The Williams Lake Indian Band announced Nov. 9 that it is nearing completion of the detailed design of the infrastructure required to service its Coyote Rock development lands along Highway 97.
“This is a huge step for our community and for the Williams Lake area as a whole,” states WLIB Chief, Ann Louie. “We’ve been working on this project for two years, and now we’re poised to begin construction of the infrastructure this year, with the intention that the bulk of the work will take place in 2013.”
The infrastructure planning will result in the servicing of the WLIB lands along Highway 97, extending from the WLIB community core on Mission Road to the boundary of the reserve at Lexington subdivision. Works will include new water and sewer lines, booster and lift stations and a water reservoir.
“We’ve invested $5 million in our recently completed water treatment facility, and these new works would allow us to extend potable water and community sewer along the highway corridor,” adds Chief Louie. We’re exploring the possibilities for providing potable water to Lexington subdivision and there might be a great opportunity to address the needs of that community through our project, as well.”
In January of 2012, WLIB was announced as one of 18 First Nations from across the country that would be the next group entering the First Nations Lands Management initiative, which will give WLIB a form of self-government over lands management, and drastically improve the efficiency of lands transactions.
WLIB is currently finalizing a conceptual plan of the subdivision that would be created as part of the infrastructure project. “The plan isn’t finalized, but we’re fairly certain about the major elements of the design,” says Byron Louie, WLIB Economic Development Officer.
“The subdivision will include a multi-phase residential development with approximately 90 lots. Fronting Coyote Rock Golf Course will be an approximately 15 acre highway commercial development, designed to accommodate approximately 60,000 square feet of business space.
“Things are coming together amazingly. Our ability to proceed with the project will depend on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development’s continued partnership, but everything is coming together better than could be expected. We’re working with the Ministry of Transportation and Highways on the design for the four-laning of Highway 97 through our reserve, and the proposed highways works will dramatically improve access to our development lands. We have some incredible partnerships that we’re working on and hope to soon make some major announcements about our plans on that front.
“We also anticipate there will be a clean energy component to this development and we’ll soon have some exciting news about that as well. This would be a huge project four our region. It would really open up the development potential for the Williams Lake area, and the $4 million infrastructure construction project alone should create 24 direct and as many as an additional 35 indirect and induced jobs during the term of the project. The long-term economic spinoffs from lease revenues, property taxes, construction opportunities and employment would be gigantic.”