Goats were on the job at Morden Mine Colliery Historic Park last week, helping volunteers in the push to preserve coal mining history.
A refreshed Friends of the Morden Mine Society that’s taken over the quest to save the concrete headframe and tipple hired goats to mow down vegetation surrounding the historic structure.
When the newly elected board was hired earlier this year, its aim was to try new avenues to save the relic, built in 1913, including accessing grants and appealing to businesses.
Sandra Larocque, co-president, said the goal is still to save the structure, but it’s not known if that can be done. The group wants technical advice and she said it’s trying to solicit help from local government and looking at corporate donations, but is not having a lot of success. She hopes there is a breakthrough and by cleaning the site up and bringing more people to the area, that there will be more interest in trying to save the mine so it doesn’t fall down.
The latest move by the society has been to hire Parksville-based Goats on the Hoof Vegetation Management to clear out the weeds surrounding the mine, with money donated by Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley. Larocque said it’s hoped by getting weeds out it won’t crack the cement as much when it freezes and thaws.
A 2014 report by Read Jones Christoffersen Consulting Engineers showed deterioration of structural elements are prevalent and typically from freeze thaw damage. It recommended periodic ground clearing. The society also needed to clean up the base of the mine, tipple and headframe to see if it could fix anything, said Larocque, who said the goats are not harmful to the environment and it’s without a lot of risk to people. Any piece of the structure can fall down at any minute, she said.
Eleven goats were hard at work between Tuesday and Friday last week, under the supervision of business co-owner Beverly Ness.
“It’s really been a remarkable transformation so we can actually see the pillars and see where work needs to be done,” said Larocque. “It was really grown in before.”