Nippon Institute students working on the new gazebo.
It was a busy summer season for the Bellevue Underground Mine this year.
Despite losing government support through the Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP) and the Community Spirit Program the mine persevered, adjusted its plan and pushed on though the season. In the process they continued to provide a quality visitor experience and are continuing to do so by taking the decision to stay open year round.
The Crowsnest Ecomuseum Trust board and staff have been busy making adjustments to the way they operate and have completed some projects on site. Should you happen to drop by these days you will find some interesting changes. The reception/gift area has been reworked and they have shut down their MDM office and moved it down to the now modified mine office.
New to the outside area is a wonderful gazebo that was designed and constructed by the students at the Nippon Institute of Technology Inter-Cultural Campus. Along with this quiet, shaded, wheel chair accessible area for visitors the mine has added a new green space. Currently they are in the process of adding an addition to their staff building for cold storage.
Probably the most exciting new development for the Bellevue Mine is that because of the success of the two “Music for the Mine” events, $15,000 in proceeds is being used to contract out work for a preliminary design concept for a new operations center. The mine has been operating for years with a series of small combined buildings that cannot properly handle their high volume of traffic. Stantec Consulting Ltd, a professional engineering, consulting and design service, is currently working on a plan for architectural drawings for a new mine interpretation building. The Bellevue Mine is also partnering with Provincial Historical Resources, addressing the preservation of the Machine Wall – and will be part of the whole process from initial drawings to the post-construction phase of the building. Remember that the Bellevue Mine will continue their facility fundraising with yet another Music for the Mine bash next year on March 29th. The event is always a good time with silent and live auctions and a dinner and dance.
There is a new Executive Director at the mine and she comes with some impressive qualifications. Her name is Crystal Anne Potts-Jensen and she has a background in business management and communications. Crystal is currently enrolled in the Alberta Museum Association’s museum studies program and is also enrolled in the Financial Management in Cultural Organizations course out of the University of Victoria. They are conducting this course in partnership with the Alberta Museum Association in Edmonton scheduled for January 2014.
Crystal Potts-Jensen is on a mission to open communication between the mine and the public with an eye to exposing local residents to the Bellevue Mine’s rich history. Educational outreach programs for local schools and seniors centre’s are being developed to take the interpretive tour to those who are unable to visit the mine.
According to Potts-Jensen: “By creating clear policies and procedures for our endeavors whether in human resources, our collection and archives or financial operations we will define the Crowsnest Pass Ecomuseum Trust Society through our successes in achieving our objectives. We will continue to develop this unique Ecomuseum by preserving and interpreting the historic coal mining industry in the Crowsnest Pass.”
With a dynamic new director and a board committed to this plan there is no-where but up for the Bellevue Mine to go. And for the Crowsnest Pass community looking to keep the visitor experience diverse and interesting this is good news.