Posted on: May 11, 2016

Community Planning Meeting Summary - April 26, 2016

Topic: The Community Core 

Westbank First Nation’s (WFN) fourth Community Planning (CP) Meeting opened with arecap of our previous CP meetings to date, including an overview of the NP 10-2 and ourdiscussions on Member Housing. More information on the outcomes of these meetings islocated on the WFN website and social media.

Audio Streaming

A live audio stream and chat was again made available online through the web conferencingapplication This web application also mirrored the PowerPoint slides, allowing thosejoining remotely to follow along. The online discussion was moderated by WFN staff inattendance, allowing questions to be posed throughout the presentation.

Discussion: What is a Neighbourhood?

Following the recap portion of the meeting, our first topic of discussion looked at thecharacteristics and functions of a neighbourhood, and what makes a neighbourhoodsuccessful.

The characteristics of a neighbourhood were presented to the group as places of gathering,well-used public space for socializing and recreational activity. Neighbourhoods may also bedefined by their economic activities or available services; these qualities are said to add to aneighbourhood’s sense of place, along with unique architecture, landscaping and/orlandmarks. Central to an activity that took place later in the evening, we also discussed howsome neighbourhoods can be identified by a geographic or administrative boundary;however, many neighbourhoods are also dynamic places where their boundaries constantlychange.

Neighbourhoods were also described as places that provide social, environmental, economicand cultural functions. For example, our health is largely determined by our socialrelationships, which is largely determined by our physical environment. Public space and ourability to associate with other community Members within it is very much related to thedegree of safety a community experiences. The members of a neighbourhood also functionas stewards to ensure there is a sense of pride, to keep the neighbourhood clean, to use theland optimally, to grow food, walk instead of using a vehicle, and so on. Also,neighbourhoods reinforce a sense of place through arts and culture, providing a medium topreserve, celebrate and challenge community identity, engage public participation, andinform, educate and learn from diverse audiences.

It was explained that the WFN Community Core is its own unique space, to be defined asMembers see it; however, generally, identifiers that make a successful neighbourhoodinclude:

  • Great schools;
  • Low crime rate;
  • Proximity to outdoor activities and recreation;
  • Family-friendly space;
  • Proximity to public transit;
  • Pride in ownership; and
  • Walkability.

Exercise 1: Conceptualizing the Community Core

Our first exercise involved posing the question to the group, “What is the Community Core,and what does it mean to you?” Some Members in attendance argued that the communitycore could not be defined as a specific area, but that all WFN Lands and territory is the core,and that there is no core at all. Others defined the core as an area of community-held landfor Membership, including Member services, government buildings, a safe space withwalking paths and culturally-based rest stops. Another group defined it to include a sense oftruly knowing people within the community, the epicenter of Okanagan culture and values,a space made up of WFN Members and spouses, and a place where there is management ofancestral lands.

Discussion: WFN’s Definition of the Community Core

Following the first exercise, the definition of the Community Core was then presented to thegroup as it is written in the 2010 Westbank First Nation Community Plan, which states:

“The Community Core designation refers to a mostly low density residential arealocated within the Community Village. This land use designation covers most of theMembership housing area. Neighbourhood commercial; institutional; education;parkland; and recreational uses; as well as local services, including curb, gutter,sidewalk, street lights etc. are all encouraged within the Community core, in order toencourage revitalization of this neighbourhood. Secondary suites and home basedbusiness are also encouraged to promote affordable membership housing and localeconomic development respectively. Densities are not to exceed a maximum of 30units per hectare.”

Survey Results

Members were asked to fill out a survey before the event to start discussion on this topic.As of April 25, WFN had received 10 responses. Please note these statistics do notnecessarily reflect a collective view of Membership. The results are as follows:

  • 50% indicated they are familiar with the Community Core boundaries, with the other
    50% indicated they are somewhat familiar
  • 60% believe that housing located in the Community Core should be exclusive to
  • 60% of Members chose Parks and Trails as something they would like to see more of
    in the Community Core, followed by Small Scale Commercial and Elders Housing.

Additionally, respondents were given the opportunity to elaborate on what restrictions they
would like to see in place for housing in the Community Core. The responses include the

  • Restrictions should be to those people who don’t have any blood ties
  • Allotment properties should be ineligible for sale to Non-Members
  • The allotment process should have a new type of title instead of “Certificate of Possession”
  • Social housing should always be community-restricted

Discussion: Restrictions

Other comments from the group reiterated the concerns mentioned above, but also addedpoints about how WFN should have the right to implement restrictions on the sale of homesin the Community Core. Some believed that without restrictions the Community Core maylose its quality as a predominantly WFN Member area. Other concerns that were voicedincluded restricting homes to Members only, when some children of Members are notconsidered Members. This last point exemplified the complexity with establishing aMembers-only restriction on housing.

Exercise 2: SWOT Analysis

The final exercise asked the group to conduct a SWOT Analysis of the Community Core, tooutline the Community Core’s strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. The followingwas determined:


  • Services
  • Elder Care and Youth
  • Self-Sufficiency
  • Self-Government


  • Loss of culture and native plants
  • Traffic (too much)
  • Lack of land
  • Traditional practice spaces
  • Lack of clear vision


  • Community gardens
  • Open space
  • Succession planning
  • LEED certified community buildings
  • Safe house
  • Landscaping with traditional plants and medicines
  • Social housing units


  • IR9 and IR10 are split in half
  • Natural/green space
  • No control over who can move into the Community Core
  • Fresh water availability

WFN would like to thank those of you who were able to attend the CP Meeting on MemberHousing and those who have taken the time to fill out the online questionnaire. Thesemeetings will continue to be held on a monthly basis and will be advertised through socialmedia, the WFN website and newsletter, and other forms of communication. We lookforward to furthering this open dialogue and receiving valuable input on issues affectingMembers and WFN lands.

For further information on these meetings please contact Graeme Dimmick or 250-769-4999.