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Elephant Hill

The RCMP have officially wrapped up their investigation into the 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire and passed the file off to the BC Prosecution service.

The blaze that sparked in July of 2017 burned more than 200 structures and charred over 192,000 hectares. In January of 2018, it was determined that the fire was human-caused.

The fire which was the biggest in the Province back in 2017, resulted in the evacuation of various communities including the entire population of Cache Creek.

RCMP Sgt. Janelle Shoihet says the probe into the Elephant Hill blaze in 2017 was complex and lengthy.

She says the prosecution service will decide about which, if any, charges may be appropriate.

Further details outlining the cause and origin of the fire will not be released until the Prosecution Service has completed their work.

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Dan Albas HOC

As the campaign trail begins to heat up across Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, candidates are starting to visit Merritt more often.

Over the weekend Incumbent Conservative Dan Albas was in town taking in the Loggers Sports Show as well as speaking with local stakeholders and his volunteers.

“Andrew Scheer’s been talking about affordability, the cost of living, a lot of seniors have been complaining the ICBC rates are going up, gas prices are still tough. People are finding less and less to live on. We want to make sure families can put food on the table, put money away for their kids’ education and feel like they’re getting ahead,” said Albas.

Albas also discussed a recently announced campaign promise from the Conservatives relating to a public transit tax credit.

“This is something that the Trudeau Liberals cancelled in their first budget,” said Albas. “It basically meant was people that were taking the bus were denied being able to write that off on their taxes. It’s part of our effort to make life more affordable.”

“The money you receive during maternity leave should be tax-free, that’s a way to support families,” added Albas.

He also mentioned the Conservatives plan to remove the GST on home heating costs.

Albas also recently had an opportunity to speak with the City of Merritt.

“I’ve always had a great relationship with the Mayor and Council. Mayor Linda Brown has been doing a great job making herself available,” said Albas. “I was speaking with a few councillors at the logger show today and there are some concerns in the community about opioids. I’ve been very critical of the government in terms of addressing the opioid issue.”

Albas continued to discuss flood mitigation measures and the need for the Trans Mountain expansion.

“The community has signed a community benefits agreement for Trans Mountain,” said Albas. “But for the agreement to realize itself that pipe needs to be built.”

“I’m proud to be part of a party that understands the importance to our rural communities, about infrastructure development and seeing support for forestry and ranching,” concluded Albas.

Canadians head to the polls on October 21.


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Terry Fox 2

(photo- participants including some Merritt Centennials at the run)

While the forecast looked ominous, Merrittonians still came out in force to the Terry Fox run on Sunday, and mother nature rewarded them by holding off the rain.

With the run underway, Q101 was able to catch up with John Graham, one of the organizers.

“It looked a little bit wet this morning, but it stopped raining. We think we had close to 90 participants this morning, which is great,” said John.

The event was put on through the Merritt Rotary Club.

“When we had two clubs in town the morning club started supporting it and when we amalgamated, we just kept on doing it and it seems like a great thing to do,” added John.

The event helped raise funds for the Terry Fox Foundation and cancer research.

Exact figures in terms of money raised for the cause have not yet been tabulated and should be released later this week.


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Logger Show

The Logger Sports Show put on three full days of fun at Central Park over the weekend. The festivities which included chainsaw carvers, the laughing loggers and a fun zone, was a stark reminder of the importance of the forestry sector not only in Merritt but across the Province.

Conservative Incumbent Dan Albas came down to Merritt for the event and spoke about how the local industry continues to step up to the plate.

“It was so great to see so many family businesses, $60,000 worth of sponsorships during a very tough time in the forestry sector because they believe in this industry. They want to make sure that the children of the Nicola Valley can see and touch and understand how important forestry is to this area,” said Albas.

“What I’m hearing today from people at the loggers' show is that there is a future if we fight together for it,” said Albas. “We believe in responsible resource development, and that there is a bright future if we seize it.”

Albas was in Merritt over the weekend meeting with some local stakeholders as well as his volunteer team to do some door knocking.


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Nicola River

Thankfully the City of Merritt wasn’t battered by flooding this year. But the memories of years past remain and flood mitigation has continued to be a focus of City staff and the Council.

Earlier this year, a flood mitigation plan was drafted to address several key strategic points along the river. The plan was accompanied by a $150,000 price tag. The dollars were originally expected to come through a grant application. However, according to Director of Corporate Services Sean Smith, that didn’t occur.

“We anticipated that it would happen through grants, but we were unsuccessful in that grant application,” said Smith.

“So, we’re requesting that Council direct staff to allocate that $150,000 from the gas tax,” added Smith.

The City of Merritt did receive a one-time top-up to its gas tax funds this year from the Federal Government.

City Council will vote on changing the funding source on Tuesday evening during the regular council meeting.


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