The Mascot Mine in Hedley will be open for business once again, with the help of an $800,000 grant from the province.
The grant request was made under a COVID recovery program by the Upper Similkameen Indian Band.
“Upper Similkameen is thrilled with the announcement as we can finally address the long standing concerns around historical preservation, public access and safety at the site. We know that Mascot is a beloved curiosity for many who are familiar with the area, and we hope with this restoration work the public can be welcomed back in a way that will support the protection of this amazing historical site for generations to come,” stated Chief Bonnie Jacobsen.
The mine was closed to tours in 2017.
Work on the site will begin this spring, and is expected to be completed by March 2023.
The Mascot Gold Mine operated from 1936 to 1949 producing 7.1 tonnes of gold.
The mine buildings were constructed on a cliff almost one kilometre above the valley floor.
A website devoted to the currently defunct tourist attraction describes the area.
“At the height of activity, 130 men worked the Mascot Gold Mine. Many of the single men actually lived at the mine site. A small community was built right on the side of the cliff, complete with a cookhouse, bunkhouse, blacksmith shop, mine offices and mine operation buildings.
“One of the miners remembers life in the clouds: ‘I worked underground at Hedley Mascot for two years, 1940-41. I was making $4.75 a day and my keep. That was good money then. I was single. I lived up on top in the Mascot Mine buildings…We stayed there free of charge.
‘On days off there were lots of things to do in town below and in the surrounding area.
‘Miners and their families enjoyed swimming in the rivers and creeks, fishing, hunting and hiking. There were even baseball and hockey teams, tennis courts and even a golf course.’”
The scope of the restoration is broad. It includes developing a conservation plan, addressing critical repairs and stabilization, building a new parking lot and developing an improved website and enhancing trails and stairs.
The project will be initiated no later than December 31, 2021 and it will be completed before March 31, 2023.
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