I thought last week would put to rest the letters concerning Jane Werniuk’s editorial about the Britannia mill building. I was wrong. Kirstin Clausen, managing director of the BC Museum of Mining has taken the opportunity to write:
"I’d like to explain why so many people have had their imaginations captured by what is happening at Britannia Beach.
"In writing ‘Digging Around Historic Mills’, you missed the connection between Britannia’s mill and an exciting and comprehensive vision that has been created. The Britannia Project is much more than the rehabilitation of the historic mill building at Britannia Beach, although this effort is the first most tangible result of two years of concentrated effort. The Britannia Project stems from the belief by many credible supporters that it is best to build on 30 successful years of engagement with the public about mining history and current environmental issues, being delivered by the BC Museum of Mining, and to build on these efforts in a manner which will see partners creating together a world-class interpretive destination demonstrating history, regeneration and sustainability. The Britannia Project has all the right elements in place and is quickly earning support from B.C. and Canadian industry, all levels of government and diverse communities, including the First Nations. This unprecedented support is why the Britannia Project has become high profile as you so rightly point out. It is also why it has found favour with respected firms such as AMEC, Teck Cominco and others.
"You ask ‘why put effort into rehabilitating the mill building at Britannia Beach?’ It is designated a National Historic Site because it can teach and illustrate many values which are important to Canadians. The Museum knows from having hosted about 1.25 million visitors to date that rarely does anyone leave without expressing how impressed and inspired they are by this building. The building has value because it functioned with best practices in terms of its technology of metal recovery. It was highly efficient which supports a modern definition of sustainability. It enabled a typical isolated resource-based community to achieve production that was enviable in the entire British Commonwealth. It provided economic health for a community, province and nation. It is classic in its architecture and effectively inspires with its strong ‘form follows function’ character. Today the historic mill stands as an icon to a community determined to succeed and is central to an education program that is valued and utilized by more than 40,000 people annually. These are the stories that supporters of the Britannia Project have recognized and which will be taken to new levels within the vision of the Britannia Project.
"We know that readers of the Canadian Mining Journal who take time to discover what the Britannia Project is about will see how worthwhile it is and will understand why it is needed. Take the challenge; spend some time at our website www.BritanniaProject.com and discover for yourself how the Britannia Project is about telling stories which are important to understanding our history, our need for regeneration of environmental conditions and going forward with sustainability foremost in our minds."