In 2019, Merritt City Council voted in favour of giving themselves and future councils a raise in pay.
The raise increased the Mayor’s salary to $36,582 and Councillors to $17,394. Previously, Mayor Linda Brown is making $25,984 and Council $15,590.
During the debate on the remuneration bylaw, Coun. Mike Bhangu attempted multiple times, unsuccessfully, to amend the bylaw to have the raise take effect after the next municipal election.
Following the decision to increase wages, Bhangu pledged to give his raise back to the community every year.
For 2020, Bhangu has chosen to support a local non-profit.
“The other day I was walking out of the gym and I looked over at the Church, where they have a soup kitchen, and there was a massive lineup. It broke my heart. I’m going to give my raise to the soup kitchen,” said Bhangu.
Bhangu is also challenging others in the community, with the means, to step up and join him in supporting the soup kitchen.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt
School District 58 Nicola-Similkameen is again informing parents of a positive case of COVID-19 among the community at Merritt Secondary School.
This is the fourth letter to be sent home to parents since the resumption of school after the winter break.
Accompany the letter from the district was a letter from the Interior Health Authority and Medical Health Officer Rob Parker.
“As many of you are aware, there are COVID-19 cases linked to your school community. We understand that this has triggered anxiety among students and parents, particularly given the potential exposures have affected students and staff. We can confirm that an extremely small number of the local school community has contracted COVID-19. As a consequence of the potential COVID-19 exposures, a number of students and staff have been asked to self-isolate,” wrote Parker.
“These exposures are not unexpected and are a reflection of what we are seeing in the community,” added Parker.
Speaking to Q101 News earlier this week, SD58 Superintendent Steve McNiven reiterated the safety measures being taken at the school to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“With these exposures certainly comes some extra cleaning on our part. Really want parents to know that deep cleaning is taking place on a regular basis. We have our fog-sprayers in the school on a daily basis at MSS. The same twice a day cleaning across our district,” said McNiven.
“Many of the protocols that we’re reinforcing are really the most basic ones, that includes hand washing, mask-wearing where appropriate, daily health checks, distancing. We also have some structures in place to help with our transitions, so we have multiple lunch breaks for example at Merritt Secondary,” added McNiven.
There have been calls from the Merritt community to have the school closed during the outbreak. It should be noted that closing the school is a decision made at the Ministry of Education level in partnership with Interior Health and not at the discretion of SD58.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt
The Province of British Columbia has formally extended the provincial state of emergency, allowing health and emergency management officials to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act (EPA) to support the Province's COVID-19 pandemic response.
The state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on Feb. 2, 2021, to allow staff to take the necessary actions to keep British Columbians safe and manage immediate concerns and COVID-19 outbreaks.
"I know this has felt like the longest winter ever, but we're starting to see light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, so don't give up now," said Premier John Horgan. "The hard work of British Columbians in flattening the curve continues to pay off, vaccines are on the way, and we're working on a strong recovery. There is too much at stake to let our guard down now."
The extension of the provincial state of emergency is based on recommendations from B.C.'s health and emergency management officials. The original declaration was made on March 18, 2020, the day after Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer (PHO), declared a public health emergency.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:
"Today, we are reporting 465 new cases, including 13 epi-linked cases, for a total of 61,912 cases in British Columbia.
"There are 4,331 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 329 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 70 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
"Currently, 6,864 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and a further 55,099 people who tested positive have recovered.
"Since we last reported, we have had 83 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 262 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 21 in the Island Health region, 61 in the Interior Health region, 32 in the Northern Health region and six new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
"To date, 92,369 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C.
"There have been 12 new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,090 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fraser-Nicola Liberal MLA Jackie Tegart is calling for clarification from the NDP Government on their commitment to upgrade ventilation systems in BC schools in response to COVID-19.
“Last September, the province received $242.4 million in federal funding to expand health and safety measures in K-12 schools but so far, we don’t have any idea about how that money has been spent,” said Tegart. “With B.C. now deep in the second wave of the pandemic and more in-school exposures and transmissions by the day, the issue of improved ventilation in B.C. schools has never been more important. We now have a better understanding of how the virus is spread and the importance of ventilating indoor air — and students, educators, and parents deserve to know what upgrades are being made to improve the safety of our schools.”
In a letter to NDP Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside, Tegart has called on the NDP government to publicly disclose further details on the planned ventilation upgrades, including how the $242.4 million federal government grant was allocated, a breakdown of planned and completed ventilation system upgrades in B.C. schools, and greater clarification on which administrative bodies will be responsible for the allocation of these resources and upgrades.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt