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The City of Merritt is moving forward on six projects thanks to funding from the Rural Dividend Grant. In total the city received $100,000 split amongst the six projects. On the list of new initiatives is the community grant writer position and the festival attraction project.

Also making the cut is some new signage and trail markers for in and around the city. Merritt Economic Development and Tourism Manager Will George spoke to Q101 about this initiative.

“We tried to do it last year but the quote that we received was a little bit to high. So, we applied for a grant for this,” said George. “This will be for when you come into the community. Lots of communities have welcome banners, really to assist with the feeling that you’re now entering the community, the community is open and ready to welcome you.”

“It showcases the growth of trails in the community. So, having this funding will allow us to not only mark the trails that will be built but to mark those effectively with signs and nice trail heads for residents as well as tourists,” said George.

The grant funded project also follows along with some of the capital projects that Merritt City Council approved last week with regard to downtown revitalization.

“It fits quite nicely with the project that was approved at Council, of the new paint and stain and lights up on Voght street,” said George. “These will go hand and hand, and this will be part of the ongoing signage upgrades and updates we do.”


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Murray Cleanup

An official farewell was held on Sunday April 28th for the 143-year-old church that was the oldest building in the Nicola Valley.

The Merritt area historic church burned to the ground in January in an alleged case of arson.

This week the cleanup of the site started. The cleanup is step one on the long road towards a new church being built.

Back in April, Q101 spoke with the Christina Miller about how the fundraising effort was going.

“It has been a little slow going, we’re trying to get the community to rally around it,” said Miller.

There are three ways to donate to the cause.

  • Through their Go Fund Me page
  • At any CIBC branch
  • Directly to Trinity United Church

Also happening today (May 6th), the suspect from the alleged arson is due in court in Kamloops. Q101 will continue to follow the court proceedings and bring you updates as they become available.


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city hall

Festival season in the Nicola Valley is right around the corner and thanks to some Provincial grant funding the City of Merritt will be looking to attract more festivals to the area.

The funding comes through the Rural Dividend Grant. In total the City is receiving $100,000 spread over six different projects.

On Friday afternoon, a story was posted about a new community grant writer, that position is also being funded by this grant.

Q101 spoke with Merritt’s Manager of Economic Development and Tourism Will George about the new project.

“Looking at the number of events and festivals we have in the community and presenting information out,” began George. “Looking at targeting particular event organizations to increase the number of events and festivals that happen in our community.”

Despite being a smaller community George commented on the variety of venues in the city.

“We have lots of venues in Merritt and the Nicola Valley, ranging in size from the venue at the Culture Club all the way to the Merritt music festival site as well as city facilities,” said George.

“This is overall for event and festival attraction in the community. The increased number of events we have, more people are staying overnight, our hotels are full, restaurants get full. It positively effects multiple businesses in our community,” said George.


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(Joan Phillip)

The 2019 Federal Election is scheduled for Monday October 21st.

Merritt falls into the Central-Okaganan-Similkameen-Nicola electoral district. The 2015 election was the first for the newly formed district and the election was won by Conservative Dan Albas.

Albas has already been acclaimed as the conservative nominee and will be looking for re-election in October. 

Now the NDP have officially named Joan Phillip as their candidate.

Phillip has been with the NDP since 1972 and has run for office before at both the Federal and Provincial levels.

Q101 spoke with Phillip after her acclamation on Saturday.

"I’ve had a lot of political experience, I’ve been committed to people and the environment since I was 16-years-old,” said Phillip. “I think we need a strong voice in Ottawa right now, I think we really need someone who’s not afraid to stand up and speak up.”

She also commented on some of her key priorities that she hopes will help her stand out to potential voters.

"Narrowing the gap between the wealthy and the working people in this country. That's what separates the New Democrats from both the Liberals and the Conservatives,” said Phillip.

Phillip is hoping to bring some diversity to the house of commons in Ottawa.

"I think that part of the problem at we have in Ottawa is that there’s no balance. You need balance between men and women, and you need balance between people of colour and our neighbours,” said Phillip. “You need to be creative and by hearing that other voice then it allows us to be a lot more creative. It gives other people permission to speak up when we speak up.”

Phillip and Albas are the only acclaimed candidates at this time as the Greens and Liberal have not officially named theirs.


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(Bruce and Diana Grimshire)

Written by Sidney Parker

Bees are a building block for life. Without their pollination we wouldn’t have as many plants or the oxygen we get from them. Diana and Bruce Grimshire are apiarists in Lower Nicola. Their apiary is located on a ranch just off of Highway 8 towards Spences Bridge.

The Grimshire family have been farming the European Honey Bee for just over ten years, they have 48 hives. During the peak summer season, each hive has up to 60,000 bees. That’s right, 2.88 million bees.

“We always meant to just have 2-3.” Diana said as Bruce laughed at the number. I asked Diana what changed,

“It’s [Bee keeping] something we always thought of doing, but we just didn’t have enough time with kids you know in many sports and things like that. Then we moved to this house on this acreage and it had an orchard and we thought what a perfect opportunity! Kids had all left home and we could have a couple of hives. And it seems like once you get two hives then it just builds up and builds up and it’s quite an addictive little hobby.”

Bruce added that the addictive part of beekeeping is they get to observe the bees and take a unique look into their own little world, that they’re so interesting. He also said that bees are considered a ‘super organism’.

“You don’t think of it as one bee you think of it as a hive.”

When asked what it’s like to coexist with the bees, Diana says,

“We dont ever get stung.”

Despite a worldwide falling bee population, Canada is up over 100,000 hives in the last 5 years.

Nicola Valley did really well this year with their bee population, compared to significant losses in other areas of the province. The Grimshire Apiary only lost one hive this past winter. The key to surviving the winter is making sure the hives are strong enough to keep wasps out, combining hives with weak or old queens, and being on time when treating for mites.

“Being a couple weeks off of the appropriate time to treat varroa mites going into winter so your bees are stressed going into winter so you lose lots of hives. It’s a simple thing like that.” Diana explained.

It is also area specific. In more urban areas of B.C. wasps can wipe out up to 70% of hives on their own; excluding hives that fall victim to winter conditions and parasites. “The biggest challenge is the varroa mite” Diana said and Bruce continued with, “Their actual name is the varroa destructor. If you had one proportional to you, it would be about the size of a volleyball on your back. The varroa is a vector for numerous diseases”

There is also human damage from things like sprays and treatments. Diana explained that the Nicola Valley is lucky to be rural enough to avoid these extra threats.

“In our area we can’t attribute sprays or anything like that to significant losses.”

Despite preparedness, the industry is full of curveballs.

“Each year can be different doesn’t really matter what you do, you could do the same thing as last year and still lose.” Diana said.

“We had a good year this year, next year we could do everything the same as we did last fall and it doesn’t make sense that we would lose more hives.”

Once the harsh season is over, it’s time to get to work. Bruce said that,

“Dandelions are the first flower of spring, if your hives make it to dandelions then you made it.”

The Grimshire’s start harvesting weekly from July.

Honey isn’t the only thing that comes from being a beekeeper. There are beekeeping societies all over British Columbia. A group from the Golden Country area gets together for a potluck in the spring and fall. Diana said it’s good for newcomers because there are lots of experienced apiarists doing demonstrations and answering questions. There is also a whole information day,

“Usually what’s the newest way to treat varroa” Bruce added.

Becoming a beekeeper is easy, but there are still important steps that need to be taken. Diana and Bruce both stressed the importance of taking a beekeeping course, which is offered by the provincial government. (Don’t worry it’s only 1-2 days!) Most apiaries won’t sell you a nuke* until you have taken the course.

Grimshire Apiary sells their honey at the Merritt Farmers Market, craft sales, or directly from the farm.

For more information on the industry or becoming a beekeeper, visit the B.C. apiculture website:

*nuke: at ‘starter’ hive; 4 frames with a queen


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