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Upper Nicola Band making their case against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the Federal Court of Appeal.
 
Chief Harvey McLeod believes they made clear the lack of consultation was wrong during testimony last week, and now hope either a review is ordered, or the $7.4-billion expansion is halted.
 
"We based our case on Crown consultation, title and rights, and accommodation. It was loud a clear, not only by us, but the other submissions by other First Nations. So, we were really happy with how the information was shared, and presented. I really feel we have been heard."
 
McLeod says a lot of mistakes were made when the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion was approved federally, and it can't happen again with another project of its size. 
 
Several First Nations, including both the Upper Nicola and Coldwater Indian bands locally, municipalities and environmental groups in BC opposed to the approval process of pipeline expansion are currently challenging the expansion in the Federal Court of Appeal, with testimony scheduled to wrap up this week.
 
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Province throwing support behind Nicola Valley Indigenous Court.
 
During a ceremony this morning to mark the creation of a First Nations Court in Merritt, Attorney General David Eby told those in attendance that having elders preside over the sentancing process will help in the journey to return the sustainabilty that First Nations experienced before first contact.
 
"It's the wisdom and presence of the elders that's really going to have the message mean something for people that have to interact with the system." 
 
The Nicola Valley Indigenous Court will sit once a month, and is one of five now in BC.
 
The first sitting is Oct 25th.
 
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Creation of the Nicola Valley Indigenous Court being celebrated.
 
This morning's ceremony is scheduled at the Shulus Arbour beginning at 11am.
 
Approved last month after years of lobbying, Upper Nicola Band Chief Harvey McLeod believes it will have a significant impact.
 
"Right now, offenders do the court-ordered seminars, they do the court-ordered counselling, but it seems to be missing a part. The missing part is the Elders. They will enforce, and teach them how to live their live. How they should live their... how they have to live their life."
 
A First Nation Court, which is scheduled to sit for the first time this month, deals with provincial court matters, but an Elders advisory panel, trained in the court system with knowledge of traditions and cultural practices, presides over the process.
 
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City of Merritt's top to bottom review of service levels underway.

Director of Finance Sheila Thiessen says the review is in response to the significant drop in tax revenue forecasted in 2018, due to the shutdown of Tolko's Merritt sawmill.

The hope is to discover lost revenue.

"We're taking a good look at our services, and how we allocate costs. We'll also be taking a hard look at user fees, and see if changes are necessary."

The City of Merritt stands to lose as much as $500,000 a year in tax revenue because of the Tolko shutdown starting in 2018.

 

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With the threat of a wildfire still at HIGH, a controlled burn planned in Merritt will likely not happen until 2018.
 
However, Chief David Tomkinson says the controlled burn for the area between Parker Drive and Central Park will remain a priority.
 
"We are working on the whole area, and this is just one component. It will be prioritized, and if it remains so, it will get the first treatment. It's all part of our updated community wildfire protection plan."  
 
The controlled burn for the area between Parker Drive and Central Park was originally scheduled for May 6th, but due to dry conditions has already been postponed a number of times.
 
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