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There's good reason for bear concerns in Merritt this year.

Katelyn Leitch, the TNRD's Bear Aware Community Coordinator, presented City Council with a report last night, saying that 16 bears had to be destroyed in Merritt last September, which is the largest in the TNRD, excluding Kamloops.

Leitch told council there has to be more education in the community and she says there needs to be more garbage tagging to let people know they are leaving major bear attractants throughout the community.

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Smart meters were a topic when Gene Bryant of B-C Hydro addressed Merritt City Council last night.

Bryant says the issues about privacy and security relating to the smart meters are a non-starter because all Hydro plans on using them for is to determine kilowatts per hour used in your home.

Council listened to the presentation, but will wait until after the Union of BC Municipalities convention in late September before making a decision whether or not to support Hydro's Smart Meter program.

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The Native fishery up stream rivers in the Merritt area has been producing a decent catch, but there are some concerns.

Arnie Narcisse, former chair of the B-C Aboriginal Fisheries Commission, says higher than usual water levels have been causing concerns.

Narcisse adds that there have been efforts to rebuild the coho stocks for some time.

He says the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been exercizing risk averse management and is looking at possibly closing some fisheries down.

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It was expected that Merritt City Council would give final approval to the DeWolf Way 800-thousand dollar Enhancement Loan Authorization bylaw last night and they did, which moves the project another step closer.

Mayor Susan Roline says in addition to approving the DeWolf Way Project Council also approved a development permit for McDonald's to upgrade their building and landscaping.

McDonald's will also build a sidewalk on River Ranch Road to help the pedestrian traffic in the area and fill in the ditch in front of the restaurant facing Voght Street.

Roline says she's happy it was approved by Council last night and it's going to change the corner of River Ranch Road and Voght Street for the better.

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The Merritt Centennials will have someone with a lot of experience caring for their players this season after the hiring Kyla Knox as trainer and athletic therapist.

Knox spent the last two seasons with the Quesnel Millionaires and she also has experience with Powell River and in the K-I-J-H-L with the Summerland Sting.

She replaces Jason Kitzan, whose contract wasn't renewed after last season.

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