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Merritt Councillor believing the proposed fire hall expansion should be delayed.
 
Mike Goetz is for the expansion, but believes with the City of Merritt's tax revenue set to take a hit of as much as 6% next year following the closure of the Tolko Industries sawmill, its not fiscally responsible at this time.
 
"I've opposed it from the start, and not because I don't think the fire hall should be built. I still think we should put this off until we find out the total impact of Tolko leaving has on the tax base. So, I will be voting against it. Due diligence does not allow me to move in this direction, at this time."
 
The proposed expansion of the Merritt Fire Rescue Department's headquarters is budgeted at $2,209,000.
 
An alternate approval process, which will give residents opposed to the expansion the ability to vote against it is scheduled for this fall.
 
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United Steelworkers Union and Teck Resources celebrating new deal for workers at the Highland Valley Copper mine.
 
Members of local 7619 voted 84.5% in favour of the tentative contract this week, ending the 11-month labour dispute at the mine.
 
The negotiations were tough, but President Kyle Wolfe says his members stood strong.
 
"It's definitely a good thing. We can finally get back to work, and not having this stress under our lives."
 
Highland Valley Copper mine spokesperson Peter Martel says the company is pleased to have labour peace again at the mine.
 
"We are pleased to reach a collective agreement. We think the agreement is fair and reasonable for our employees, and also supports the ongoing viability of the operation."
 
The new contract for workers at the mine is for five-years, retroactive to October 2016.
 
It includes a total pay hike of 8%, the copper bonus remains, and the union retained its strong language protecting its members from contracting out.
 
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Art Walk bringing in the business again in 2017.
 
Nicola Valley Arts Council President Chelsea Werrun says the event that pairs artists and businesses was again a success.
 
All 21 businesses involved saw increased traffic, averaging 100 additional customers as a direct result of the event.
 
"A lot of people seemed to really enjoy the work this year. We had mosaic art, infused glass, paintings, drawings, sculpters, and photography. So, it was a nice blend this year."
 
The Art Walk is run in partnership by the Merritt and District Chamber of Commerce and Nicola Valley Arts Council.
 
Werrun says the plan is to return next year, for a sixth straight summer.
 
 
 
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Nicola Valley Search and Rescue called out to locate lost mountain biker.
 
Manager Lynne Broekhuizen says a male in his teens called for assistance after getting separated from his group last night on the trails up Midday Valley Rd.
 
Luckily, he was able make it out of the bush safely.
 
"The young man had become disorientated, and didn't know where he was. We went out and started searching the trails. But, he eventually found his bearings and made his way to the Coldwater River, and back to Merritt. So we were stood down."
 
Broekhuizen is commending the youth for calling for help as soon as he did.
 
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Vancouver man's walk across Canada for youth homelessness, rerouted due to the smoky skies.
 
Joe Roberts, was scheduled to stop in Merritt Sunday, but because of the smoke, he and his shopping cart will instead be travelling via Hwy 3 to the coast.
 
"Some people will hopefully see us, but we won't be coming through Merritt because of the air quality. I started to get a little sick earlier in the week as we headed into Kamloops, and we felt at that time we needed to avoid the smoke."
 
Roberts says the 17-month, 9,000km Push For Change walk is to show support and raise funds and awareness for the 35,000 Canadian youth still living on the streets.
 
Over $500,000 has been raised to date.
 
"You don't have to convince Canadians to do good, you just need to give them an opportunity to join you. The walk started we me pushing a shopping cart 24km a day and along the way we have met with police commissioners, politicians, private business people, and literally tens-of-thousands of young people. In doing so learning that Canadians have a strong interest in wanting to create change." 
 
For more information on youth homelessness, or to donate to the walk, go to www.thepushforchange.com.
 
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