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Wildfire sparking near Merritt.

Kamloops Fire Centre information officer Rachael Witt confirms the fire west of Lower Nicola was reported this afternoon just after 3:30pm.

"The BC Wildfire Service is responding to a fire of the Dot Ranch cut-off road. Crews are on route by ground, and air."

Witt says the size of the fire, and cause is not unknown at this time.

 

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Future of Exit 286 building uncertain.
 
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Citizens' Services Joanne Whittaker says the future of the soon to be former home of the Merritt Visitor Centre remains undecided.
 
"There really isn't anything to say at this point. The decision is still in its early stages." 
 
Destination BC has a contract in place with a third party to provide visitor services at the Exit 286 site until January 12, 2018, and following that visitor services in the Merritt area will be consolidated and solely provided by the City of Merritt out of the Baillie House.
 
The building, which is owned by the Real Property Divison of the Ministry of Citizens' Services, has housed visitor information services since the mid 1980's.
 
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Cost of the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology's new Centre of Excellence in Sustainability going up.
 
President Ken Tourand confirming the 20,000 sqft addition will now cost up to $10-million, up over a million dollars from the original budget.
 
"It started out at as an $8.9-million, and now is up to almost $10-million. But, when the quotes came in, there were additional factors. It now includes a new 25 to 30 stall parking lot, in addition to the gymnasium, fitness centre, culinary arts kitchen, and clean energy lab. So, we're really excited to see the project moving along."
 
Construction of the Centre of Excellence in Sustainability began back in May, and Tourand remains confident it will be completed within a year.
 
The addition is being funded by both the provincial and federal governments.
 
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Carfentanil ruled cause of fatal overdose in Merritt.
 
Merritt RCMP Cst Tracy Dunsmore confirms the drug, said to be 100 times more potent than fentanyl, was found to be in the drug that killed a male in Merritt back in July.
 
It's the first ever confirmed death attributed to the deadly opioid in the city.
 
"In two overdose instances, it has been confirmed by our lab that carfentanil has been found in drugs. In one instance, it was an overdose death, where the drug was found in heroin. And, in another instance there were no deaths, but several people were taken to hospital."
 
Back in March, Interior Health released a report that carfentanil was likely in drugs being sold in the city.
 
July's fatal overdose is the fifth confirmed in Merritt this year, which surpasses the total of 4 in all of 2016.
 
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Large spending discrepancy for Fraser Nicola candidates.
 
Elections BC releasing the campaign finance reports for candidates in May's provincial election.
 
BC Liberal candidate Jackie Tegart spent a total of $107,834 en route to winning the riding for the second consecutive election.
 
That total was nearly four times what BC Green Party candidate Arthur Green and BC Social Credit Party candidate Michael Henshall spent combined, with the candidates declaring $17,463.71 and $6,220 respectively.
 
Meanwhile, the total for BC NDP candidate Harry Lali has yet to be released. 
 
Due to extenuating circumstances, Lali has been granted an extension until August 22nd to declare.
 
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