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Merritt Mounties are asking for additional witnesses to come forward as it continues its investigation into a rollover collision along the Highway 5A South near Merritt.

On July 1, 2020, shortly before 4 p.m., RCMP was called upon to assist BC Emergency Health Services who were responding to a report of a rollover collision involving a high-performance sports car along Highway 5 A near the summit of Larson Hill outside of Merritt.

Early findings suggest that the green 2015 McLaren 650S was northbound along the highway when the driver suddenly lost control, made contact with the rear of a commercial transport vehicle, spun out, and rolled multiple times into the centre median of the roadway.

Police have determined that the driver, and apparent sole occupant, climbed out of the wreckage under his own strength, and was immediately provided assistance by other passing motorists. One of those bystanders transported the driver from the scene to hospital for medical assessment and treatment.

RCMP would like to speak with anyone who witnessed the crash or may have stopped at the scene and had an interaction with the driver, states Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, spokesperson for the RCMP Southeast District. Efforts remain underway to identify the commercial vehicle involved in the crash, as investigators ask that driver to come forward with their information.

The driver, a Central Okanagan man in his 40’s, sustained what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries. Police were told that the driver experienced hydroplaning conditions prior to the crash.

Merritt RCMP maintains conduct over the ongoing collision investigation. If you witnessed this crash and have not yet spoken to police you are asked to call the Merritt RCMP at 250-378-4262.


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The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC)’s decision to deny leave to challenge the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision upholding the pipeline’s federal approval does not end Coldwater’s battle to protect its sole source of drinking water on the Coldwater Reserve.

“We are disappointed, but not surprised”, says Chief Lee Spahan. “We knew the chances of the SCC granting leave were slim, given the momentum of the project and the Federal Court’s finding that protection of our water can still take place in future routing decisions, but we felt we had to use every tool available to us.”

“For us water is life. We continue to do everything in our power to ensure our sole source of drinking water is protected from the Trans Mountain Expansion Project,” said Chief Spahan.

The approved pipeline route passes an aquifer that is the sole source of drinking water for about 320 people living on the main Coldwater Reserve, about 13 km southwest of Merritt, BC. Coldwater, fearing an oil spill could contaminate their drinking water, has been fighting for years to have the route changed.

Canada has a continuing obligation to consult Coldwater on the project route through the Coldwater Valley following a study of the community’s drinking water aquifer. If the route remains unchanged the Band can object to the route through a detailed route hearing before the Canada Energy Regulator (formerly the NEB) and Trans Mountain must prove in that hearing that its chosen route is safe.

However, since the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision in February 2020 Trans Mountain has reneged on a commitment to complete a study of the Band’s aquifer before setting the route through the Coldwater Valley. “This study is a Condition of Canada’s approval of the Project” says Chief Spahan, “and we are deeply troubled that Trans Mountain is now refusing to complete the study before seeking final approval of the route that puts our drinking water at risk”. 

In a report about Coldwater’s aquifer filed with the CER in May, Trans Mountain purports to assess risks to the Band’s water supply without collecting information about the aquifer that Canada says is “essential”. Coldwater has objected the report, saying the aquifer study needs to be completed before a detailed route hearing can occur.[1] Canada’s own expert confirmed that Trans Mountain’s report fails to meet “minimum requirements”.[2]

“We have been asked with Minister O’Regan to require Trans Mountain to complete the study of our aquifer but has refused to help us. We are very concerned that the Minister is failing to fulfill his obligations to us and ensure that our drinking water is protected for future generations”, says Chief Spahan. 

“If Canada continues to fail us, and if Trans Mountain refuses to move their Project out of the recharge zone of our aquifer, we may be forced to back to court in an effort to protect our drinking water. Despite today’s decision, there are further legal actions we can take if our water isn’t protected”. 

more to come


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Update -

The Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal from the first nation communities. 

As per procedure, the high court did not provide a reason for their ruling.

more to come


This morning the Supreme Court of Canada is expected to level their decision on the next possible appeal of the Trans Mountain Expansion project.

The Coldwater Indian band is one of the four First Nation communities seeking leave to appeal a February decision from the Federal Court of Appeal that sided with the government’s approval of the pipeline.

Following that decision, Coldwater Chief Lee Spahan spoke with Q101 about the process with Trans Mountain.

“It’s very difficult trying to move forward with Trans Mountain in Canada when they consider it consultation when the consultation process was flawed,” began Spahan. “Trying to get our voice heard and let Canada know that the consultation process still needs to continue.”

“We need all the information before any route is chosen for the pipeline, and that hasn’t happened. There isn’t enough information for the Coldwater Band membership to make that decision,” added Spahan.

The decision is expected early this morning. As is custom with the Supreme Court no reasons will be given alongside the ruling.

More to come.


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Merritt Flourish Under the Sun

A new mountain biking trail has moved a step closer to reality as this week Merritt City Council approved a motion to provide a letter of support to the Merritt Mountain Bike Association.

The association is looking to build a new trail in the north bench lands and while the land is within the City of Merritt, it’s Crown Land. For that reason, the association is currently in the process of applying to the Crown for use of the land.

“I’m in full support of this,” began Coun. Bike Bhangu. “The more avenues of activity that we can provide to Merrittonians the better.”

The new trail, if approved by the Crown, has been described as a beginner level trail, which will run an approximate 3km loop.


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Special weather statement in effect for:

  • Nicola

Heavy rain for the Central Interior, Cariboo-Chilcotin, Thompson and Columbia regions though Thursday evening.

Moist easterly flow associated with a deep Alberta low will stream moisture across the Rocky Mountains and into B.C. tonight and Thursday.

Computer guidance continues to suggest that 25 to 40 mm total rainfall will fall through Thursday night. Higher rainfall amounts are expected over the mountains, especially over the Williston, McGregor, and Cariboo regions where storm totals will reach 50 to 70 mm. In addition to the widespread synoptic rain, thunderstorms will have the potential of adding 15-25 mm locally over short periods.

Although the rainfall amounts may not be exceptionally heavy, the significance of this event is due to the potential for rising rivers levels. There is significant concern for high flows in the Quesnel River (Cariboo Mountains), the North Thompson (Blue River/Clearwater region), and South Thompson (Shuswap).

On Thursday the precipitation will become more showery in nature, but thunderstorms will cause significant local contribution to rainfall totals well into Thursday evening.

Rainfall warnings may be issued as the system further develops and confidence in rainfall amounts increases.

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