DILIGENT RIVER – Ratchford Merriam, who has been hospitalized since suffering a heart attack last month, will not be returning to Cumberland County council, according to Warden Keith Hunter.
The warden delivered the news to a group of residents gathered for a funding announcement at the Diligent River Community Hall on Nov. 14, crediting Merriam for making sure the hall renovation project received a $30,000 grant from the county.
While many of his colleagues were fighting for their re-election on Oct. 20, Merriam was fighting for his life after suffering a massive heart attack, and has been hospitalized ever since. Hunter visited him recently at the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Halifax.
“He was in good spirits, but he was given the choice of being artificially kept alive or letting nature take its course,” he said. “Ratchford, being the stoic guy that he is, said he would let nature take its course. I hate to bring bad news, but at a time like this you can be thankful that someone like Ratchford was behind you and had your back as far as this was concerned.”
At the same event, Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong remarked on how Merriam was a driving force in seeing that necessary repairs were made to the Advocate seawall, and said the second and final phase of that project is underway.
“Ratchford is aware of the status of this, and I’m glad for that,” said Armstrong. “In these trying circumstances, he’s going to know this project is being completed. I’m very glad it’s being accomplished while he’s still with us.”
Merriam has been the councilor for District 10 for the past 12 years, having been elected in 2000, and re-elected in 2004, 2008 and 2012, most recently by acclamation.
While there are no immediate plans to replace Merriam on council, Hunter said District 10 residents could bring any concerns to either himself as warden or CAO Rennie Bugley.