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COMMUNITY UPDATE from
MLA Jackie Tegart


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Message from Jackie

November was a big month for health and education in the Fraser-Nicola riding. On November 7, 2016, Minister of Health, Terry Lake and I announced that the Province of British Columbia was proceeding with expansion and upgrades to Merritt Hospital's Emergency Department. This is a huge improvement to emergency health care, increasing the department's size from approximately 1,076 square feet to approximately 5,380 square feet. This modern, updated department will improve patient confidentiality, allow nursing staff to observe the entire patient area and enhance staff safety.
Merritt Emergency Room Announcement with Minister of Health Terry Lake
The renovations will be extensive, with expanded trauma and treatment areas, confidential triage and registration space, a covered ambulance bay with its own entrance, a new nurses' station, medication room, washrooms and equipment storage area.

Located at the juncture of four busy highways, Merritt's emergency department is the closest medical aid for auto accident victims. The hospital also serves approximately 12,000 local residents. Originally built in 1964, the facility was designed to accommodate a much smaller, less mobile population.

The emergency department re-make will cost approximately $5.6 million and should be complete in just under two years. Working in partnership with Nicola Valley Health Care Endowment Foundation, Nicola Valley Health Care Auxiliary, Thompson Regional Hospital District, IHA, the community and the Province makes this expansion project possible.

Three secondary schools in the riding are benefiting from the Province's School Enhancement Program. Merritt Secondary and Princeton Secondary will share $300,000 to upgrade the schools' dust collection systems, while Lillooet Secondary was awarded $825,000 to upgrade the school's roof.

The goal of the School Enhancement Program is to assist in extending the life of schools around the province. The upgrades make the buildings healthier, more energy efficient and save money in the long run.

The focus was on local small businesses when Minister Coralee Oakes came to visit in the riding at the end of October. We attended the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association's Annual General Meeting and Tourism Summit in Clinton. Lots of great ideas here on how to promote and develop small businesses, and ensure that visitors to BC have the experience of a lifetime!
Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association with Minister of Small Business Coralee Oakes
Travelling down the Gold Trail, we stopped in Lillooet to meet the very active and engaged Chamber of Commerce. Two big issues brought forward to Minister Oakes were the vital importance of access through the Ten Mile Slide on Highway 99 North and establishment of the Bridge River – Lillooet Trust. Load restrictions on the slide mean higher operating costs for Lillooet businesses, safety is a huge issue and I am keeping Minister Todd Stone fully informed of the community's concerns.

The trust initiative has been on Lillooet's agenda for nearly 20 years and the community continues to seek economic development funds in compensation for the flooding of a portion of Bridge River Valley and extensive hydro electric construction in the area.

Quick stops at several Main Street businesses and Fort Berens Estate Winery were also in order, as Minister Oakes, as well as being Minister of Small Business, is also in charge of reducing red tape and liquor distribution.
1. Creative Haven – Minister Coralee Oakes, Owner Darlene Lohnes, Bruce Lohnes, MLA Jackie Tegart  
2. Abundance Artisan Bakery - Minister Coralee Oakes, Owner Dana Sibley, MLA Jackie Tegart
3. Fort Berens Estate Winery – Owner Rolf de Bruin, Minister Coralee Oakes, MLA Jackie Tegart
Travelling on to Ashcroft, we attended a social with small business owners, members of the Rotary club, executives from Community Futures, and First Nations and local government leaders. We also stopped at several successful local businesses, including Horstings Farm, Desert Hills and Unitea Tea Room.
(Top, Left, Right) Community Futures Meeting, Horstings Farms & Unitea Tea Room
The whirlwind trip wound up with a Community Futures barbecue and unveiling of another mosiac in Ashcroft. If you have not been to Ashcroft for a while, come and admire the 28 amazing pieces around town, created by very talented volunteers.
Unveiling of Mosaic by Marina Papais and Dan Collett based on painting by Pauline Ogilvie
Final stop for Minister Oakes was the 2016 Merritt Business Excellence Awards. What a great way to end Small Business Month, honouring hard working, innovative and creative business people in rural BC!

Earlier in the month I attended the BC Aboriginal Business Awards in Vancouver, connected with federal Member of Parliament Jati Sidhu and TNRD director Steven Rice to discuss the steelhead fishery and wildfires along local railways and had the pleasure of dropping the puck at a Merritt Centennials hockey.
Puck drop at Merritt Centennials’ game
I also toured the almost completed Green Energy Plant in Merritt, the Packing House in Spences Bridge, Ashcroft Terminal and the Ashcroft Indian Band's Travel Centre.

The consistent message, throughout Small Business Month, was the need to diversify local economies, work in partnerships and think regionally, be flexible, look at the big picture and be innovative.

My office continues to work very closely with all stakeholders involved in the Tolko plant closure. I've spoken at length with the Merritt Community Transition Manager and senior ministry staff, looking at potential projects that could, with government support, help diversify Merritt's economy and create jobs.

The province is in the process of updating the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation, in order to reflect the best available science and to ensure the highest level of protection for the environment and human health are in place. There was a 60 day window for public comment which ended on December 2, 2016. This has been an issue in the riding and I look forward to the findings and recommendations.

On November 10th I attended the Thompson Nicola Regional District's Inaugural meeting to hear the presentation by MOE on the Scientific Review and also had the opportunity to congratulate Chair John Ranta and Vice Chair Steven Rice on their election. Municipal and regional district representatives are integral levels of government and provide valuable direction to the province.
Congratulating John Ranta, Mayor of Cache Creek and re-elected TNRD Chair
On November 11, I took time out to remember our men and women who have served, and continue to serve, our country. The ceremony in Merritt was moving, and a time for reflection and hope for a more peaceful world.

Constituent Patricia West turned 90 on November 13 and I was delighted to present her with congratulatory messages from Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Clark.
Birthday Celebration for Patricia West
St Alban's Anglican Church celebrated its 125th year of serving Ashcroft and area on November 20, 2016. There was a full house and everyone enjoyed the shared stories, memories and history contained within the church and its people.

Speaking of history, I also attended two meetings with senior staff from the Heritage Branch. The first was with the working group for the McAbee Fossil Beds, and the second, with members of the Friends of Hat Creek Ranch Society. These local heritage sites are treasures for residents and tourists alike and I completely support the working groups, which are committed to ensuring they endure.

As cold weather descends, I am always concerned about people in our society who have fallen on difficult times. I am pleased to announce that the BC government is funding 10 extreme weather spaces in Merritt this winter. The Nicola Valley Extreme Weather Response Shelter is located at 2038 Nicola Avenue and will operate temporary shelter space when an extreme weather alert is activated by the community.

The Jobs Creation Partnership Project held a milestone event at 83 Mile on November 25, and I attended, before taking part in the Country Christmas Parade in Merritt. I wrapped up the day by hosting “Hot Chocolate with Jackie” in the Country Music Hall of Fame; another wonderful opportunity to talk to people, hear their concerns and their triumphs and their plans for the future.
(Left to Right) Job Creation Milestone Event in 83 Mile, Santa’s Parade in Merritt & Hot Chocolate in the Country Music Hall of Fame with Choir & Santa
While I have travelled extensively throughout the riding this year, attending a wide variety of events, I was also busy travelling across BC as a member of the province's Finance Committee. Our role was to gather grassroots input for next year's budget and make recommendations based on public presentations.

We visited 17 communities and listened to numerous 15 minute presentations on a vast array of topics. Of note in the Kamloops session was a presentation on residential solar power generation by a woman from TRU, whom I had met at a previous community event, and suggested she share her information. She advocated that the province offer specific incentives for people to turn to alternative energy sources. The Ranchers Association also made a presentation, speaking about water issues, invasive species on the range and the disturbing problem of thieves making off with range fencing, particularly along the Coquihalla Highway. These thefts create extremely dangerous situations for livestock and for people travelling on the high speed, busy highway.

This is my second term on the Finance Committee. The community sessions, on line input, Skype conversations and telephone presentations have given me invaluable insight into the issues that matter to people in the riding and across the province.

As the holiday season approaches I want to wish each of you all the best! It has been an amazing year and I have enjoyed travelling throughout Fraser Nicola and meeting so many new people, including people from the communities to the south that will be a part of our riding family next year. I look forward to Christmas and am so excited about what the New Year will bring for us all!

Happy Holidays!

Local and Government News

Ten mile slide stabilization - one of the most challenging stretches of highway to maintain due to the continuous movement, a long-term solution is on the way and is expected to be complete by spring of 2017.
B.C. Air Access Program - the deadline for 2017-18 funding is Dec. 16, 2016. Public airport operators, including local governments and other operating authorities, can apply. The program shares costs on projects like lighting and navigational systems, terminal building expansion or upgrades, and runway improvements.
BikeBC funding - the deadline for 2017-18 applications is Dec. 16, 2016. Available for communities to enhance and expand cycling infrastructure such as bike lanes, multi-use paths and trails, and cycling/pedestrian bridges.

New changes in effect - now the Residential Tenancy Act allows families affected by domestic violence and individuals unable to live on their own anymore to end a fixed-term lease.

Suggest a new Stop of Interest. The B.C. government is looking at adding 75 new signs to the Stops of Interest inventory, providing an opportunity to highlight other people, places and events
Have your say on your kids' K-9 progress report as part of modernizing and updating our education system. Deadline to submit is February 28th, 2017.
The BC Community Road Safety Toolkit - details some of the most effective & innovative road design ideas from around the world, supporting municipalities as they consider making road safety changes.
Every business needs funding. Learn more about loans, grants & funding for your business.
Government Investing in Fraser Nicola
Nicola Valley Hospital Emergency Department – $5.6 million Updating and increasing size by 5x (500 sq/m from 100 sq/m). IHA will have design and construction drawings started as soon as possible, ground breaking in one year, with completion a year later. https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016HLTH0079-002293
Gaming Grants
 
• Thompson Cariboo Minor Hockey Association 10,000.00
 
• Winding Rivers Arts & Performance Society 4,700.00

• Friends of Historic Hat Creek Ranch 22,000.00

• BC Rodeo Association – Cache Creek 15,000.00

• Princeton and District Museum and Archives Society 15,000.00

• Merritt Centennial Booster Club 15,000.00

• Nicola Valley Minor Lacrosse Association 7,900.00

• Lillooet Regional Invasive Species Society 8,000.00


 
School Enhancement Program - $3.391 Million

• Diamond Vale Elementary: Boiler replacement $250,000

• Collettville Elementary: Boiler replacement $225,000

• Merritt Secondary: upgrade the dust collection systems $300,000

• Merritt Secondary: Lighting upgrades $363,000

• Kumsheen Elementary: Change room/ washroom upgrades $836,520

• Lillooet Secondary: Woodshop local exhaust system improvements $177,700

• Lillooet Secondary: Upgrade roof $825,000 • David Stoddart: Replace Roof $313,390

• David Stoddart: Heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades $100,000

Connect with Jackie

Join me at the Mingle and Jingle at Merritt Civic Hall on Friday, December 16th between 4:00 and 7:00 pm or stop in for coffee at my Ashcroft Constituency Office on Wednesday, December 21st between 1:00 and 3:00 pm.

If you have any questions or comments you can contact me through one of my constituency offices or by sending an email to: Jackie.Tegart.MLA@leg.bc.ca
Ashcroft Constituency Office

Drop-In Hours: Mon, Wed and Fri, 11:00am - 4:00pm
405 Railway Avenue
Ashcroft, BC

Office: (250) 453-9726
Toll free: 1-877-378-4802
Merritt Constituency Office

Drop-In Hours: Tuesday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
2-2152 Quilchena Avenue
Merritt, BC

Office (250) 378-8831
 
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Box 279, Ashcroft  BC, V0K 1A0


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