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The TNRD in Merritt tonight to discuss new Regional Solid Waste Management Plan.
 
Manager of Environmental Services Jamie Viera says the new plan will dictate how solid waste is handled in the regional district the next 10 years.
 
While it doesn't include any major changes, Viera says the new plan does include a number of initiatives that focus on the commerical, construction and demolition sectors.
 
"Everyone is welcome to come and offer feedback. We are doing direct stakeholder engagement with those industries, but this is kind of a kick off to the public consultation period. Even if it doesn;t directly impacy someone's day-to-day, we want to know what they think of the type of policies being proposed."
 
The meeting to discuss the TNRD's new Regional Solid Waste Management Plan is at the Civic Centre, begnning at 7pm.
 
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Provincial government launching an independent review of this year’s unprecedented wildfire and spring flooding seasons.
 
In announcing the review today, Premier John Horgan says the review team will examine all aspects of the Province’s response to the floods and wildfires of 2017.
 
"While we work hard to help the people and communities recover, we also owe it to those people to make sure we learn from the events of the past spring and summer. I'm pleased that George Abbott and Chief Maureen Chapman have agreed to lead this external review."
 
Widespread flooding this spring in the Nicola, Thompson and Okanagan regions, and a record-setting wildfire season in BC's interior, resulted in numerous evacuations and significant damage to private property, infrastructure and natural resources.
 
A report from the independent review team is expected by the end of April 2018.
 
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Coquihalla's Dry Gulch bridge fully reopened.
 
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena confirms all four lanes over the bridge on Hwy 5 have been reopened to traffic.
 
She says the resurfacing is the first significant work done to this bridge, since it was built over 30-years ago.
 
"These upgrades strengthen the bridge and provide a safer, smoother ride for all motorists. We appreciate the patience of drivers while work was underway, most of which took place over the busy summer months."
 
The $5.1-million project, which got started earlier this summer, involved concrete deck resurfacing of all four lanes, and replacement of abutment bearings and expansion joints.
 
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Dip in Christmas hampers leaving the Nicola Valley and District Food Bank wondering.
 
In recent years as many as 300 hampers have gone to those accessing services, but coordinator Elissa Baron says this Christmas the number has dipped to under 200.
 
"We are not really sure why at this point. I guess you could consider it a positive. It could be related to some of the drug issues, and the people we have lost, but at this point that is not clear."
 
Around 600 people are receiving assistance from the Nicola Valley and District Food Bank every month, with Baron estimating a third being children.
 
The Christmas hampers are scheduled to be picked up starting Dec 18th.
 
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City of Merritt to begin negotiations with CUPE Local 900 workers early next year.
 
The contract for the roughly 65 full-time equivalent staff expires in December.
 
CAO Shawn Boven says the city has received word confirming Local 900 is ready to negotiate after resuming local control, following the national arm of the Canadian Union of Public Employees stepping in a taking over control last year because of procedural issues.
 
"We received word this week the local is no longer under administration as of the end of the year, which means we can start negotiations in early spring. As part of that process we will be looking at recent settlements in the area." 
 
The City of Merritt has budgeted a 2% wage increase for CUPE employees in the 2017 budget. 
 
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