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Merritt Flourish Under the Sun

This evening, City Council will be hosting a budget open house. The event will be held in the Council Chambers at City Hall from 6 – 8 pm.

City Councillors, along with City Staff will be on hand to answer any questions regarding the 2020 budget. Some of the proposed projects will also be showcased.

The overall 2020 budget process for the City is beginning to wrap up, as following tonight’s open house, March 3 marks the scheduled budget finalization meeting.

Some of the remaining tasks include discussions on what capital projects will be undertaken, and what the municipal tax rate will be set at.

 

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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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BC Legislature

The next provincial election is not scheduled until October 16, 2021, but that isn’t stopping the BC Liberals from starting to prepare.

Earlier this month the Liberals acclaimed their first candidate for the upcoming election.

Local MLA Jackie Tegart joined Q101 to discuss her party’s early jump on the next election cycle.

“We are 18 months out, so it’s critical that we are prepared and ready. Also, the leader of the Greens has stepped down, and he has also stepped away from the Green Party and become an independent in the legislature,” said Tegart.

“There are all kinds of moving parts, we want to make sure we are ready to go, and we want our candidates nominated early and out on the doors early. Making sure that should an election be called at any time we are ready to go,” added Tegart.

The BC NDP is expected to deliver their budget for the upcoming year today at the legislature, however ongoing protests could delay the proceedings.

 

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Raw Logs

Update –

Ellen Walker, TOTA’s Vice-President Destination & Industry Development joined Q101 to discuss the funding.

“We are meeting later in March with FLINRO (Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations), which is who the money is coming from. It’s going to be filtered through tourism, but the rules and regulations are coming out of FLINRO,” said Walker. 

“At this point, our understanding is the priority location is rural communities with a mill that has closed,” added Walker. 

Whether or not Merritt directly receives funding from TOTA, Walker spoke to the program having an impact.

“As we look towards whatever that project ends up being, we’re trying to find some sort of legacy project that could be easily replicated in other communities,” said Walker. 

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Original Story

Last week, the Provincial Government announced $1 million in funding split between five regional tourism associations. 

Locally the funding will be distributed by the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA). 

The possible concern around the funding arises from a line in the provincial release;

Each RDMO will receive $200,000 in catalyst funding to support strategic planning and destination development in rural communities impacted by mill closures.

The ‘Mill Closures’ statement is then again repeated in a release from TOTA;

Priorities are for Destination Development Initiative(s) specifically targeting rural communities with populations of less than 25,000 who have been affected by permanent Mill Closures.

Will George, Director of Communications for the City of Merritt, joined Q101 to discuss the situation, and if the City will be able to apply for a portion of the funding.

“We haven’t heard one way or the other, but at the end of the day we’re going to fight as hard as we can to make sure additional dollars come into Merritt and the Nicola Valley,” said George.

“I did reach out to TOTA as soon as I heard the news, and we have a call scheduled with them within the next couple of weeks,” added George.

It should be noted that the last time the Provincial Government allocated funding for communities impacted by mill closures, Merritt did not qualify.  

 

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uppernicola 

The Upper Nicola Band has announced the preliminary list of candidates for Chief and Council.

The nominated candidates have until later this month to confirm their intentions to run for office and meet the necessary requirements.

The community will be electing a Chief and nine Councillors to represent them.

Three members are considering a run for Chief, they include incumbent Chief Harvey McLeod, Daniel Manuel, and Mahendra Paul.

The nine seats on Council will be contested by 21 potential candidates.

The Band will head to the polls on March 21, 2020.

For further information on the Upper Nicola Election - onefeather.ca/nations/uppernicola

 

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breaking graphic deamstime 1

The Province has just announced the first presumptive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) within the Interior Health Region.

The exact location of the case has not been made public.

The patient has been identified as a woman in her 30s, she has self-isolated at home.

The woman recently returned from China.

More to come.

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