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London, Ontario is reporting the first known case of vaping-related lung disease in Canada.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit says a teenager who was a heavy vape user and used electronic cigarettes daily was recently diagnosed with a severe case of pulmonary illness.

The teen was initially on life support during his illness but is now recovering at home.

While this represents the first confirmed case in Canada, the issue south of the border has led to six deaths and over 300 cases of severe breathing illnesses.

School District 58 is looking at possibly combating the problem and Trustee Brian Jepsen proposed a hardline stance.

“I’m proposing that be put out that we are zero tolerance on vaping,” began Jepsen. “Send a letter home to the parents and say that we are zero tolerance on vaping and if we find your student with vaping paraphernalia, we will immediately confiscate and destroy them, period end of topic. Just go out hard and heavy and just say this is school district 58 and we’re going to take care of our students.”

The proposal was tossed around the room and after the discussion concluded a decision to return with more information was made.

Currently confiscating vaping supplies is done on a case by case basis.

The board also passed a motion to take their concerns to the Provincial Council.


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Accident Sept 18
Updated at 4:00 PM -

Q101 has spoken with Merritt RCMP Staff Sgt. Lorne Wood who has provided a brief update.

According to Wood, a cyclist was biking on the sidewalk when the driver of the truck attempted to pull out of his driveway, and the accident occurred.

It has also now been confirmed that the victim has been transported via air ambulance to Kamloops.

The traffic unit is still on scene at this time wrapping up their work.

Q101 expects further details to be released later tonight or tomorrow from Traffic Services.

More to come


Original Story -

Q101 has learned that one person has been struck by a truck on Nicola Avenue by the Fire Hall.

Merritt Fire, the RCMP and BC Ambulance all responded to the scene.

There are unconfirmed reports that the victim is being prepared to be airlifted to a trauma centre.

More to come


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Yesterday evening, City Council unanimously passed a motion to adopt changes to the Fire Safety Regulations Bylaw to allow for small backyard fires.

However, before anybody can start roasting marshmallows and hotdogs in their backyard, you’ll need a permit from the City.

The permits will be issued yearly and the forms can be found on the City of Merritt website or at City Hall.

Coun. Tony Luck who admitted to having his permit application already filled out, was thrilled that the motion was adopted.

“Things I’ve been hearing from the citizens, they’re really looking forward to this bylaw coming in and revising some of the things that were taken away from them,” said Luck. “People are really excited about being able to sit around a small fire in the backyard with their family.”

It was stressed that the permit application includes inspection from Merritt Fire and the permits may be pulled at any time for those not following the regulations.


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Road Work ahead

As road work across Merritt begins to wrap up, the City of Merritt is informing residents of a few changes to the traffic pattern along Voght Street.

The biggest change will come at the corner of Voght and Nicola.

“The corner continues to be very busy,” said CAO Scott Hildebrand. “We have decided to adjust the traffic lanes by removing three parking stalls in front of the post office and lengthening the approach to Nicola Avenue. This will allow traffic to have a better flow by queuing traffic more efficiently and creating a dedicated turning lane and a through lane.”

The line painting and new signs will be installed soon, possibly Thursday, weather permitting.

“We’ve requested left turn arrows (at Voght and Nicola) and are awaiting a further traffic study from the Province to see if they will agree to install the arrows at this location,” said Hildebrand.

The City is expecting to hear back about the turn arrows by the end of October.

Also, this week the first of three pedestrian crossing flashing-beacons will be installed by Central School on Voght Street. Two additional beacons will be installed near the post office and the hospital.


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Raw Logs

The province has announced financial help for forestry workers impacted by a recent rash of mill closures and shift reductions in the Interior.

It's putting 69-million dollars into a fund to support the workers in the months and years ahead. 

Following the announcement in Prince George, Forest Minister Doug Donaldson joined Q101 to discuss what comes next.

“The next steps as far as the Interior forest sector goes is, our intention has always been to put the focus on maximizing value rather than maximizing volume for every log that comes out of the publicly held forest lands,” began Donaldson. “Maximizing value means putting out and producing more value-added products.”

“What we do know now in the Interior is we have fewer logs available, so we have to get more value out of those logs,” added Donaldson.

Last month, Parliamentary Secretary Ravi Kahlon was in Merritt to discuss the Interior renewal process and mentioned a timeline of reporting back in mid-October.

“We’ve embarked on the interior renewal process,” said Donaldson. “Yes, we’re on time for the timeline, with October for the report out and action items in the new year.”

Throughout the recent forestry struggles, both Conservative MP Dan Albas and Liberal MLA Jackie Tegart have spoken to the need to get the Federal Government involved.

“The most recent letter (written to the Federal Government) outlined many of the initiatives that we announced today and asking for support. We haven’t seen that yet, we think there is a role there for the Federal Government to play,” said Donaldson. “I would encourage those locally to question their local candidates and ask them how they would support the provincial plan because we could definitely use that assistance and looking forward to Federal support.”

Donaldson concluded the interview speaking to the issue of fibre leaving the communities it’s cut in.

“We’re working on ensuring that milling capacity has the fibre supply to stay in existence first and foremost. We’re also very much in favour of seeing tenure in more diverse hands,” said Donaldson.

MLA Jackie Tegart mentioned how the opposition Liberals would examine the details of the announcement before making an official comment. However, she did say any announcement is a good announcement for the workers.


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