Partnership is now called Shuswap Kenpesq’t Invermere Partnership (SKIP)

By Chadd Cawson Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The partnership between Shuswap Band and the District of Invermere (DOI) remains strong and now falls under the name Shuswap Kenpesq’t Invermere Partnership (SKIP). The name was formally introduced at the Annual Friendship Celebration on October 19, 2022, at Kinsmen Beach.

 “We were treated to a beautiful fall day in the valley,” said partnership coordinator, Pete Bourke. “Complete with cultural dancing from the Shuswap, comments from both community leaders, locally-made cake, and non-alcoholic beverages to enjoy. It was fabulous to see the community come together to celebrate this.” 

The partnership between the Shuswap Band and the DOI began in 2019 when both parties participated in the First Nation – Municipal Community Economic Development Initiative (CEDI). CEDI is a national program delivered jointly by the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (CANDO) and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). 

“The partnership’s involvement in the CEDI program wrapped up in May 2021, however both communities agreed on the importance to continue their partnership,” said Cote.  “To strengthen their relationship, grow their understanding of each other’s policies and decision-making processes, and to continue working together on future opportunities to work together on. Not only the active transportation network connecting our two communities, but adding to the list of many opportunities that will benefit our future generations.” 

Elected officials and administrative staff from both communities met for a workshop to discuss options for the joint management of James Chabot Park on June 22, 2022.  Since the CEDI program had concluded in May 2021, and plans for the Annual Friendship Celebration were underway for October 2022, it was decided that a new name was needed to best represent this partnership and at that time it became a part of their joint strategic plan.  Today, the working group, which is comprised of key personnel from each community, continue to meet monthly. Together they work on items such as their joint active transportation network plan, and a joint strategic plan. They share regular updates from each community while creating new ideas to partner together on. 

“Both communities are passionately focused on continuing their partnership to serve the current times and also to support the generations to come,” said mayor, Al Miller. “The partnership is very proud of what they have accomplished to date and hope that they can serve as an example for other communities to follow. The opportunity to work so closely together has enabled us to listen and learn from each other, giving us a deeper understanding of history and culture.”