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First phase launches at Skaha Hills

Chief John Kruger of the Penticton Indian Band (centre) gets congratulated on the opening of the Skaha Hills residential development by Matt Kenyon (left) MLA Dan Ashton (at rear) and Mayor Garry Litke (right) - Steve Kidd/Western News
Chief John Kruger of the Penticton Indian Band (centre) gets congratulated on the opening of the Skaha Hills residential development by Matt Kenyon (left) MLA Dan Ashton (at rear) and Mayor Garry Litke (right)
— image credit: Steve Kidd/Western News

Penticton Indian Band members and dignitaries gathered today to mark the official opening of Skaha Hills, a new residential development overlooking Skaha Lake.

“This is our first giant step forward,” said Chief Jonathan Kruger, talking about the band’s plans for economic development and the hurdles that had to be overcome to make the development a reality. “This is a good day. We are moving forward in a good way.”

Skaha Hills has been years in the making, the crowd was told, with a history stretching back to 1999, when the PIB first voted to develop the land. While those early resort and casino plans didn’t pan out, that started the process that led to today and the start of what will eventually be a 600 home master-planned community.

Jason Pechet, president of Stage West Hospitality was also on hand to talk about the $5.2 million winery they are building on the slope below the development. They will begin planting the vineyard in May, he said, and building the winery in 2015.

The Penticton Indian Band and council deserve to be congratulated for their perseverance, according to Curt Jansen, vice-president of sales and marketing for Skaha Hills.

“Behind what you see today, there has been a tremendous amount of work,” he said.

The land, owned by the PIB, was released for development to their partners, Greyback Developments, in Oct. 2013 and is secured by a 150-year crown lease with the federal government.

A public grand opening of the discovery centre takes place on April 5 at 11 a.m.

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