Previous Public Input Received
The following input and submissions were gathered by the commission through public hearings held in 29 communities throughout B.C. from September to November 2014. The public also provided input through the online submission form, by email and by mail to be reviewed and considered as the commission develops a Preliminary Report for further public input.
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Posts

    Das Kandola, Merritt
    2014-11-16

    I have lived in Merritt for 25 years. I am a businessman and own a furniture store. I believe Princeton should stay in Fraser-Nicola, while Hope and the Fraser Canyon should be added to it.

    As a furniture retailer I keep a close track of my customer base. Although most of my customers are residents of Merritt, a whopping 40% of my customers are from out-of-town communities. They come from Princeton, Logan Lake, Douglas Lake, Spences Bridge, Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Lytton, and even from Lillooet, Boston Bar and Hope. These communities all belong together.

    I always make a habit of asking my customers why they shop in Merritt. Those who come to my store from Spences Bridge, Lytton, Lillooet, Cache Creek and Logan Lake I ask them why they don’t go to Kamloops to shop for furniture there? Those who come from the Princeton area I ask them why they don’t go to Penticton or Kelowna for their furniture needs? Likewise, I ask those who come in from Hope and Boston Bar why they don’t go to Chilliwack to buy furniture?

    It is very interesting what customers reveal. For instance their main reasons aside from pricing for shopping in Merritt include:

    1. Proximity. Merritt is closer for most, especially for the people of Princeton (Penticton is 120 kms while Merritt is only 85 kms).
    2. More personal attention by staff compared to regional cities.
    3. Some come to Merritt to see a doctor here due to doctor shortages in Ashcroft, Logan Lake and Princeton.
    4. They stopped in on their way back from Kamloops after their medical appointment.
    5. Some people of Princeton even come into Merritt to shop on their way back from Kelowna, which is closer by 22 kms via Aspen Grove and saves 45minutes each way. Compare that to the slower driving speeds through the Okanagan with its windy, narrow roads, many stop-lights and heavier traffic.
    6. Buying furniture was only one of the stops in Merritt. Most also go to the local chain stores like Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire and Extra-Foods.
    7. Others who come to shop at the local chain stores also end up in my furniture store.
    8. No long line-ups at the tills or traffic problems in Merritt, thus saving them time.

    Merritt has become a trading “hub” for all these smaller communities surrounding the town. Customers like the environment of the smaller communities with local service. Some in the South Okanagan are trying to make the case that Princeton is in Penticton’s trading area, and thereby it should be added to Boundary-Similkameen. I would argue exactly the opposite: that Princeton is in the same trading area as Merritt. Princeton is also in the Merritt TSA and in the same school district as Merritt. Princeton and Merritt belong together. Beside, Fraser-Nicola already has a declining population.

    I respectfully ask the Commission to keep Fraser-Nicola intact and add more population from the Hope area to it.

    Das Kandola
    Businessman



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