15 years on, a Quintette reunion in the works

Trent Ernst, Editor


It was 15 years ago that Quintette Coal shut down.

This would have been a good year to have an anniversary, but, admit Karen Connelly and Marg Wheeler, the de facto organizers for the event, the idea came a little late.

Connelly was the first hire for Quintette. “The doors to the office in Dawson Creek were opened Sept 1981,” she says, “and I was first person hired. Other employees were Dennison Mine people.”

“Gord Sandford said in April we should do it this year,” says Connelly, “but that wasn’t enough time.”

So July 22–24 of 2016 will be the first ever Quintette Employee Reunion.

Wheeler says the event will kick off on Friday night with a meet and greet. “We’re hoping to do it at the Curling rink. Then that night, we’re planning on having a dinner and a dance.”

“Don’t forget that we’re tentatively planning on having a golf tournament that weekend, too,” says Connelly.

“And the Lions have already said they will do a Pancake Breakfast for us,” says Wheeler.

Connelly says the reunion will be happening the week before Grizfest. “Then the next weekend is Emperor’s Challenge, so there will be three weekends of activities in town.”

For anyone who is thinking about attending, the registration deadline will probably be at the end of April, but right now, they’re still early in the planning stages. In fact, they haven’t even held their official planning meeting, which they’re hoping to do sometime in the next few months. “The best thing to do is join the Quintette reunion page on Facebook,” says Connelly. “As we know more things, we’ll keep people posted.”

So why a Quintette reunion? “To bring people back to town,” says Connelly. “Most of these people haven’t been back since Quintette shut down. There could be up to 700 or 800 people who show up.”

“It started out as a plant reunion, but that would have been no fun,” says Wheeler. “So it will be open to all former employees of Quintette. We’ve already approached Teck to see if they’ll sponsor.”

In addition, the women are planning on setting up local tours and events so people who haven’t been back to town in 15 years (or longer) can see some of the new developments.

Memorabilia from back in the day is encouraged. “If you still have your ID card,” says Wheeler. “Bring it and wear it.”

Wheeler admits that not everyone who worked at the mine is on Facebook. “Hopefully, word of mouth will get the word to them. We’re probably going to have to send out some invitations, but mainly to some of the managers.”

Of course, not everyone who worked at the mine will be able to attend. “We have a list of people who have passed on,” says Wheeler. “It’s quite a list and it’s growing.”