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Drought Condition Oct 1

The BC River Forecast Centre has updated their drought index for the province with the Coldwater River through Merritt still experiencing level 4 or extremely dry conditions, the worst anywhere in the province.

The aquatic impacts listed by the Government are;

Considered marginal to support the short-term health and proper functions of the aquatic ecosystem.

The drought conditions did lead to the City of Merritt increasing watering restrictions back in September. 

At the monitoring site near Brookmere, the current water level is 0.88m, which is actually slightly higher than the normal level of 0.84m.

The current flow is also higher than normal at 2.19 m3/s compared to 1.37 m3/s. 

Q101 did reach out to the River Forecast Centre for further details into the drought conditions, however, due to the election, the request was not able to be approved.


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In the lead up to the provincial election on October 24, Q101 will be posting several articles highlighting the local candidates’ thoughts on issues facing Merritt, Fraser-Nicola, and the province. 

The four confirmed candidates in the riding are Liberal Incumbent Jackie Tegart, NDP Aaron Sumexheltza, Green Jonah Timms, and Independent Mike Bhangu.

Today, the four candidates were asked about housing.

In particular, the candidates were asked about the need for more affordable housing across the riding and British Columbia and what can be done to address that need. 

*Candidates are listed in alphabetical order

Mike Bhangu, Independent 

That’s a requirement and it’s needed immediately. One thing that we are not addressing is the ridiculous cost of housing, if housing didn’t cost so much would so many folks be without a home, would so many folks be none home-owners, I don’t think so. 

We need to focus on, and seriously try to bring down the cost of housing, or significantly increase wages, one or the other has to give. Right now it’s insane the type of conditions that an individual has to attempt to thrive under. 

People are not thriving, they’re barely surviving, and this isn’t living.

Aaron Sumexheltza, NDP

Since the NDP was in government three and a half years ago they have invested in affordable housing. One example that I know of is not here in town but outside in one of the first nation communities. 

We need to continue doing what we’re doing, a lot has been done but there is much more to be done in the future. Also moving forward supporting businesses and companies that are interested in building affordable housing. 

The government can do a lot and I’m confident moving forward that an NDP Government will support affordable housing being built in your local area.

Jackie Tegart, Liberal (Incumbent)

I think that the Government needs to work very closely with locally elected governments. Through the provincial government working with municipal governments in a meaningful way, we can talk about strategies that work for their municipalities. 

I think a blanket statement sounds good but doesn’t actually deliver what the community needs. I’ve always been one that believes we should consult, and we should listen, and then we should talk about what that community needs. 

If we’re working together, I think we can deliver exactly what the community needs. 

Jonah Timms, Green

We need to find more efficient ways for the Feds, the Province, First Nations, non-profits, cooperatives, and private developers to work together to make sure housing is affordable in new developments in the riding. 

It's pretty hard to feel like a member of the community when you're having housing challenges and having difficulties. People in Merritt have informed me that housing is really difficult to find. I live in Lillooet and housing is really difficult to find here. It's not necessarily that it's too expensive there is just not enough supply on the market.

We need to find ways of partnering with our first nation communities, our municipalities, and our private developers to get more housing on the market which will bring down the price. I believe that will ultimately bring down rental prices in these rural communities where people want to move to but they just need somewhere to live.


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More outdoor learning areas are coming to School District 58.

Last year, Collettville Elementary unveiled its beautiful wooden outdoor classroom, and now the local district is working towards the creation of two new structures.

“We are now in the engineering stage for outdoor classrooms at Central and Nicola Canford. They are scheduled to be tendered and constructed by the spring,” said Darrell Finnigan, SD58 Operations Manager.

While the outdoor classroom at Collettville was crafted out of logs, the new classrooms will be made of metal. (The classroom at Collettville was a school initiative, not a district plan)

“What we're working towards is a metal structure so it can’t be damaged or burnt,” added Finnigan.


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Winter Tires

As of today (October 1), all vehicles travelling on most mountain passes in the province are required to be equipped with winter tires or be carrying chains.

While vehicle drivers travelling routes like the Coquihalla without proper tires or chains can be fined $109 and turned back by Police, commercial drivers will face heavier fines.

B.C Trucking Association president Dave Earl says just one or two truckers ignoring chain-up orders can bring traffic to a standstill on some routes. Commercial drivers will face stiffer fines if they are not using chains in areas where they are mandatory.

The new fines include a $196 ticket for truckers not carrying chains as required, and a $598 fine for not installing chains during mandatory chain-ups.


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bc news

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, and Stephen Brown, deputy minister of health, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:

"Today, we are announcing 125 new cases, including one epi-linked case, for a total of 9,138 cases in British Columbia.

"There are 1,284 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, 3,202 people who are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and 7,591 people who tested positive have recovered.

"Currently, 72 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, 21 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

"Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 3,340 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 4,658 in the Fraser Health region, 208 in the Island Health region, 533 in the Interior Health region, 312 in the Northern Health region and 87 cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

"There have been no new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 234 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks. In total, 14 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and three acute-care facilities have active outbreaks.

"There have been no new community outbreaks, although there continue to be community exposure events around the province.


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