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Quick response from the Merritt Fire Rescue Department limiting damage from fire last night at a Merritt motel.

Chief David Tomkinson says crews were called to the Prince Motel around 8:30pm.

"It was called in by alert neighbours who saw both smoke and flames. When we arrived, it was determined there was a fire on the exterior of the building, some garbage that had some how been set a blaze."

The fire is being considered suspicious in nature.

Tomkinson says some of the vinyl siding on the hotel was damaged because of the fire, but all things considered it could have been a lot worse.

The City of Merritt setting its sights on bringing in a female physician.

Mayor Neil Menard confirms there is a female doctor that has expressed interest in coming to Merritt, and he is hopeful, although skeptical, she will be able to navigate through the red tape to make it happen.

"We now have another doctor that wants to come here right . A female doctor, who is fully qualified. What are they going to put here through? Our community needs a female doctor, as bad as we need anything else."

With Merritt's newest physician, Dr Lyttle, fully cleared to start practising this week, the City of Merritt now has six doctors, all of which are male.

"Every woman I talk to says a female doctor would be great. There's somebody out there with their leg in the aisle, and we have to chop it off. I don't know how we are going to do that, but we will keep working until it is done."

Menard says he is scheduled to speak with officials from Interior Health this morning about what will be needed for the prospective female physician to cut through the red tape as quickly as possible.

City of Merritt to look at funding options for phase two of the fire hall expansion.

During budget deliberations Saturday, instead of approving the $2.24 million, 10,000 sq ft expansion, Mayor and Council approved a motion for administration to bring back a couple funding options before making their final decision.

Director of finance Sheila Thiessen says the report will be completed for the May 7th budget deliberation meeting.

"I'll put it into a concise report format for them. Showing how it relates to existing surpluses, and our debt servicing."

Should a decision be made to borrow the funds, Thiessen says the City of Merritt would be paying roughly $140,000 a year, over a twenty year period, using current rates.

City of Merritt deciding against compensating the United Way for improvements made to the Fireside Centre.

Mayor and Council have voted unanimously against providing the United Way with the $20,000 they requested back in the fall for renovations made to the city owned building at Sprit Square when they facilitated programming out of it.

Mayor Neil Menard says it was clear in the leasing agreement, any improvements made to the building were the responsibility of the United Way.

"When we put out requests for proposals, normally as part of the contract it states if they want to make any changes to the building, it's their responsibility."

In the three years the United Way facilitated programming out of the Fireside Centre, Thompson-Nicola-Caribou executive director Donalee Baker told Mayor and Council at the Sept 13th regular meeting that they invested roughly $80,000 in both operations and renovations, in addition to around $10,000 in in-kind donations.

The building is now home to the Merritt's Community Policing Office.

City of Merritt approving another $22,400 in grant-in-aid requests.

Requests from the Merritt and District Chamber of Commerce, the Merritt Mountain Biking Club, Merritt Rodeo Association and Nicola Valley Skating Club were all approved by Mayor and Council at Saturday's budget deliberation meeting.

All four organizations were asked to make presentations, after not showing up at the original grant-in-aid meeting back on Jan 26th, which director of finance Sheila Thiessen says may become mandatory in future years.

"It would be fair because council needs to look at the big picture. We get a lot of extraordinary grants throughout the year, which take a lot of staff's time. Having all the requests, and the organizations making them in attendance, would certainly give council a better picture overall."

The City of Merritt has now approved over $62,000 in financial aid and in kind donations in 2017.

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