New paver plant being built in Merritt

·2 min read

Manitoba based Barkman Concrete made a presentation to Merritt city council in March of last year, which provided the details of their plan to develop a site on a 20-acre parcel of land in the community.

One year later, Barkman has secured the property and are already moving ahead with their plans to build a paver plant which will provide decorative and functional concrete landscaping items to markets west of their location in Steinbach, Manitoba.

“As most people have probably seen we’re under construction on our new plant that’s going to be located in Merritt,” said Brian Pries, President of Barkman Concrete.

The new plant is located on the corner of Midday Valley Rd. and Houston St., across from the Merritt Green Energy Plant, and will produce most of Barkman’s paving stones, slabs and retaining walls.

“We’re really excited about the opportunity of having Merritt as our base of operations for the Western Canada market for us,” said Pries.

“We’re looking forward to getting this plant up and running, it’s going to be a very sizeable part of our business and we’re going to employ a number of local people. And we’re looking to really grow that as the BC market grows for us.”

Pries estimates that the plant will employ around a dozen people to start with, if the plant runs one shift.

“We’re really excited to set up shop in Merritt, get to know the community and really be a part of the community, and help out wherever we can,” said Pries, who explained that Merritt was always a top contender for an expansion of the company.

“Availability of land is a big one, as you probably know, finding a sizeable piece of land in BC isn’t necessarily an easy thing, and we found a really nice piece of land there in Merritt. And really the access to our markets, our markets are partly in the lower mainland and partly in the Okanagan, and for that Merritt’s a really nice location given that we’re sort of in the middle between those two.”

Pries hopes production at the plant will be well underway by next year, with construction running throughout the remainder of 2021.

“Our hope is to be starting to run the plant, or commissioning test running, around the end of the year or beginning of the new year,” said Pries.

“We’re hoping to start testing and really be in production towards spring.”

Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald