Open Letter to Mayor & Council of Municipality of Greenstone
July 23, 2015
SUBJECT: PROPOSED LOCATIONS FOR GERALDTON’S INTERPRETIVE CENTRE & HISTORIC MINING HEADFRAME
I am elaborating on the oral and written comments I made at the public meeting on Wednesday, July 22, in Geraldton on the Hardrock Project of Greenstone Gold Mines. One of the staff stated that company proposals must be approved by the Municipality, so I trust that Council will be deliberating the locations.
One map on display showed a location for a new interpretive centre (the Discover Geraldton Interpretive Centre must be demolished to accommodate the open pit mine). It is proposed to re-route Highway 11 further north, closer to Little Longlac and Rosedale Point townsites. The new interpretive centre/tourist information centre, it is proposed, would be located at the junction of Highways 11 and 584, just south of the Barton Bay bridge.
I did not see any proposal for relocating the old MacLeod-Cockshutt headframe (acknowledged in reports as a significant heritage structure). Staff members did assure me that the company plans to preserve the structure and transplant it elsewhere, contrary to some rumours that authorities plan to demolish the structure and build a replica.
I believe that both the interpretive centre and the headframe should be located on a prominence clearly visible at a distance and easily accessed by highway traffic. My proposal is that both the interpretive centre and the headframe be situated at the entrance to MacLeod Park.
The entrance to MacLeod Park is on a hill and on the highway just a couple of minutes east of the current junction of Highways 11 and 584. There is plenty of space for both buildings and a parking area.
Considerable thought should be given to the design of the new interpretive centre. I suggest an observation tower with an elevator to accommodate the handicapped. The tower would give visitors a 360-degree viewing platform. The panorama will include the entire community of Geraldton, the open pit operations, the expanse of Kenogamisis Lake, and possibly the new golf course (current proposals call for displacing the back 9 holes on the tailings area and possibly even the now-historic front 9).
The tower and the headframe would be visible at a considerable distance, and act as beacons to the curious.
I also suggest that the interpretive centre provide not only for permanent exhibits (which is the case now) but also for travelling exhibits. The permanent exhibits could be, in effect, a museum, and the travelling exhibits could bring “shows” of national (even international) significance. The new Red Rock Marina Interpretive Centre can provide a model. It has already hosted a world-class travelling show, Ice Age Mammals, sponsored by the Canadian Museum of Nature and partners. Such shows require exhibit halls that can accommodate different genres of exhibits (from, for example, the Royal Ontario Museum, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology).
One issue at the public meeting of Greenstone Gold Mines that I did not address is the proposed relocation of Highway 11. I will be commenting to the company, and will share my thoughts with you, Your Worship, and members of Council, as well as with the public.
Edgar J. Lavoie
[FYI: This letter is scheduled to be presented to Greenstone Council at their regular meeting on Monday, July 27.]