Chris Mathieson (at left) with staff and Grist Mill Foundation members in 2015 celebrating with a glass of heritage apple cider moments after it was made public Monday that the heritage site’s contract has been renewed. Western News file photo

Long-term stability for the Grist Mill

A 10-year lease was accepted for Mathieson Heritage Services to act as stewards of the Grist Mill

A 10-year lease was accepted for Mathieson Heritage Services to act as stewards of the Grist Mill and Gardens Provincial Heritage Site in Keremeos.

Mathieson Heritage Services will turn into Grist Mill CCC, a new Community Contribution Corporation as part of the lease agreement. [Details here.]

“We’re thrilled to finally have the security that comes with holding long-term tenure on the site,” said Chris Mathieson, founder of Mathieson Heritage Services. “We’re also excited to be leading the way with our new business model, and to be the first Community Contribution Corporation to receive tenure on Crown Land in the Province of B.C.”

A Community Contribution Corporation is for-profit company that is — by recent changes to the B.C. Business Corporations Act — in many of same ways non-profits and charities are. The other major difference is that C3s are subject to a higher degree of accountability – for example, they must have three directors, instead of just one, and are required to publish an annual “community contribution” report describing their activities.

Related: Grist Mill contract renewed

“We are delighted to have been entrusted with this gem of the Similkameen Valley and look forward to continuing to make the Grist Mill and Gardens the destination for tourism, community building and appreciation of our exceptional shared heritage,” said Mathieson.

The 2017 season will be the first one for Grist Mill CCC and they will be hosting several stakeholder engagement events through the year as they plan out the next decade of operation on the site. Mathieson said they also particularly look forward to preparing and publishing their first community contribution report in about a year to detail the ways in which they have met the community objectives.

The Grist Mill at Keremeos, founded in 1877 as a water-powered flour mill, was designated as a Provincial Heritage Site in 1974. It is the only working waterwheel-powered flour mill in Western Canada.