An historic partnership between the city and an Okanagan First Nation aims to put up to 20 homes on Grand Forks’ real estate market by next fall.
Any proceeds from home sales will be split between the city and the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB), Mayor Brian Taylor and Mike Campol, Chief Operating Officer at the OIB, said Tuesday, Nov. 9.
Calling the partnership “an important milestone in our involvement with First Nations,” Taylor said the project would partly offset the loss of around 50 city homes destroyed in unprecedented flooding in 2018.
According to terms finalized in an in-camera resolution earlier this month, Taylor said council asked the OIB to move around 10 North Ruckle homes to three city-owned properties, pending a re-zoning process to be informed by public hearings. The city purchased the homes — now at locations slated for floodplain restoration — through the Land Acquisition Program, itself funded by the Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund.
The OIB will then build 10 modular homes between the city-owned sites, repairing relocated homes that need flood remediation, according to a city press release published Wednesday, Nov. 10.
Campol said the OIB hopes to start moving homes in March, with construction and repairs to wrap up by the end of next summer.
The partnership marks the first time the OIB has worked on this scale with a municipality in its traditional territory, he said.
While the city did not put the project to public tender, Taylor said general contractors showed little interest when asked to bid on the North Ruckle homes.
“There was an offer to the public, but there was no immediate uptake,” he told The Gazette.