CITY OF MERRITT EVACUATION UPDATES
ACCESS TO MERRITT TO EVACUATE PETS AND FAMILY MEMBERS -NOVEMBER 17, 4:17 PM
If people want to retrieve pets and family members left in Merritt after Monday’s evacuation, they can come to the barricades on Highway 8, Highway 5 (Exit 290) and Coldwater Road/Highway 8, during daylight hours (approximately 8am to 5pm), and enter the City of Merritt under escort. Waiting times may exceed three hours.
If people enter the City of Merritt under this provision, they must leave the City with the pet or family member that they intended to retrieve, which will also be under escort. Entering to provide provisions for pets or family members who remain is not permitted. This will be enforced by RCMP.
CONVOY TO WORK – NOVEMBER 16, 8:54 PM
Checkpoints are in place to prevent any unauthorized persons from entering the City of Merritt.
We understand that there are some people who live outside the City and work on the other side of Merritt, and need to transit through Merritt to reach either one. In order to accommodate this, an escort system is in place, starting the evening of Tuesday, November 16th.
Anyone who wishes to transit through Merritt to the East (coming from Lower Nicola) should present themselves at the checkpoint on Highway 8.
Anyone wishing to transit through Merritt to the West (heading towards Lower Nicola) should present themselves at the checkpoint at the intersection of Coldwater Road and Highway 5/Highway 8.
Persons who have a valid reason for transit will be required to wait and will be escorted through Merritt on Highway 8 in convoys.
Convoys will not stop in Merritt except for traffic lights, and will not use any services in Merritt. No persons will be allowed to leave the convoy.
HOUSTON STREET BRIDGE NOW OPEN – NOVEMBER, 17 12:44 PM
A qualified structural engineer has inspected the Houston Street bridge across the Coldwater River.
As a result of this inspection, the Houston Street bridge will be re-opened immediately, with no load restrictions.
The Houston Street bridge is the only route across the Coldwater River in Merritt at this time. Further inspections will take place to ensure that the bridge may remain open safely.
The Main Street bridge has NOT been inspected, and must NOT be used. The Middlesboro (Voght Steet) bridge has collapsed and is not available.
A MESSAGE FROM MAYOR LINDA BROWN
Dear residents of the City of Merritt,
We will never forget the morning of November 15th, 2021. We will be recounting our individual experiences and the experiences of others in our community for the days, months, and years ahead. As individuals and as a community, we will be forever changed as a result of this flood. I know that we have much more pain, heartache, and a mountain of hard work ahead, but I want you to know that our City of Merritt team will do everything we can to ensure we have the resources necessary to meet the challenge head-on.
I have personally spoken with Premier Horgan and Prime Minister Trudeau and they both expressed their thoughts of mourning, respect for the resiliency of Merrittonians, and commitment that the Province and the Federal government stand with the residents of Merritt. We will have their support in addressing our community’s immediate and long-term needs.
The City’s Emergency Operations Centre team is focused on taking the steps necessary to first, bring back those residents whose homes were not affected by the flood, and second, to allow for the safe return of residents whose homes were inundated. The EOC team is working with consultants, experts, and professionals of every kind to assess and repair our water and wastewater systems to bring them online as soon as possible. As soon as we can provide safe water and have toilets flush, we will bring you home. Additional EOC priorities include road and bridge assessments, rapid damage assessment of homes, debris clean-up, and timely communication with residents.
There is a large contingent of RCMP in the community (more than double the regular contingent), who are primarily working on rescue operations and to secure and protect property.
Whether you are in Kamloops, Kelowna, Salmon Arm, Penticton, or any other community, we are with you and are working to bring you home to Merritt as soon as possible.
With love, Mayor Linda Brown