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Sun Peaks works with native bands at resort

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Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops is trying to diffuse tension with local First Nations by including two native bands in an $8 million joint venture.

The Little Shuswap and Whispering Pines Indian bands are partnering with the resort to build staff housing and a commercial development.

The development includes four two-storey buildings, which will each house 48 staff.

The Little Shuswap band will own 25 per cent of the development when construction is completed. The agreement with Sun Peaks includes an option to purchase up to 50 per cent.

The band also operates the Quaaout Lodge Resort on Little Shuswap Lake near Chase.

Meanwhile, members of the Neskonlith and Adams Lake Indian bands are opposed to a $70-million expansion of the ski resort and claim the area is on part of their reserve lands.

They have been protesting at Sun Peaks since last year.

But the Little Shuswap and Whispering Pines bands have both stayed out of the dispute and have indicated that the joint venture will help diversify their economies and involve them in the area's tourism industry.

The Kamloops Indian Band also has a good relationship with Sun Peaks and is looking at ways to work with the resort. The band already leases part of its reserve lands to local businesses.

The Little Shuswap, Whispering Pines, Neskonlith, Adams Lake and Kamloops Indian bands are all members of the eight-band Shuswap, or Secwepewc, First Nation.

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