The future of the Grist Mill is still up in the air. Current manager Chris Mathieson's contract at the heritage site ends in March. At this point no word has been given as to why there has been such a lengthy delay or if the popular site will be operational past spring 2015.

LETTER: Writing campaign urged to push government on Grist Mill’s future

Cawston resident Bob McAtamney writes letter in support of Grist Mill.

  • Feb. 5, 2015 11:00 a.m.

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If anyone wants to know the just what our Liberal governments intentions are regarding the operation of the Keremeos Grist Mill here are two warning signals.

In her report to her constituents (Keremeos Review, January 22) Linda Larson the Liberal MLA for this area, does not give any mention regarding the ongoing concerns of this community with the Grist Mill. At least we know where her priorities lay and it is certainly not to advocate for a continuation of the present management at the Grist Mill.

In a reply to an email I sent on Jan 14th, 2015 to the Honourable Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests Lands and Natural Resources Operations his Deputy Assistant stated “The province protects the heritage values of historic places through regulation and promotion of good stewardship practice. It is not mandated to operate historic sites as tourist attractions nor subsidize business activities,” and “government policy is …. increase the self-sufficiency of the provincial heritage properties.”

So the Ministry on one hand wants the Grist Mill Heritage site to be economically self sufficient but it is not interested if the site is being successfully managed by attracting tourists and by being run along a business model. We all know that the present management has rejuvenated the site exactly because he has been able to combine a wonderful mix of cultural, artistic and historical events along with successful series of music concerts and such things as the Barbecue King. The people of this area are asking that our tax dollars be used to help the Grist Mill operate, to preserve it as a heritage site and to continue see it become an essential cultural and artistic centre of the Similkameen Valley.

The present management lease expires at the end of March and right now he has no ability to plan activities for 2015 not knowing if he is even going to be around to operate the Grist Mill.

If we do not challenge this government’s inaction (it has been almost four months since the RFP process was closed) the Grist Mill will cease to function and will basically close up. We have to write to both Steve Thomson and Linda Larson to express our dissatisfaction with the delay. We have to as a community to protest, to demonstrate, get media attention and to embarrass the hell out of this government.

We have to demand that a longtime lease tenure be given to Chris Mathieson. We have to put major pressure on the government in any way we can or otherwise they will get exactly what they want and that is for us to go quietly into the night. Let’s change that!!

Write to the Honourable Steve Thomson

C/O his Assistant Minister, Gary Townsend Gary.Townsend@gov.bc.ca

Linda Larson Linda.Larson.MLA@leg.bc.ca.

 

 

 

Bob McAtamney

 

 

 

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