Katzie First Nation taking over Grant Narrows park

The province confirmed it will issue the Pitt Meadows-based band a license before Canada Day that will allow it to maintain the “Pitt-Addington Recreation Site,” charge fees for parking and boat launching, set up a canoe rental and concession stand, as well as regulate and enforce the uses on the site, including security.

Katzie First Nation will finally get control of operations at what used to be Grant Narrows Regional Park.

The province confirmed it will issue the Pitt Meadows-based band a license before Canada Day that will allow it to maintain the “Pitt-Addington Recreation Site,” charge fees for parking and boat launching, set up a canoe rental and concession stand, as well as regulate and enforce the uses on the site, including security.

Back-country trails will still be maintained by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operation.

Metro Vancouver walked away from managing the area Dec. 31 after it couldn’t reach a long-term leasing deal with the provincial government.

The Katzie band had hoped to take over operation in May and was frustrated by the delay. The license of occupation is for five years.

Chief Jay Bailey said the province would not allow the band to clear away garbage or mow grass on the site until a lease was signed.

“They told us it wasn’t in the budget,” said Bailey.

Since it’s already half way into the summer recreation season, the Katzie may not be able to order canoes and the band will now have to scramble to set up a concession stand.

“We are kind of in the peak season. It’s a little frustrating,” said Bailey.

“We did not want to invest money into something where a contract was not signed.”

The Katzie plan to enhance the park’s existing facilities by sharing their culture with visitors.

One of the band’s reserves is located across from the canoe rental facility on the north side of the Pitt River.

The Katzie also identify the park as a high-priority area for treaty settlement lands.

“It’s one of the main parts of our territory,” said Bailey. “It’s kind of like our Crown jewel.”