Every once in a long while an opportunity comes along, where the government can actually do something, to help the Territory live up to the slogan "Spectacular NWT".
Saving the Robertson Head Frame would be such an opportunity. The Head Frame is not only spectacular, it is also an iconic image of Yellowknife and the north. It would be a monument to the land, its people and mining, which has been the economic engine of the NWT since 1930. We should be proud of our mining heritage: past, present and its future. Saving the head frame would show that we are.
Since Yellowknife is a transportation hub, it is the first and last thing that most people see when they come or leave the NWT, whether they come from one of the communities or as tourist from outside. Imagine the GNWT logo on the Head Frames, on the side which faces the airport with the words SPECTACULAR NWT written down it.
That would be spectacular and a great iconic image for Yellowknife and the north. It is after all the tallest structure in the entire NWT and has great tourism potential.
The head frame could have many uses including a tourist attraction where people could go to the top for a view the area. I am sure the GNWT or a private group could also find a use for the office warehouse building.
The City of Yellowknife has shown they are unable or unwilling to do this. So now it is up to the GNWT to take the lead or at least work with the residents in Yellowknife who want to see this done. There are a number of individuals who are willing to donate to the project and I am sure a number of companies including some of the large mining companies would as well, if this were a go. Also there are pots of money that could be tapped into from Heritage Canada, Canor and others. So money shouldn't be a problem but you can't really start raising money and getting grants until there is some assurance that the Head Frame will be saved.
Newmont Mining is in the process of cleaning up the old Con Mine site. When they are done, that land will be turned over to the GNWT. I would argue that they could and should turn over the Head Frame and the office/warehouse complex beside it.
All the land will be cleaned up to industrial standards. It shouldn't take too much to clean up those buildings and do the necessary repairs on them.
The buildings are of little value without the land and I would argue the land is much more valuable with the building remaining there. Also the GNWT is probably in a better position to negotiate a favourable deal with Newmont, who in the past indicated that they would donate at least some of the demolition costs to who ever takes the structures over.
The question is who in the GNWT should we talk to about doing this project to set up a meeting, because the sooner we get started the sooner we can have a "Spectacular" iconic landmark and tourist attraction for the NWT.
On Behalf of:
The Citizens to Save the Head Frame Working Group
Walt Humphries, president NWT Mining Heritage Society
Mike Vaydik, chairman City of Yellowknife heritage Committee
Tracey Breitbach, coordinator NWT Mining Heritage Society
Ronnie Heming, Outcrop
Linda Bussey, Yellowknife City Council