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Coquihalla to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation is providing $1 million in funding to upgrade 3 rest areas

Approximately $1 million in upgrades and accessibility improvements will be coming to three rest area washrooms, the Ministry of Transportation announced recently.

The washrooms getting a boost will be near the Coquihalla Highway Summit, approximately 70 kilometres south of Merritt. These include the Coquihalla Lakes Rest Area, Britton Creek Rest Area and the Zopkios Commercial Vehicle Brake Check Facility (for southbound travellers).

“These improvements are welcome news to all travellers on the Coquihalla, including commercial truck drivers who keep the delivery of our goods moving, residents and summer travellers,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “As a key travel route for the province, this investment will provide the upgrades needed to modernize and make the facilities along this corridor better.”

But it doesn’t look like a problematic rest stop is getting any upgrades to smell or care and attention.

The $4.2-million facility placed at the Loon Lake exit on the Okanagan Connector was completed in February 2018 after the popular and scenic visitor centre near Merritt was shut down by the government.

But since its opening, there has been a plumbing problems that has caused a urine and sewer smell as well as backed up toilets. On top of that, visitors to the rest stop in 2019 said there wasn’t a square to spare in any of the washrooms which were in deplorable conditions.

READ MORE: Okanagan Connector rest stop ‘piled high with you-know-what’

Yellowhead Road & Bridge has been awarded the contract to do the most recent upgrades.

The upcoming upgrades will vary between locations, but will include new exterior doors and frames; repairing and repainting interior walls;new interior partition walls;upgrading plumbing and fixtures;upgrading lights to LEDs; new countertops and sinks; repairing and resurfacing floors; making exterior building repairs; andinstalling electric hot-water tanks and furnaces.

A dedicated family washroom will be added to the Coquihalla Lakes and Zopkios facilities, improving accessibility. Also, more garbage bins will be provided at the south end of the Zopkios brake check facility, and signage will be installed to encourage their use.

Work will be carried out by Yellowhead Road & Bridge, using local subcontractors.

Work is anticipated to begin in late June, and all improvements are scheduled to be completed by the end of October 2021.

On the Okanagan Connector, contact Yellowhead Road & Bridge, at 1-888-899-9854 if washrooms aren’t clean. On the Peachland side, the contact is AIM Roads at 1-866-222-4204.

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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