Centre with 15 operating rooms that opened in 2014 and a new Cardiac Catheterization Lab set to open in 2017.
Manager, Economic Development & Communications
Westbank First Nation
T 250 769 4999
F 250 769 4377
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