The Honourable Steve Thomson, Minister for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, paid a visit to the Keremeos Grist Mill on Tuesday, August 13.
Thomson had a brief tour of the property, guided by operator Chris Mathieson and accompanied by two reporters and Thomson’s ministerial assistant.
Under a sweltering Similkameen sun, Thomson got his first ever look at the mill property. He and Mathieson discussed the significance of the property’s history as well as its importance to the Similkameen today.
“What it needs more than money is time and attention,” Mathieson told Thomson, “it hasn’t had that for many years.”
Following the brief tour, Thomson said that he was “really impressed” with what was happening at the mill.
“I’m actively working to see all our heritage sites,” he said, “Seeing the various sites helps us to make policy decisions. It’s very important.”
The province is currently conducting a Request For Proposal with respect to a number of heritage sites in the province, including the Grist Mill. Current operator Mathieson’s contract expires next year, and he has put forth his own proposal.
“One of the elements we’re interested in is to find a sustainable model,” he said, adding that the governement did not have a set time limit for a proposal’s duration.
“Every proposal is different,” he explained.
The Grist Mill operates under the Heritage Branch of Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.