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On Thursday, September 5, the Parkcrest Elementary School in Kamloops was lost to fire. Thankfully nobody was hurt in the blaze which has now been ruled not suspicious.

It has been determined that a working sprinkler system would not have saved the building, however that hasn’t stopped BC Education Minister Rob Fleming from suggesting the possibility of mandating sprinklers in all BC schools.

Locally, SD-58 Superintendent Steve McNiven spoke to the sprinkler situation in schools across the district.

“We have sprinkler systems in all of our schools across the district,” said McNiven. “The only buildings that don't have sprinklers at this point are the board offices in both Merritt and Princeton, and the bus shop in Princeton.”

“The safety of our students in number one. I don’t have the history of when they were completed, but it’s good news that they are all in place,” added McNiven.

McNiven did mention that the district offered help to Kamloops in the wake of the fire, but it now appears the district will be able to relocate all their students within their own district. 


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Elections BC

After weeks of speculation Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to officially call the 43rd Federal election early this morning.

Trudeau will meet with Governor General Julie Payette this morning and ask her to officially dissolve the 42nd Parliament.

While the campaign is set to begin today, candidates across the country have been on the campaign trail for months, and the local riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola has been no exception.

Voters in the riding will have a full slate of candidates vying for their vote come October.

The Liberal’s have Mary Ann Murphy, the NDP acclaimed Joan Phillips, the Greens’ will see Robert Mellalieu again run for office, and the People’s Party has Allan Duncan. Those four challengers will all be working towards unseating incumbent Conservative MP Dan Albas.

All the candidates have spoken to visiting the Merritt area soon to meet with Merrittonians and do some door knocking, however, currently there isn’t an official all-candidates forum scheduled for the area.

A recent Leger poll has the Conservatives and Liberals in a near dead-heat nationally as the writ is dropped. The Liberals are polling at 34 per cent to the Tories 35 per cent.

The Greens and NDP are tied with 11 per cent and the People’s Party of Canada has 3 per cent.

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downtown merritt

When the city council sat down in July to draft their strategic plan for their term, downtown revitalization was given top billing. The item was listed in the Council’s top six priorities, with movement schedules to begin in September of 2019.

Ten days into September City Staff and the Council will be reviewing the current plans during a committee of the whole this evening at 6 PM.

The current ‘City Centre Improvement Plan’ was originally drafted in 2005 and updated in 2008.

Will George, Manager of Economic Development, Communications, and Tourism, spoke with Q101 about the goals for this evening.

“The first step is that Council will be hearing from staff about the current (plan) that we have, and other strategic plans as they relate to downtown revitalization,” said George.

The 2008 plan included priorities like building a downtown plaza, the Voght Street Corridor, as well as gateways along Nicola Avenue.

The entire document can be found on the City of Merritt’s website.


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The Federal Election is a mere 41 days away, even if it hasn’t been officially called. The writ, by law, must be dropped by no later than September 15. That, however, hasn’t stopped all the candidates in Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola from hitting the campaign trail.

Tasked with unseating Conservative Incumbent Dan Albas for the Liberals is Mary Ann Murphy.

Murphy was recently in Merritt and spoke with Q101 about some of the concerns she’s hearing from Merrittonians.

“We met with the Chamber and we’ve been door-knocking,” began Murphy. “We were talking with small businesses about some of their concerns and not surprisingly a lot of them venture on things to do with the lumber industry. But, also the need to engage in economic diversification for the city.”

Murphy also spoke to the recent municipal strategic planning sessions and how most of the key items have been receiving funding in other centres.

“The flood mitigation plan, or the airport master plan review, the downtown revitalization, these are things that we really feel that you could benefit from federal support and investment on,” added Murphy.

Last week, a report was published saying that the younger generation for the first time will hold the balance of power in the election. Murphy was asked how she’s been working to involve and attract millennials to her campaign.

“A lot of my career lately has been working to connect millennials with older adults,” said Murphy. “I know that younger people have a lot more on their minds politically than most older adults give them credit for. They have a lot to discuss, they’re very interested in social change and making contributions to a better country.”

The election is set for October 21. Voters in this riding will have a full slate of candidates vying for their vote, with the NDP, Greens, People’s Party and Liberals running challengers to Incumbent Albas.


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BC Senior Games

The opening ceremonies of the Kelowna 2019 55-plus BC Games are only hours away as people from all over the Province are set to descend upon Kelowna for five days of competition.

Yesterday some of the Merritt competitors headed to Kelowna meet with Acting Mayor Melvina White as a send-off to the games.

“So, I’ve learned that we have a fair amount of active seniors in our community. I understand that we’ve won some silver and gold and on behalf of Mayor Brown and City Council, we would like to root you on to bring home the gold,” said White.

While the entire team wasn’t able to be present a small but mighty group gathered. Some of the Merrittonians heading east are, James Loewen in 8-ball, Dan and Jean Arnason in crib, Nelle Holubach and Mae Webster for whist, and Darch Oborne in cross country biking.

“This is my first year (at the games),” began Oborne. “I was the only participant in 75-79 (years old), so they’ve dropped me down to 70-74 to race against the young fellas. So, I’ll hopefully bring home a medal for Merritt.”

“It’s really not my style of biking, cross country, I ride free-ride mostly. I’ve been riding for about 20 years and I really enjoy it,” added Oborne.

Merritt is also sending two foursomes in floor-curling. Team one consists of Dot Coburn, Joanne and Bernard Larocque, and Verna Rose. Team two is Bob Leech, Shirley Vezina, Cyrl George, and Roland Danel.

Good luck to all the competitors headed to Kelowna this week.


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