Columbarium, Coldwater Avenue repaving project on hold until spring

By on November 7, 2017
The 1600 block of Coldwater Avenue. (Photo courtesy of Google street view)

A $2 million repaving project for three blocks of Coldwater Avenue is almost complete, but on hold until the spring as is a proposed columbarium at the Pine Ridge Cemetery.

The roadwork, which began this summer, included replacing water and sewer lines beneath Coldwater Avenue between Wilson Street and Chapman Street.

City of Merritt chief administrative officer Shawn Boven said that project is nearly finished, with crews having paved the road last week.

With the onset of winter, however, the project won’t be complete until 2018.

The City of Merritt is in the process of constructing a columbarium like this one at the Pine Ridge Cemetery. (Photo from City of Merritt)

“It’s on hold now, but there’s not a lot to finish next year, it’s pretty much just the sidewalk,” said Boven. “We’ll evaluate where the budget is at because we might have enough money to do another block,” said Boven.

A staff report to council from June states the $2 million contract with BA Dawson Blacktop is for “base work,” and comes with optional work that, if added to the project, would add up to just under $2.5 million.

The project is being fully funded by a provincial and federal government grant worth more than $2 million, which the city received last year from the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.

The goal of the project is to eventually pave every block of Coldwater Avenue from Wilson Street to the intersection with Voght Street.

City council was seeking to construct a columbarium at the cemetery before the end of the year, but that project will also have to wait until 2018.

In September, city council approved taking money out of its surplus to begin the project, which will require updating the cemetery bylaw, amending the budget and making an application to Consumer Protection BC before construction begins.

“We need to make some changes to our bylaw before we can allow a columbarium, so staff is currently working on that,” said Boven.

Mayor Neil Menard brought forth the recommendation to construct a columbarium at the cemetery before the end of the year after hearing some demand for one from members of the public.

Starting the process this year as opposed to waiting until the 2018 budget cycle was somewhat beneficial as it allows some work to get started now, Boven told the Herald.

“It was deemed important by council, so that’s what we’re working on,” said Boven.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *