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city merritt council

Yesterday at the end of the Regular Council Meeting, Council and Mayor Linda Brown brought forth a four-pack of notices of motion.

Councillors can bring forward a notice of motion at the end of any meeting. The motion is then brought back on a future agenda for a full discussion and debate between councillors.

Councillor Kurt Christopherson brought forth the first.

“I would like to make a motion that we send a letter of support to MP Dan Albas expressing support for bill C-447,” said Christopherson.

If passed, Bill C-447, Act to Amend the Criminal Code (aggravating circumstance – evacuation order or emergency), would allow judges to take into account natural disasters, emergencies and evacuation orders when sentencing criminals by adding them to the list of aggravating factors.

Mayor Brown brought forward two notices. First was for staff to bring back a report, reviewing the options for bringing in a traffic light at Grimmett and possibly also a sidewalk.

The Mayor is also looking to repeal policy 104 on committees. The policy speaks to committees expiring during election years.

Finally, Councillor Mike Bhangu brought attention to a growing list of municipalities providing letters of support to restore provincial support to libraries, wishing Merritt to follow suit.

All the motions will be discussed in full at a later council meeting.


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nicola valley fish and game

Back in December, Justice Joel Groves ruled in favour of granting public access to Minnie and Stoney Lakes.

The ruling meant the Douglas Lake Cattle Company had to take down gates blocking access to both lakes.

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club was suing the Douglas Lake Cattle Company, alleging the company blocked off public access to Minnie and Stoney lake.

The Douglas Lake Cattle Company were claiming the lakes to be theirs, arguing they were man-made over many years.

Earlier this week, Groves ruled that the Fish and Game Club’s legal expenses will be split between the Cattle Company and the BC Government. The Justice stated that lack of action by the province in protecting the area led to the litigation.

But, as Rick McGowan tells Q101, the legal battles are no where near over.

“I was a little bit concerned that Douglas Lake had hired a surveyor to stake a 3-foot trail up over a hillside and away down the side of the lake. That their intent was going to be that that was going to be the only public access to Minnie Lake,” said McGowan. “Now that I have got the final copy of the document from Angela Davies, the Government Lawyer, that is the case. Douglas Lake and the Government are assuming that that is the access by court order to Minnie Lake, which is a 3-foot trail that nobody would ever use or take a boat or drive on, or anything, which is unacceptable to us. So, we are going to be filing a cross appeal.”

“The total cost of this lawsuit from all parties is upwards of $1.5 million. We’re not accepting that the whole process has taken place and you don’t have public access where a person could take his family and a boat and put it in the lake and go fishing,” said McGowan. “It’s been our intention to save these lakes for the people of British Columbia for ever. It looks like the Government and Douglas Lake are still wiggling around trying to make it so hard for a person to fish there that nobody would actually go there.”

The Fish and Game Club are planning to head out to Stoney Lake on Friday to put some boats in the water.

“We’re going up on Friday. We’re going to put some boats in the water one way or another. I’m not sure if we’re going to get opposition or not, but we’re definitely going to be putting boats in the water and going fishing,” said McGowan.

The club expects to be at the lake around 10am.


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TMEP Pipe2

When the Trans Mountain expansion was approved last month, it was done so with a lot of question marks still surrounding the project.

Locally, the Coldwater Band has yet to approve the project, citing concerns to their water source.

“The approval of the pipeline goes through our water aquifer that’s south of the reserve. We have huge concerns and issues with that. It’s not if it’s when the leak will happen that will contaminate our water source, our only drinking water source,” said Chief Lee Spahan.

“We’re stilling waiting to here back from the Federal Government in regards to the first pipeline and the continuing trust pass of that pipeline on our reserve. There has been no movement on that ever since the approval,” said Chief Spahan.

With more questions than answers the Band is awaiting further information before approaching their members.

“We are waiting to hear back from the Federal Government, and we will get the direction from the membership as to what our next steps are in moving forward with Trans Mountain. To see if there’s going to be meaningful dialogue with Trans Mountain to move forward,” said Chief Spahan.

“That direction will be given by the membership. The membership can’t make an informed decision without all the information and until we talk with the Federal Government and get our water aquifer study complete. Then go back to the membership with all the information that they need to make an informed decision on what are the next steps to move forward with,” concluded Chief Spahan.

The options for the Band are vast, ranging from approval to filling litigation, but at this point the waiting game continues.


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rcmp 1

The Merritt RCMP has confirmed that they were called to a back alley between Granite and Quilchena yesterday afternoon where a deceased male subject had been found.

Along with the RCMP the BC Coroners Service also responded to the call where they found a 54-year old Merritt Resident. The man was ‘well known to the police.’

The death is believed to be related to the use of illicit substances and the RCMP does not find the death suspicious in nature.


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Led by Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart the BC Liberal Caucus will be touring the riding. Spread throughout the week the tour will include stops in Lillooet, Cache Creek, Ashcroft and Merritt.

MLA Tegart will be joined on the tour by various MLAs and Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson.

MLA Tegart explained why the Caucus decided to tour the region.

“When we look at what is happening to the natural resource industry such as forestry, there is a grave concern about job loss and what it’s going to mean not only to people working in the industry but to small business and communities as a whole,” said Tegart. “So, our Caucus is very committed to going to communities to talk to them about some of the challenges, what they’re seeing, what they’re hearing and where we can be of assistance. We are committed to go out into community and listen to people and bring that message to government.”

“Over the forest file, we have not seen John Horgan or Doug Donaldson in the ridings where people are hardest hit from the closures of mills and the shutdown of the forests,” said Tegart. “We are committed to do that and I’m very pleased that I have a number of fellow MLAs who are willing to come to the riding, listen to people and talk some solutions.”

While forestry has been stealing a lot of the headlines in the Province, the tour is an opportunity to discuss any issue.

“We’re hearing about agriculture. The rules that have changed in agriculture have affected a great many people. We’re also hearing from small business. Don’t forget when there are huge job losses it affects the whole community,” said Tegart. “We’re willing to listen, to ask questions and to take that voice to Victoria.”

For Merrittonians the best chance to meet with the MLAs and Leader Wilkinson will be on Thursday.

“We are having a no-host luncheon, it’s an opportunity to meet and greet with the Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson. I’ll be there, there will be a number of other MLAs there. It’s your opportunity to express what’s happening in your community and some of the opportunities you see coming forward and we can assist in advocating for. Or maybe some of the challenges that you’re seeing and concerns that you have about where government is going” said Tegart.

The luncheon is scheduled for 12-1pm on Thursday July 11th at Brambles.


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