Spring 2004 came to Yellowknife very slowly weather wise, leaving many members of our Society wondering if summer would ever arrive. But as soon as the spring thaw came, work was underway to accomplish our workplan.
Final Business Plan: First and foremost was the completion of the Business Plan. Wayne Bryant, who has spearheaded the project, presented two drafts to the Society and as of June it was practically approved and ready for distribution. This key document outlines our vision for a mining museum in Yellowknife, setting a tentative but thoughtful timetable for the next five years. It stresses the need for a heritage and interpretive center for the NWT's interesting geological and mining history. With the closing of Yellowknife gold mines it is important to begin the foundations of a commemorative facility. The timeline begins with the current summer and moves through a step by step process of acquiring the land lease, cleaning up and rehabilitating buildings, securing financing, hiring museum staff, creating indoor and outdoor exhibits, opening a museum on a small scale basis by Year Three, and a grand opening in Year Five (summer 2008 or 2009).
Gold Mines Closing: In June it was announced that Giant Mine would close July 7th, ending 68 years of gold mining in Yellowknife. The Con Mine closed in November 2003. The Society, although deeply saddened by the loss, hopes that the sudden shock of losing this community identity will invigorate interest in the establishment of a mining museum.
Artifact Acquisition: More equipment and artifacts are to be acquired from the Con and Giant Mines in the coming summer months. Walt Humphries and Ryan Silke have taken over the task of organizing these acquisitions.
Giant Boat Launch Parking Display: Plans have been made to erect a display of old machinery and vehicles at the new boat launch parking lot cleared last summer by the City of Yellowknife. The mining equipment stockpiled in the area last winter will form the bulk of this display. The Society hopes to acquire some crushed rock in order to landscape the area to suit the display. Much of the equipment will be laid on mine rail track. Also included in this display is the old Giant Mine fire truck, acquired from the GNWT last year. The old Con Mine C-1 Gate Display was acquired and will be re-erected as part of this display, plus stuff to be picked up from Giant Mine. It will be a large display and will fit in nicely to our overall plans for a mining museum in the area, not to mention adding to the tourism potential of the Giant Mine Townsite Area.
Con Log Cabin: The old Con log cabin, currently located at the C-1 Gate, will be moved over to the Parking Lot Display once everything is set up. This may become a tourist or information booth, and may even be opened next year as the first stage of our mining museum.
Site Issues: This spring we had some water damage in the Warehouse building, where we store all of our artifacts. This is due to the continual sinking of the building's weak foundations combined with late spring melt and a build up of ice, which allowed water to seep into the north wall. Nothing was damaged but repairs to the foundation will have to be made to correct this problem. If not resolved, this will happen again next year perhaps with greater damage. The easiest solution at the moment is to jack up the one side of the Warehouse and attempt to level the building.
Recreation Hall Lease: Our application to acquire the lease for the Recreation Hall from the City of Yellowknife will accompany our business plan. Even after submitting the application, it may take several months to process.
Headframe Inspection: Phil Nolan of Structural All Limited was hired to inspect the A-Shaft Headframe and determine its structural condition. His findings were positive. Although one of the front bracings has buckled and the stiff legs need to be tightened, the headframe is in great shape and should be easy to repair. Work may have to be done this summer to correct the problems caused by timber loosening.
Other Activities: A BBQ held in May was well attended and several new members joined. Our plans were highlighted on CBC Northbeat and on CBC Radio during Mining Week.