The ongoing debate between the TRMF (Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation) and the Mayor and Council must be resolved as a matter of urgency. The TRMF was hoping to obtain a letter of support from the Mayor and Council with which to improve their chances to obtain Provincial and Federal grants. Should there be further delays in obtaining this letter, other communities will get these funds and Tumbler Ridge will lose a wonderful opportunity. As a result of many hours of volunteer work the TRMF is in a unique position to be considered for the funding of a world class museum. What are we going to tell our grandchildren when the dinosaur skeleton which lies in a canyon close to town is finally excavated and shipped to Drumheller? What mumbled excuses will our grandchildren have for their great-grandchildren when other dinosaur skeletons are transported to centers around the world rather than being displayed here in Tumbler Ridge for lack of a suitable museum? Perhaps the present museum will still be in operation, housing a few relics while the main prizes are transported elsewhere.
The value of Tumbler Ridge is not measured in weeks or years or dollars; rather it is an area of profound interest. Long after coal is no longer used as a fuel, Tumbler Ridge will be of vital importance to the province and indeed to Canada. It is hard to conceive of the length of time it has taken to fossilize a dinosaur. It is even difficult to imagine what Tumbler Ridge will be like in 200 years. Suffice to say the dinosaurs will still be here and it is incumbent upon us to ensure that they stay in this town in a suitable museum.
The time for words is over. Action now, please! Shelve those egos and let us get to work to find a way around this conundrum. Nowhere in recent letters to your paper can I find a short definitive answer as to why the Mayor and Council are dampening the enthusiasm and the momentum of the TRMF. Why are they doing this? Why do they not step up to the plate and support a unique organization in this small community? The need to diversify an economy of a town like Tumbler Ridge is obvious. None of us will ever forget the effect of the closure of the Bullmoose and Quintette Mines in this community. Presently things are going well but it won?t be long before coal prices crash, mines close and people drift away from the town. Already the Emperors Challenge Mountain Marathon as we know it is threatened and we can?t afford to lose other attactions. More people are indeed visiting Tumbler Ridge as evidenced by the building of a new hotel in town. What is it that the Mayor and Council has against the TRMF and the town of Tumbler Ridge? No doubt they will come up with a list as they have in the past but surely it is time to take positive action. In his recent letter the Mayor claimed that he is not exercising delaying tactics but wanted to instigate a study of the study that has been done. He has invited the president of the TRMF to further talks on his return to Tumbler Ridge. We can indeed continue to talk but let us get on with the job in hand and apply for those funds with our letter of support from the Mayor and Council.
The suggestion that the TRMF would enter talks with the Mayor where stronger stuff than coffee would be served is inappropriate. We are sure the Mayor did not mean this.
Can Tumbler Ridge afford to let this opportunity go a begging?
The best laid plans of Mayors and men go oft astray. With apologies to Robbie Burns.
Nigel Mathews Pemberton