Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, and Stephen Brown, deputy minister of health, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:
"Today, we are announcing 158 new cases, including five epi-linked cases, for a total of 10,892 cases in British Columbia.
"There are 1,496 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, 3,608 people who are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and 9,112 people who tested positive have recovered.
"Currently, 84 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, 24 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
"Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 3,941 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 5,697 in the Fraser Health region, 237 in the Island Health region, 585 in the Interior Health region, 343 in the Northern Health region and 89 cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
"There have been no new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 250 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the closest vote of the evening, Merritt City Council voted 4-3 in favour of starting a long process to remove the self-imposed cap on retail cannabis stores in Merritt.
In favour of removing the cap was Mayor Linda Brown and Councillors Tony Luck, Kurt Christopherson, and Travis Fehr. Councillors Melvina White, Adam Etchart, and Mike Bhangu opposed the change.
When recreational cannabis was made legal in Canada the City of Merritt brought forward several new bylaws one of which included a cap of four retail locations in the City.
At that time Mayor Brown was opposed to the limit and was pleased to see the motion pass yesterday evening.
“I was against putting the cap in and I still am. I don’t see why we need to cap marijuana; we haven’t capped any other industry in town, we’ve only capped this one. It makes absolutely no sense to me, and I’m not in favour of maintaining that cap,” said Brown.
Coun. White did not agree with the statement that no type of business should be capped in the City.
“My position is that we control how many liquor stores can be open and as far as I'm concerned marijuana is in the same category and I’m against removing the cap,” said White.
The motion passed will begin a long process to amend the bylaw which will include a public hearing following the second reading of the bylaw.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt
Over the past few weeks, Q101 has been posting articles covering some of the major topics and concerns in Fraser-Nicola ahead of the provincial election.
Dennis Adamson, Independent, was the final candidate to join the race locally, and in fairness to all candidates, Adamson has provided comments on some of the larger issues previously covered by the other four candidates such as forestry, small businesses, and housing.
Small Business –
Small business is one of the biggest concerns in the area. We need to help the stores stay open and work with the Federal Government as well as the Provincial government to make sure they have a chance to survive.
They’ve had disaster after disaster, going from forest fires to the epidemic. We need to do something to help them so they can stay open. It helps everyone when small businesses remain open in town.
I would fight hard to keep the mills open. I see those raw logs rolling down the highway and with it the jobs. The use to have it where, wherever you cut the logs you mill them, I believe that’s how you need to get it back to again.
I also think we need to spend money on reforestation. People are thinking about other ways of utilizing forest products. There are other things than just cutting down the trees that you can use the forest for, and I think you need to encourage other uses.
I believe that the government should put more money into low-income housing. It’s something that in every part of BC there are people struggling to keep a roof over their head.
I also think at the same time we should make some rules on building, to make so when you build something you have to put a metal roof on, make it more fire-resistant, higher insulation, so when the house is built to will have lower costs to maintain it and keep it heated. That way I believe it would make it more economical to live in a house because it’s cheaper to maintain.
Election day is Saturday, October 24, 2020.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt
Through a 5-2 vote, (Bhangu and White in opposition) Merritt City Council has approved amendments to the Official Community Plan (OCP) and the Zoning bylaw, allowing a proposed residential development to proceed.
The subject property is along Voght, at Grimmett. The proposed development includes 15 townhomes fronting Voght Street and 52 modular homes in a modular home park, which would have vehicular access off Grimmett Street.
“In the conceptional site plan, and that word conceptional is very important,” began Planning Manager Don McArthur. “It’s a potential of what could be put there. Yes, the design will be tweaked and changed.”
McArthur used fire truck access as an example saying the final plan will need to be altered to allow for proper turnaround zones.
Multiple members of the public and council raised concerns around the development itself, however, McArthur assured the room that those issues would be tackled during the subdivision and development permit stages of the application.
“We go through all the issues and all the different technical studies that might need to be done and those are all requirements of subdivision approval. That’s the really important process and that is a staff process. I can give you my assurance that staff will address those issues,” added McArthur.
It was also noted by staff that rezoning the property will also limit what the developer can build as it's considered a down-zoning. Before the changes, the developer could have built up to five stories without needed council approval or any amendments. The new zoning limits the build to a maximum of four-story townhomes along Voght and modular housing in behind.
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 to support the Province's COVID-19 pandemic response.
The state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on Oct. 27, 2020, to allow staff to continue to take the necessary actions to keep British Columbians safe and manage immediate concerns and COVID-19 outbreaks.
A provincial declaration of a state of emergency allows the Province to implement provincial emergency measures and allows access to assets that may be necessary to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of an emergency. This is a temporary measure authorized by the Emergency Program Act.
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, provincial health officer, declared a public health emergency.
On July 10, the COVID-19 Related Measures Act came into force, enabling provisions created for citizens and businesses, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to continue as needed should the provincial state of emergency end.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt