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Minister of Citizens Services suggesting a regional partnership is needed to keep visitor services at Exit 286.

City of Merritt officials met with Jinny Sims at last month's UBCM to see if the pending closure of the Merritt Visitor Centre could be reconsidered.

While she couldn’t meet with them again during her visit to the city on Friday, Sims suggests a regional partnership could be a way to keep the doors open.

"The cost of sharing the fee, is so much less. Then you are only paying small amounts per community, where as if you are doing the whole amount the costs can be prohibitive."

The Merritt Visitor Centre at Exit 286 is set to close January 12, 2018, and following that will initially be run out of the Baillie House.

 

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Minister of Citizens Services hoping to increase internet connectivity in the Merritt-area.
 
Jinny Sims was in the Nicola Valley Friday, and says the provinical government is commited to increasing internet services to rural and remotes parts of the province.
 
However, she says its easy said than done, as big service providers shy away from connecting smaller communities due to the cost.
 
"Our main service providers for the optic cable is Telus. They are a private company that looks at a business model. For a lot of these smaller communities the cost is very very prohibitive. What we are very fortunate to have are a lot of small companies who are stepping in and doing the last mile so to speak."
 
Sims met with representatives of the Lower Nicola Indian Band, and area logging companies during her visit to Merritt last week.
 
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Nicola Valley Search and Rescue hosting an open house and info session tonight with the hope of attracting new members.

Manager Lynne Broekhuzien says they hope to add to the current 35 full-time members.

"Come out and look at what we do. Take a peak at our new headquarters, and speak to members. There will also be a rope rescue demonstration planned."

You need to be physically fit, but not necessarily outdoorsy.

"You don't necessarily need to go out on searches. We also need people to help with mapping, logistics and radio, and other things like that. So, there are a variety of roles to fill."

Tonight's open house starts at 6pm, at the Nicola Valley Search and Rescue airport compound.

Broekhuizen says new members with snow mobiles, ATVS, and a Class 1 driver's license are particularly needed.

 

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Bass Coast once again selling out "early bird" tickets almost as quickly as they went on sale.
 
Co-Founder Liz Thomson confirms the 1000 Tier One tickets made available only lasted a a few hours after going on sale last Tuesday.
 
After also selling out completely last year in just two months, its clear the electronic music and arts festival remains a popular ticket.
 
"The satisfaction we are getting after ten years of hard work in all areas. And, of course ticket sales are really important. So, yeah its really satisfying."
 
Last year, Bass Coast sold out in just two months.
 
Tickets for this year's electronic music and arts festival, which goes July 6th to the 9th, can be purchased at www.basscoast.ca.
 
 
 
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After a number of accidents this week, VSA Highways Maintenance is again reminding drivers to expect the unexpected.
 
Spokesperson Bob Gilowski says if you don't have winter tires, you shouldn't be on area mountain passes.
 
"We're two weeks into the requirement, so at this point there should be no reason drivers are driving there without winter tires. The weather can be relatively dry and warm in the valley bottoms, but it can be a very different story at higher elevations." 
 
Gilowski is also reminding drivers to give themselves extra time when travelling the mountain passes, and advises checking www.drivebc.ca before heading out on the road.
 
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