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As the season turns quickly to winter and Merrittonians awake this morning to snow and ice blanketing the City, the need for a program helping seniors and those with disabilities with snow removal becomes even more important.

Recently a group of concerned citizens made a presentation to the City Council about the possible creation of a snow angels program this winter.

CAO Sean Smith did not that the City attempted to implement a similar program last year, however, a lack of volunteers sunk the idea.

Mayor Linda Brown addressed a new program coming to the City, which will help with things like snow removal.

“The United Way has chosen the City of Merritt for a new program to help seniors. They are subsidized by both the Federal and Provincial Government, and it is going to be run through ICS,” began Brown. “I specifically asked about snow removal, they do snow removal in the winter and they do gardening in the summer. They do housekeeping and visiting all year round.”

The program will be looking for a contractor to complete the work as supposed to relying on volunteers.

No date was given for when the new program may be active in the City.


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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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The City of Merritt will be holding a rare mid-day council meeting, with a committee of the whole scheduled for noon Tuesday.

The first item on the agenda this afternoon deals with the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), which helps match foreign entrepreneurs with BC communities looking to expand their business sectors.

As of October 6, 2020, the City of Merritt has received 284 inquiries from foreign entrepreneurs.

The City created a committee to review and make referrals through the program back in April of 2019. One of the partners on the committee is Community Futures Nicola Valley (CFNV), and Manuel Olguin spoke to Council back in October to relay some concerns about how the program is operating.

Olguin stated that CFNV was looking to ensure that prospective businesses have full business plans during their applications, not the currently required business concept.

“It is not fair to invite an entrepreneur to come to Merritt for an exploratory visit when they do not have an idea of how to start a business. Other communities realized that a business concept was not enough to make a decision on whether or not to issue a referral letter,” said Olguin.

Olguin also requested that CFNV become an equal partner with the City of the program to allow them to handle more of the workload.

At that October meeting, City Council agreed to set up today's committee of the whole to delve deeper into the issues.

Also on the docket will be a presentation from the Nicola Valley Theatre Society.


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UPDATE on IH numbers:

  • IH is reporting 87 new cases since Friday, for a total of 1,088.
  • 204 cases are active and on isolation
  • Two people are in hospital. One person is in ICU.

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 on three 24-hour periods. From Nov. 13 to 14, we had 654 new cases. From Nov. 14 to 15, we had 659 new cases and in the last 24 hours, we have had a further 646 new cases.

"This represents a total of 1,959 new cases of COVID-19, including three epi-linked cases, for a total of 22,944 cases in British Columbia.

"There are 6,279 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 181 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 57 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

"Currently, 10,928 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and 16,087 people who tested positive have recovered.

"Since we last reported, we have had 455 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,361 in the Fraser Health region, 41 in the Island Health region, 87 in the Interior Health region, 14 in the Northern Health region and one new case of someone who resides outside of Canada.

"There have been nine new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 299 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have 11 new health-care facility outbreaks at Al Hogg Pavilion, Jackman Manor, George Derby Centre, Kiwanis Care Centre, Columbus Residence, Holy Family Hospital, Arbutus Care Centre, PICS Assisted Living, Village by the Station, Hamlets at Westsyde and Burnaby Hospital. The outbreaks at Haro Park Centre, Pinegrove Place, the Village at Mill Creek and Rosemary Heights Seniors Village are now over. In total, 41 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and seven acute-care facilities have active outbreaks.

"There have been two new community outbreaks at the Platinum Athletic Club and at Cambridge Elementary school.

Dr. Bonnie Henry has provided the latest COVID-19 figures in BC.

(Previous numbers in brackets)

New Cases – 1,959 *Day 1 –654 , Day 2 –659 , Day 3 – 646

Total Cases – 22,944 (20,985)

Active Cases – 6,279 (5,579)

Patients in Hospital – 181 (167)

Patients in ICU – 57 (50)

New Deaths – 9

Totals Deaths – 299 (290)

Health region breakdown of new cases

Vancouver Coastal – +455

Fraser – +1,361

Island – +41

Interior – +87

Northern – +14

Outside Canada – +1

More to come.

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Yellowhead Road and Bridge is expecting another weather system to come in Monday afternoon/evening, November 16, 2020 and into the overnight hours. Heaviest snowfall expected for the Coquihalla Summit (South). Precipitation tapers off from South to North around midnight with a transition over to freezing rain as temperatures get warmer.

  • Highway 5 South from Merritt to the Snow Shed Hill – Anticipated accumulations of 5-10cm this afternoon/evening before 6pm and an additional 15-20cm expected for tonight after 6pm.
  • Highway 97C – Okanagan Connector – Potential accumulations of 3-8cm this afternoon/evening before 6pm and 4-8 tonight after 6pm.
  • Highway 5 North from Merritt to Lac Le Jeune - Anticipated accumulations of 3-6cm this afternoon/evening before 6pm and 3-6cm tonight after 6pm.

Snowfall will be service area wide on the freeways, so please drive to conditions. Plow trucks will be out removing snow and restoring traction as well as putting out chemicals to help prevent icy conditions. When flashing lights are on, our trucks are in “Winter Work Mode” and require extra room to perform their necessary duties. Remember to never pass a plow truck on the right and road conditions in front of the plow truck will be worse than behind it.

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RCMP and the BC Coroners Service are investigating the circumstances surrounding a single vehicle collision that claimed the life of a man Saturday evening between West Kelowna and Merritt.

On November 14, 2020 at approximately 7:20 p.m., Merritt RCMP received a request to assist BC Emergency Health Services who had been called to a report of a single vehicle rollover collision along Highway 97 C, the Okanagan Connector, near Sunset Main Road. Emergency first responders arrived on scene to find that a white Dodge Ram pickup truck had veered off the freeway, struck a large highway sign and rolled down an embankment.

The vehicle, which had four occupants, sustained heavy damage and came to final rest on its roof approximately 30 feet down an embankment, states Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, RCMP Southeast District. Despite the efforts of passer-byes first responders were needed to extricate two individuals from the heavily damaged vehicle.

An occupant inside the vehicle, sadly was pronounced deceased at the scene. Three other vehicle occupants were transported by Emergency Health Services to hospital.

The BC Coroners Service was notified, attended the collision scene and is also investigating the circumstances surrounding the death.

At this time, investigators believe that poor weather and road conditions contributed to the crash. Police are also investigating whether or not speed relative to those conditions and inadequate tires also played a role in this fatal crash.

If you witnessed this crash and have not yet spoken to police you are asked to call the Merritt RCMP at 250-378-4262.

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