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British Columbians will soon be able to resolve small claims disputes from home.

Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Suzanne Anton says beginning June 1st, British Columbians will be able to resolve disputes up to $5,000 from home on the Civil Resolution Tribunal website.

"You'll file your claim. It will help you through some initial steps, understanding your own claim, is there any merit to it for instance? It will ask you questions like that. Then you will go to a second stage where you will have a mediator try and help you out. Well, are you really sure? How about looking at it this way? If that doesn't turn out, you'll get to an adjudication and someone will make a decision."

Anton says this will make a big difference by alleviating pressures on the court system and freeing up time for cases that need to be in the court room.

2-week extension granted to displaced Kengard Manor residents for food and lodging.

"The fire has left 58 residents displaced. And, at the request of Emergency Social Services (ESS), the City of Merritt has applied to Emergency Management BC and has been granted a two week extension for food and lodging for the displaced residents."

City of Merritt Director of corporate services Melisa Miles adds that displaced residents have been encouraged to find alternate living accommodations for the period following the extension.

She also says through the recovery process, information will become available for those wishing to make donations (monetary or otherwise) to the displaced residents.

A cause of the fire is still not known, as the physical investigation of last Thursday's fire at the apartment complex on Merritt Ave is just getting underway today.

 

Upper Nicola Band chief hoping to focus on the band's internal health.

"There's been so much external work needing attention in the last couple years that we haven't really had a chance of late to internalize and develop a closer relationship with our people."

Re-elected to a second term over the weekend by just a single vote, Harvey McLeod is excited to lead for another three years, and believes that having most of council return with him, will lead to getting a lot accomplished.

"That's one of the advantages of having four of the five come back. We all know, and are up to date on what we've been doing. So, there will be now slowing down to get caught up."

McLeod is also expressing excitement over having newcomer Clarine Paul elected, believing that having a younger female on council will add a new perspective.

RCMP livestock detective patrolling the region once again.

The previous livestock detective retired back in March of 2015, so Nicola Valley Stock Breeders Association president John Anderson is certainly welcoming of the news.

"This left a pretty big hole by the position not being filled immediately. We've been advocating strongly with the RCMP to have the position filled since, so this is great news. Especially when it comes to us ranchers being able to follow up on missing cattle, and other stuff like that."

The RCMP livestock detective will be based out of Kamloops.

They are tasked with assisting local detachments in landowner disputes, poaching, theft and other cases requiring specialized knowledge of the cattle industry.

 

Physical investigation into the Kengard Manor apartment fire set to begin today.

They'll be looking for the area of origin, and then trying to determine to what the source of ignition would have been."

Merritt Fire Rescue Department Chief David Tomkinson says at this point it's still unclear if any up to 60 displaced residents will be able return to their homes.

"Structural engineers still have to go in. There's lots of insurance companies involved, so at this time it's just not something I can confirm."

Meanwhile, ESS funding that many displaced residents are using to stay at area hotels is set to run out as early as today.

With rental vacancies already at a premium, the City of Merritt has applied for additional emergency funding, and is expected release more information today.

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