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City of Merritt's aging infrastructure not being addressed in the 2017 budget.

Director of finance Sheila Thiessen confirms the city has only allocated $1.5-million in new money this year for water and sewer maintenance, despite facing an infrastructure deficit backlog of nearly $50-million.

She does say though; the city will be looking at making a bigger dent in the deficit starting in 2018.

"There's a number of ways to do it. Looking at other municipalities, some have set a specific tax rate, that goes into a fund. Some budget for specific projects every year, others identify what they need, and buildup to it gradually in a reserve."

A report from Urban Systems released last summer, showed the City of Merritt was facing an infrastructure deficit back log of $48-million, and a 20-year infrastructure deficit of nearly $142 million.

To ensure infrastructure is maintained the report stated the city should be allocating at least $6-million annually towards improvements.

Nicola Valley facing an increased flood risk this spring.

Dave Campbell of the BC River Forecasting Centre says significant snowfall at higher elevations over the past month has him expecting a higher than normal seasonal runoff in the Nicola basin.

"We've really seen quite a wet month, especially in the southern half of the province. That's brought snowpack levels up. Around the province right the snowpack level is at an average of 98%, which is about where the snowpack surrounding the Nicola Valley currently sits."

Campbell also warns that the risk of seasonal flooding will be multiplied, should the Nicola Valley see heavy rain, or a rapid increase temperatures in the weeks to come.

 

Judge presiding over Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club and Douglas Lake Cattle Company civil trial delays on-site visit.

Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club Director Rick McGowan confirms the judge has pushed back his visit to the Douglas Lake Ranch from May 9th, to the 23rd.

While he can't say why, McGowan is alleging that lawyers for the cattle company are trying to have the visit cancelled all together.

"They're worried that if the judge sees that all the evidence presented back in January during the trial is real, and sees that the lakes are actually illegally locked to the public, it would significantly harm their case."

With the latest delay, McGowan is not expecting a decision from the judge until at least the fall.

BC NDP candidate in Fraser-Nicola opening his campaign headquarters in Merritt.

Harry Lali, who has served as MLA for the Merritt-area on four previous occasions, is focused on taking back a riding narrowly lost to the BC Liberals in 2013.

"People are looking for change. They've had enough of Christy Clark, and the local BC Liberal MLA, who over the last four-years has been missing in action. She doesn't even have a full-time office in the largest city in the riding."

The official grand opening of Lali's headquarters, located at 1937A Quilchena Ave, takes place Sunday at 2pm.

 

Environment Canada issuing a snowfall warning for both the Coquihalla, and Okanagan Connector.

Forecaster Kenneth Chan is expecting snow to start falling this morning, and start to taper off around noon.

"It looks like it will become intense at times in the next couple hours, especially at the highest elevations."

As much as 15cm of snow is expected to fall.

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