The five bands of the Nicola Valley were granted the 11.6 hectares of unused land at Gateway 286 near Merritt in 2020. (Flickr/Province of BC)

Ground broken for development at Gateway 286 near Merritt

Plan for 30,000 square feet of both retail and commercial

A major development project in the Nicola Valley has finally broken ground.

Gateway 286, the location of the now-defunct rest stop on the east end of Merritt on Hwy. 5A, is set to be the new site of a 30,000 sq. ft. commercial and retail space.

The rest stop, a popular place to take a break for travellers from the Okanagan heading to the coast, was closed in 2018.

Included in the design are proposals for a gas station/convenience store, food and coffee shops, washrooms and a centralized plaza.

The land size totals 11.6 hectares.

Spayum Holdings, the development company created by the First Nations specifically for the project, provided a rendering in a presentation to Merritt city council as to what the proposed space may look like.

A rendering of what the finished commercial space may look like at the Gateway 286 development. (Spayum Holdings)

The land is owned by the five First Nation bands of the Nicola Valley, who were granted the land in 2020 from the Province of BC.

“This is a celebration for Nicola Valley First Nations, who have come a long way on this project in the past five years,” said Susan Roline, chair and spokesperson for Spayum Holdings, and former mayor of Merritt.

“Although we have more to do, the site clearing and preparation work we see happening now shows our partner communities that this opportunity is real and it’s happening”.

Years in the making, the project received third reading approval from Merritt city council in January of this year. There is yet to be a completion date named.

Spayum will be working with the City of Merritt to extend water and sewer lines to the area in the coming months.

Merritt