The Penticton Indian Band was out on Old Airport Road Tuesday surveying drivers to try to resolve safety issues along the road.
It’s part of a campaign to remind their neighbours in Penticton of the bylaws on PIB land, including trespass and animal control rules.
“We’re triggering some safety issues and trying to get some information from that so we can help feed in some enforcement in terms of some bylaws we’re trying to create right now,” said lands manager Dan Sarazin.
It’s been sparked by some unpleasant encounters when band members attempt to remind visitors of issues like keeping dogs on leashes along the channel.
“We’ve had many incidents where people on indian band land take offence if we ask them who they are,” Sarazin said.
Along with the warm weather and sun, Sarazin says summer months tend to bring a greater number of people unaware of or ignoring PIB rules.
“This time of year we get a lot of squatters and a lot of the illegal dumping,” Sarazin said. “This is one way to get some feedback from some people using the road as well as reminding the people where they are, and if they have questions they can come to the lands department or myself.”
Sarazin says those who use the channel trail and Old Airport Road often don’t realize that they’re on band land. They’re hoping to change that by spending time this week talking to the people that use the road and trail.
That includes a 12-hour day on Old Airport Road on Tuesday, from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., with staff passing out over 100 pamphlets out by midday.
“But everybody’s been very polite and receiving, so they’re taking information and it’s been really well received so far,” Sarazin said.
“We’ve reached over 100 vehicles, so it’s good information that we’ll be sharing and passing on.”
When using PIB land Sarazan points out that there are some neighbourly considerations for those from Penticton.
“Be aware if you’re going to be on the lands you’ve got to ask permission in terms of passing through,” he said. “We permit out to third-party interests if you’re going to be working on the land.”
Enforcing bylaws for 46,000 acres with a population of just under 1,800 according to the 2016 census comes with its own difficulties, Sarazin said.
“It’s a very large reserve … so we need that information from our neighbours, as well as the band members here to help enforce some of our presence and tell us what the issues are and increase safety,” he said.
Beyond the information campaign this week, Sarazan says the PIB has some ideas of what it can continue to do moving forward.
“Keeping that presence on the land, putting up speeding signs and just to help along with some of the safety issues, here,” he said.
The group will be out on the channel trail on Wednesday and heading out and about more randomly for the rest of the week to continue the campaign.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.