The head of the Lower Kootenay Band says they were “deceived” in being left out of funding from a provincial grant program.
During a Creston town council meeting, Nasukin Jason Louie said he was unhappy with the allocation of the Growing Communities Fund.
The Town of Creston, among other local governments, is receiving funds, and Louie says the LKB should have been on that list.
“LKB was supposed to be included and then, in the end, was excluded.”
Louie says Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson reached out to him and spoke over dinner regarding possible funds and asked for a “wish list”.
Louie named three main things: the construction of a fitness centre, proper housing, and funds for continuing their meal program.
He says he was led to believe funds would be heading their way but was choked not see the LKB on the list of governments receiving the grant.
“I didn’t hear anything, and then started seeing her posts celebrating, and I emphasize the word celebrating, with these different communities.”
After reaching out, Louie says he was told the grant was for local governments.
“And my reply was, the Lower Kootenay Band is a government. So I feel like we were deceived.”
In the end, Louie was told of some grants and proposals the LKB could have applied for themselves.
“I’m just feeling foolish. I should have known better,” lamented Louie.
“Here’s an example of truth and reconciliation. There was no truth. To this day, no reconciliation. It should never have been put out there, we were led on to believe that we were going to be helped.”
“Every community right now is thriving except ours. All these ones that receive these large amounts of dollars from this NDP government. And it’s a lesson learned. But I should have known better.”
Louie says more than heartbreaking, it was infuriating to see.
“There’s herself and a couple of ladies jumping in the air and smiling and here we are. We’re not doing that.”
However, Louie says this bump in the road is not going to stop the LKB’s growth. They have, and will continue to, overcome.
“We do have some funds, from startup funds where we’ve got our blueprints [for the fitness centre].”
“And we’ve been slowly working on [housing] with some of the rebates with Fortis. We’re working towards a goal.”
Louie says he brought it to Creston town council after councillor Denise Dumas reached out for ways to grow together as a community.
He asked the town what they were planning on doing with the $2.35 million they are to receive.
There was no immediate answer, something Louie says he expected.
“We do not have that luxury of not having an answer. It is a privilege that we don’t have. It’s a luxury that we don’t have. And I just want the general public to know this very deceitful act that happened.”
He said it was a perfect opportunity after Dumas wanted to meet and talk about truth and reconciliation being more than just lip service.
“The Lower Kootenay Band doesn’t give up. We’re going to keep moving forward. At some point in the future, you will see our fitness centre. We will have energy-efficient heating and cooling systems. And who knows, maybe we’ll have a whole year’s supply of funding for our meal program.”
MyCrestonNow reached out to MLA Anderson to respond.
“As an MLA, I work with every community in my constituency, including First Nations, to understand their needs and advocate on their behalf. I welcome everyone to reach out to me with ideas, questions, or concerns about our provincial government,” stated Anderson in response.