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Aaron Sam ready to take the nomination, and win back the Fraser-Nicola riding for the BC NDP.

"I'm young, energetic, and about change. I will bring a new voice to both the BC NDP, and the Fraser-Nicola riding."

Sam, who is in his second term as the Chief of the Lower Nicola Indian Band, says he believes he has what it takes if nominated to win a riding narrowly lost to the Liberals back in 2013.

"I believe I have the best chance to win. Harry (Lali) lost four years ago to Jackie Tegart and the Liberals. We need somebody that has a real chance at taking the seat for the NDP in May."

Sam says the exporting of raw logs overseas, a lack of healthcare options and affordable post secondary programs top the list of concerns from those he's talked to locally in recent weeks.

The NDP nomination meeting in which members will decide between Sam, and former four-time MLA and cabinet minister Harry Lali takes place on Saturday.

Should Sam ultimately be elected MLA, he has stated he will step down as Chief of the LNIB.

Completing the Coldwater Ave paving project the lone asphalt rehabilitation project on the books for City of Merritt this year.

CAO Shawn Boven confirms the nearly $2.8 million project to repave, and replace water and sewer lines on the portion of the road from Wilson to Voght St is expected to start by the summer, and be completed by the fall.

"We don't really have the capacity to do anything beyond Coldwater. It's a big chunk of road to do. The $500,000 that council budgets annually for asphalt rehabilitation, will be carried over into 2018 and earmarked for the repaving of Cranna Cres."

83% of the roughly $2.8 million cost of the Coldwater Ave paving project is being covered through provincial and federal funding.

Thompson Nicola Regional District hoping to finally get off the MMBC wait list.

Manager of Environmental Services Jamie Viera says the TNRD has been on the wait list for over three years, and official with the Multi-Material BC program says with Kamloops now on board they are willing to start negotiations.

The regional district would save a significant amount of the $650,000 spent every year to provide recycling services to residents and member municipalities if accepted.

"Instead of paying through tax dollars, MMBC would pay us, at least in part, to provide the service."

MMBC was formed in 2014 to develop and implement a stewardship plan for residential packaging and printed paper in communities across the province.

Unable to find somebody to lease their airport hanger in it's current state, the City of Merritt will fix up deficiencies before sending out another request for proposals.

Whether all the deficiencies noted by the one interested party exist still remains to be seen, Mayor Neil Menard says the building still needs to be brought up to code before another RFP goes out.

"It's time to get on with this. We went through hoops to get the airport back under the control of the city, and under the direction of council. The hanger now belongs to us, and we won't be leasing, or selling it until we fix everything that's there."

The initial RFP for the building located at 4494 Airport Rd ended on Feb 28th.

Bringing the building up to code is expected to cost at least a few thousand dollars.

The province rolling out $80-million to help municipalities deal with emergencies.

Minister of State for Emergency Naomi Yamamoto says the money will flow to the BC Disaster Mitigation Program, Red Cross, Fraser Basin Council, Salvation Army and...

"About $32-million is going to establish a Community Emergency Management Fund. They'll be able to assess projects, and application that come in to UBCM, and they'll be able to fund local community projects. Those however, are yet to be determined."

Yamamoto says another $20-million will go to flood protection including volunteer training, evacuation routes, and flood risk assessment.

She says they are also targeting what she called soft projects or capital projects sought by municipalities where finding funding has been a challenge.

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