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Merritt Councillor forced to wait nearly eight minutes for assistance from 9-1-1 operators.

Back on April 23rd, Mike Goetz says he called 9-1-1 after witnessing an alcohol fueled brawl between three people involving weapons at a nearby residence.

It took over seven and a half minutes to connect to the proper operator.

"When someone indicates, there was weapons involved, that should go to the top of whatever pile they are working on. I mean, a lady was hit in the head with a golf club. She was down, and another man was bleeding. There was a lot of stuff happening, and I expected when I picked up the phone to dial 9-1-1 that I would get through very quickly. But, apparently not."

While Goetz doesn't believe an extended wait like he experienced is the norm, he says it's important that when people need help they get it.

As for the incident in question, a 56-year-old male was arrested as a result of the fight, and will appear in court to face yet to be issued charges June 20th.

School District 58 paying a lot less to fix vandalism at schools this year.

Two years ago, the district spent over $10,000 to replace broken windows and cleanup graffiti in Merritt, but this past year the cost went down to $3,200.

Superintendent Stephen McNiven believes the level of respect is improving.

"I'm seeing positive things around the district around student's contributions to the community, feeling a sense of belonging in our schools, taking ownership for their learning and the facilities. It's part of our strategic plan, and I'm hoping that is leading to the decrease, but I can only speculate."

Meanwhile, School District 58 have not had to spend a single dollar to repair vandalism at schools in Princeton this year.

Merritt RCMP detachment implementing a new reporting system with the hope of improving the efficiency of officers.

Staff analysis training began this week.

Among other things, S/Sgt Sheila White says the increased analysis should lead to officers being able to better account for their time.

"This new system will give us concrete numbers, as to how much time our officers spend on social issues."

White says the training should also lead to better response times, through increased analysis of the day to day activities of officers over the next couple years.

The further analysis could also lead to additional officers at the detachment.

Welcoming news for anyone working at the Highland Valley Copper mine, as the world-wide demand for copper is expected to soar over the next decade.

Teck Resources CEO Don Lindsay making the prediction yesterday at an international metals conference in Barcelona, Spain.

"A gap between production and demand of as much as 5-million tons by 2025. That would take  the equivalent of more than 30 Highland Valley Copper mines to fill it."

The increased demand is expected to result in sharply higher prices.

Copper is currently being sold for around $2.50 a pound.

Uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the provincial election, not expected to delay budget proceedings for School District 58 any further.

Already delayed a month, secretary-treasurer Kevin Black is still expecting to receive the final word on funding through the Classroom Enhancement Fund by June 2nd.

"We're moving forward with the current information we have. The big hold up for us right now in the C.E.F (Classroom Enhancement Fund), because it's notional funding. We're waiting for answers there. We are expecting the funding to come in around $1.4-million. Once we get confirmation that is approved, we will be able to move forward with the budget and the planned staffing increase."

Black says he expects a second trustee meeting in June will need to be scheduled, to pass the 2017-18 budget before students break for the summer.

The conclusive results of the provincial election are expected May 24th, with it still being up in the air whether BC will have a majority, minority, or coalition government.

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