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Rural residents in the TNRD are being told to expect a slight decrease to their property taxes in 2019.
 
According to the draft budget presented this week, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District is currently forecasting a 1.1% decrease in taxes for rural residents.
 
However, Director of Finance Doug Rae warns it could change depending on the results of the 2019 Tax Roll.
 
"Once I get the 2019 assessment data, which we will use for the final budget in March, that can change things up a bit."
 
Rae says the decrease is based largely on the regional district saving money in solid waste management, after signing on with Recycle BC earlier this year.
 
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The City of Merritt is signing a one-year extension for Fire Protection Services with the TNRD.
 
It was the city's desire to sign a five-year agreement like in years past, but acting CAO Sheila Thiessen says there are changes in standards for fire departments that need further clarification.
 
"So, in order to make sure we have an agreement that meets the standards and is clear, we have agreed with the TNRD to extend the existing agreement for one-year."
 
The current five-year agreement with the TNRD to provide Fire Protection Services to part of Areas M and N expires at the end of the year.
 
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New bus service expecting to be busy over the holidays.

Director of Business Development John Stepovy says ridership has been steady since Ebus began operating three regional routes in November and new buses are being introduced to the fleet in the coming weeks.

Those looking to get to Kamloops, Kelowna or Vancouver via Merritt over the Christmas break will need to reserve their spot on the bus no later than an hour before it departs from its original location.

"We try and get people from the points of where they are going as soon as possible. So, in communities like Chilliwack, or Merritt, or Vernon, or wherever else, if there is no one to pick up, instead of stopping we just carry on."

Ebus offers eight daily stops in Merritt, picking up passengers on Crawford Ave.

Reservations can be made at www.myEbus.ca.

 

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The Steelhead Society of BC is eyeing an end to open net fishing in BC rivers.

First, President Brian Braidwood says the goal is to get all the regulatory bodies and First Nations on board.

"Working with the other organizations; the BC Wildlife Federation, the Federation of Fly Fishers and others trying to get that message out. And, other organizations are working on it as well."

The BC Wildlife Federation is expected to host a symposium early in the New Year to discuss a potential move to ban open net fishing.

Braidwood says the move would be a huge boost to ensuring fish stocks in the province's rivers remain viable for years to come.

 

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The Ministry of Transportation is urging drivers to be prepared and take it easy when heading home for the holidays.
 
District Manager Trent Folk says checking the weather and driving conditions is very important especially on high mountain passes like the Coquihalla.
 
Folk says people should make sure they have winter tires, and pack warm clothes, food, and water in case they get stuck or delayed.
 
"Again, thinking about the trip, and planning your trip. Certainly, traffic volumes increase over the Christmas holidays. Our staff and maintenance contractors are aware of that and continue to monitor the weather forecast."
 
Folk says ministry climate change and avalanche technicians are warning there is always the possibility of heavy snowfall and winter storms packing an extra heavy punch this time of year.
 
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