A controversial mining claim near Cherry Creek Falls in Meadowbrook has been designated a Mineral No Registration Reserve by the provincial Gold Commissioner May Mah-Paulson.
What this means is that no new mineral claims can be registered on the 400 plus acre property, which has been a concern for Meadowbrook residents for well over a year.
In the fall of 2011, Meadowbrook residents were dismayed to learn that the owner of the claim wished to put a trailer on the site and, potentially, a quarry.
The Meadowbrook Community Association was formed soon after, with the goal of protecting the popular recreation site, possibly by creating a day use park.
Working with Jane Walter, Area E director for the Regional District of East Kootenay, the MCA was able to get a commitment from the RDEK to create a regional park, but there were still roadblocks — the owners of the claim were willing to sell but over $50,000 had to be raised, and the land was still a mineral claim.
MCA president Bob Johnstone says the word from the Gold Commissioner came last Friday.
“Basically it means the claim will become Crown land and no one can mine there again,” he said. “The RDEK will decide on the size of the park.”
Johnstone says it’s unnecessary to make the entire 400 acres a park — the area of most interest to residents to protect is right around the creek, with the rest being available for recreational use. He says they will offer assistance and guidance to RDEK staff regarding the park.
“We’d just like to see maybe a washroom and picnic tables, maybe a proper fire pit.”
That is all for the RDEK to decide, Johnstone is just happy that they were able to prevent a quarry that close to the falls and creek.
“Bill Bennett, MLA for East Kootenay and Minister for Community, Sport and Cultural Development, and Doug Clovechok, BC Liberal candidate for Columbia River – Revelstoke have been actively working hard with provincial officials, the tenure holder and us, but we were not sure if they would succeed.
The MCA had to raise $51,000 to purchase the mineral claim and Johnstone says that, through donations and grants, they have done that. He says announcements from some of the larger funders are pending.
He says that the community association has enjoyed working with the RDEK Board and staff on this issue.
“In particular, Johnstone said, “I would like to express our Board’s appreciation to Area E Director, Jane Walter, for her steadfast opposition to the proposed quarry and her untiring efforts towards creation of a regional park”.
The MCA was founded on April 5, 2012. In less than a year the Association has incorporated as a society, signed up 179 members, obtained a reserve surrounding Cherry Creek Falls and raised the more than $50,000 required.
“It has been a very busy first year”, Johnstone said, “But the determination, dedication, and diligence of my colleagues on the Board: Marie Kohlman, Sandra Loewen, John Lyon, David Mayes, Margaret Mayes and Marty Musser, have ensured it has been a rewarding one”.