Later this week, City council will sit down with the leadership of the Tk’emlúps Te Secwepmec Indian Band (TIB) for our annual community to community forum.
It is a chance to discuss items of mutual interest and think collectively about the future of our two jurisdictions.
In addition to the band membership, there are a significant number of people at Sun Rivers and a significant number of businesses in the Mount Paul Industrial Park under their governance and it is important that we are on the same page when it comes to the regional economy, social and cultural needs of our residents and the environment.
We do provide some services that the band buys from us to deliver to their territory, most significantly sanitary sewage and fire protection, but for the most part the TIB is a standalone local government providing unique services to their band membership as well as to those on band land.
We do a lot together already. The band has actively participated in the operation of our airport and have contributed significantly to the cultural collection and static displays there. They routinely invite council to participate in their annual powwow and they were active participants in our bicentennial celebrations last year.
We attended the band council’s swearing in and community feast last fall and they regularly attend civic functions in the city. There is a high degree of respect that in part is due to the personal relationship built over time between Chief Shane Gottfriedson and Mayor Peter Milobar.
Good working relationships don’t just happen. They are cultivated and require nurturing. Many other communities do not enjoy the degree of mutual respect and understand that we current have in Kamloops on many levels. Indian bands and cities fight over taxation. School boards argue with universities about who looks after adults completing basic dogwood diplomas.
Universities argue with school boards about who controls school-age kids completing advanced placement studies. Electoral area directors spar with municipal directors about tax rates and services on regional district boards. Cities fight with school boards over after school booking of school sports fields for community sport associations.
These conflicts and many others are very evident throughout B.C. but curiously not in Kamloops. To me, these gatherings are about establishing relationships.
It is always easier to negotiate with people that you know. When you have a clearer understanding of each other’s issues, it usually gives rise to a better solutions.
The formal negotiated agreements that grow from these relationships benefit taxpayers on many levels.
We share best practices, we take advantage of economies of scale, we share training and professional development and we lobby as a single voice for improvements in services provided from railways to highways and from senior government to industry.
It is something that Kamloops and our governing partners do well. So, as we sit with chief and councillors of the Tk’emlúps Te Secwepmec Indian Band this week, be assured we are working to strengthen our collective community.