Back in early 2020, the Nicola Valley was set upon by some A-list movie stars who were in the area to film Jurassic World III: Dominion.

Despite several setbacks and delays, due mainly to the COVID-19 pandemic which had only just begun, the movie has now been completed and is set to be released on June 10 of this year. 

Ahead of its theatrical release, fans can view a roughly three minute trailer. Astute Merrittonians may notice some familiar sights and faces in this trailer. Particularly at the 21 second mark, where an enormous dinosaur stands in the middle of a log yard, surrounded by blue collar workers in hard hats and reflective vests. 

That log yard, complete with a LeTourneau log loader, is none other than Nicola Valley Custom Lumber’s (NVCL) yard on the banks of the Coldwater River on the west side of Merritt. 

Parm Sahota, owner of NVCL, said that crews set up at the site for four or five days, offering extra and background work to his employees. Everyone outside of the main actors in the log yard scene are NVCL employees.

“They’re all our guys, all of them are ours,” said Sahota. 

So, how did a huge Hollywood franchise that has become iconic pop culture settle on the NVCL log yard for filming? 

NVCL works in partnership with Aspen Planers, a lumber mill in operation in Merritt for decades. Aspen Planers often rents a company mill site in the Lower Mainland to the film industry, but this time a location in the Interior was desired. 

“They liked the setting and the scenery, the old mill site,” explained Sahota.  

“They liked the old railway bridge.”

The railway bridge was sadly washed out during the November 2021 flooding of the Coldwater River, but will hopefully be memorialized, even briefly, in the movie.

Although Sahota said the opportunity to have a blockbuster filmed locally was “exciting”, he also hopes that it’s something people will be able to enjoy after the devastation of first an extreme wildfire season and then a catastrophic flood. 

“It was very exciting for me, and it’s very exciting for our community,” said Sahota.

“After everything that’s happened we need a little cheering up. I feel so sorry for people who had their homes damaged and lost a lot.”