Kimberley may not have an operating mine anymore, but the community is still very aware of its beginnings and wants to keep the mining heritage alive.
To that end, Council has agreed to submit a bid to host the 2016 and 2017 Provincial Mine Rescue Competition. The Ministry of Mines prefers a two year hosting agreement so all the various equipment can be stored in each town for the next year, reducing transportation costs.
As pointed out by Economic Development Director Kevin Wilson in a report to Council, costs to the City will be fairly minimal, at under $3000 depending on which facility is selected and staff time, and the economic benefit in the range of $134,000 to $357,000.
Those figures are arrived at by assuming an expenditure of $125 per day per person on food, accommodation, entertainment and shopping. It is expected that 300 to 400 people will spend three to six days in Kimberley.
Kimberley was invited to bid for the competition by the Ministry of Energy and Mines. Council took the invitation as an indication that once the bid was in, Kimberley was assured to host the event.
Alan Day of the Ministry said the Chief Inspector of Mines looks for several things when considering a host, all of which Kimberley can provide.
“1. Venues. (ie, Centennial Hall Center/Park/Seniors Complex, The abandoned AA Watkins school yard, the Civic Center, City Works Yard or any open area that has a few decent facilities
2. Banquet facilities for about three hundred and fifty to four hundred, plus, people.
3. The use of, some city buildings such as the Civic Center or other civic buildings that might be available, for no cost or at least a reasonable cost.
4. The help and support of the city works yard for heavy lifting and movement of some items such as no post barriers, traffic barricades, general garbage management etc.
5. The support of the fire department. It is essential that there be good communication with the Fire Dept. as there is always a fire task involved. I know Al Collinson will be very good with that.
6. Accommodations for all the teams and their supporting staff. (Kimberley has in spades but should be pointed-out in the letter).”
Kimberley last hosted the Mine Rescue competition in 2001, the year the Sullivan Mine closed.
“With the historical background of this community, Kimberley is the ideal location to host such a “Mining Specific” event.” Day said in his letter to Council.
The Ministry of Mines have a contingent of about forty to forty-five people in town for a full week doing set-up.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” Coun. Albert Hoglund said earlier this summer when the proposal was presented to Council. “Just because the mine is closed doesn’t mean the city can’t host the competition. We have the conference centre and all kinds of facilities.”
“It is a big, big part of our heritage,” said Mayor Don McCormick.