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Ministry of mines

Nicola Valley Aggregates LTD. has proposed digging a new gravel pit, approximately two kilometers away from Merritt.

“We were stunned when we learned that the guy who’s bought it has a arraignment with somebody else to put in a gravel pit,” said Robert Holmes.

A group of citizens calling themselves the Coutlee Residents committee have sent a letter to the Chief inspector of mines regarding a proposed gravel pit virtually across the street from the Village of Coutlee.

Spokesman for the committee Robert Holmes spoke to Q101 about the letter they sent to the Ministry of Energy and Mines that laid out 15 points of emphasis on why they oppose the project.

“Anybody that wants to put in a gravel pit has to follow the mines act and there are specific guidelines,” said Holmes. “The first thing on that list is public consultation and that has never taken place.”

Other items included the proximity to communities, noise and dust impacts, traffic considerations and groundwater impacts.

“We have a lot, a lot of questions and reasons why there should not be a gravel pit there, in what has been a hay field for 70 years,” said Holmes.

Holmes told Q101 they also have the support from the local First Nations.

“The person that wants to dig the gravel said he went to the Lower Nicola Indian Band in December and spoke to them. But I’ve talked to somebody at the band and said he was in there for five minutes at the most and they certainty didn’t agree to anything at that time", said Holmes.

The TNRD is standing firmly behind the Coutlee Residents Committee in the fight.

To this point, they have not heard back from the Ministry regarding their complaints.

 

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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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bc legislature

On Wednesday evening, Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart stood in the BC Legislative Assembly to deliver a speech in response to the NDP's budget. Tegart spoke Q101 about some of the highlights from her speech.

“Overall, I’m disappointed in the lack of direction for rural BC,” said Tegart. “The areas that I’m going to focus on mostly is services and support for families and supporting jobs in the area.”

MLA Tegart was also worried about the key sectors such forestry, mining and agriculture.

“Forestry revenue is projected to decrease from 1.4 billion this year to just under 1.1 billion by 2021, 2022. It’s indicative of an industry that is struggling right now. And that's certainly the situation for forestry dependant communities in the riding,” said MLA Tegart. “They’re projecting a decreasing price for SPF 2x4 lumber, below the prices that can keep saw mills profitable.”

Mining is a large concern as well.

“Competitiveness is also an issue in mining, and there is little in the budget to indicate that it will be addressed in any meaningful way,” said Tegart. “The industry has been vocal about how the carbon tax remains a major obstacle. We do see 20 million over three years in mining, but that will primarily go to compliance enforcement and oversight. Only 5 million this year for support in those areas.”

Tegart also addressed the lack of planning and support for tourism. Saying that there isn’t much money in the budget for major road construction.

Affordable housing was another sticking point for MLA Tegart.

“I’m looking through the budget and wondering how many dollars are coming our way,” Tegart said of the housing crisis.

She is happy with a few things within the budget.

“I’m pleased to see that there is a commitment toward internet and cell service,” stated Tegart.

Tegart is also looking for funding increases for emergency management support, which goes towards issues such as flooding.

“I’m looking for specific dollars for rural BC and I’m having a hard time finding it,” concluded Tegart.

MLA Tegart did state that she would be taking part in the budget estimates with different ministries. Bringing forward concerns regarding service levels for infant child support, senior housing and support and community infrastructure.

 

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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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RCMP

The RCMP have released the following statement;

RCMP in the Southeast District are continuing their investigation into the disappearance of Ben Tyner and are now seeking those with dash cam or other video footage from January 26 and 27 to report to police.

Tyner was reported missing to the Merritt RCMP on January 28, when his rider-less horse was discovered on a logging road off Highway 97 near Winnie Flats. Following his disappearance, RCMP, Search and Rescue, Air Services, Police Dog Services, and Volunteers combed the area, on foot, in vehicles, on snowmobiles, horseback, helicopters and utility vehicles, sadly Mr. Tyner was not located.

The investigation continues to be a priority for the Merritt RCMP and the Southeast District Major Crime Unit (SED MCU), states Staff Sgt. Lorne Wood, Merritt RCMP Detachment Commander. Investigators are now asking anyone who was in Merritt on the weekend of January 26 to 27, 2019 and has dash cam or other video footage, to please contact the SED MCU tip line at 1-877-987-8477,” he continued.

Sgt. Janelle Shoihet from E division confirmed to Q101 that this is simply the next investigative step, and not result of a new development.

 

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City hall

During Tuesday’s Regular Council Meeting, the list of Grant and Aid recipients was approved. After receiving a list of applicants asking for in excess of $200,000, council has the unenvious position of narrowing the list to just over $87,000.

In total $65,301.52 will be given the 2019 recipients of Merritt’s Grant and Aid program.

Some of the programs set to receive money include Canadian Heritage Country Music Society, the Loggers Sport show and Merritt’s Country Christmas.

For the full list head to - http://www.merritt.ca/sites/default/files/agendas/february_26_2018_agenda_regular_council_meeting_ss.pdf - page 55 of the agenda has the full table.

 

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airport

(Photo: City of Merritt)

The City of Merritt is moving forward to create an airport master plan. Economic Development & Tourism manager Will George spoke to Q101 about the next steps being taken by city staff and council.

“Right now, it’s an aerodrome and to go up to a classified airport, then we can have larger planes come in,” said George. “City Council has asked 25,000 dollars to be dedicated toward the airport master plan. Once that’s created that will see, where would we like to go as a city, and what can we do with the land that is there.”

Staff will to working to create a plan that gives council options as to what direction they would like to take with the Airport.

“Which level, and what type of upgrades we’ll need to make,” said George. “If we want to bring in commercial planes, for example, we would have to extend the runway.”

Improving the Airport in any fashion could see a boost to the local economy.

“Even if council doesn’t want to go all the way up to larger planes coming in. Just to present it out and to get more growth at the airport land, because right now quite a bit of it is vacant,” concluded George.

Staff will be bringing in a consultant to help with the master plan and once it’s complete it will once again go before council.

 

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