Mathieson hopes to take Grist Mill to new level

Heritage site operator hoping to have his deal renewed to run popular Keremeos attraction

Chris Mathieson has no doubts about wanting to secure the next contract for operating the Keremeos Grist Mill and Gardens.

“I love the site, love the community. I am really excited at the possibilities,” said Mathieson.

“When I first submitted my initial expression a year ago, the intention at the time was that it was going to be for a five-year contract.”

Due to reorganization at the Heritage Ministry, Mathieson’s original contract was for one year, with an option to extend for a second year. But the ministry is already looking to set up a new contract.

Mathieson, however, said the request for expressions of interest isn’t because the ministry isn’t satisfied with the job he’s doing.

“I know for a fact they’re thrilled. It is about internal stuff on their side,” said Mathieson. “They decided we’re not going to worry about that extra year. I will probably be asking for  a 10-year contract, at least.”

Dave Cursons of the Grist Mill Society agrees the ministry is looking for a long-term deal.

“They want somebody there for a long time,” said Cursons, who approves of the changes Mathieson has been implementing, including bringing craftsman Cuyler Page in to continue restoration of the mill works.

Page, according to Curson, is working on parts of the mill he wasn’t able to finish when he last worked on the grist mill in 2002.

“That includes making sure the wheel has enough torque to turn cleaner, grinder and sifter,” said Curson. “Hopefully we will be able to see all three going by the end of the summer.”

Mathieson has also arranged a series of concerts, regular talks on historic subjects, a newsletter and even a Sunday afternoon jam session for musicians.

“It is turning out to be an interesting year,” said Curson. “It’s fun to work with someone who has high energy and enthusiasm and is in touch in a particular way, because of his skills around social media.”

Mathieson said he is just trying to bring some activity to the site, which has suffered a decline in attendance in recent years.

“A lot has to do with how little activity was happening on the site. I don’t think it was because of the site, I don’t think it was because tourism is declining. In fact, tourism is increasing in a lot of places right now,” said Mathieson. “There are opportunities there, and they just have to be taken advantage of.”

Those opportunities include everything from the grist mill itself to the heritage orchard and other amenities.

“The heritage buildings on the property are second to none. It is just a matter of taking advantage of those things and making sure we are doing events here more often, that we are finding ways to better engage with this community,” said Mathieson. “My wife and son and I have moved to Keremeos, we live here now. We’re part of the community and I think being a part of this community makes a huge difference in terms of the kind of support you get.”



Just Posted

Renderings of what the skating rink could look like beside City Hall between Martin and Main in downtown Penticton. (Activate Penticton image)
Penticton to get outdoor ice rink for winter 2021

It’s hoped the rink will be ready to host 2022 BCHL’s 60th year celebration

The fate of Skaha Marina and its operations will be decided Saturday, June 19 on general election day. (File photo)
Penticton city hosted last forum before voters decide on fate of Skaha Marina

Residents share concerns about length of operations agreement, parking and control of park

Travel Penticton went to city council for support in increasing the tax on short-term stays to fund a convention bureau and affordable housing. (File photo)
Travel Penticton seeks to grow through increased hotel tax

The increased funds would go to creating a convention bureau and to affordable housing

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Penticton Indian Band joins for the Children Caravan to Kamloops

The Okanagan Nation Alliance has arranged a ceremony for local nations to pay respects

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Grace (left), a caribou that was born in a maternal pen north of Revelstoke, is alive and well said the province. It appears she even has a calf. Maternity pens aim to increase caribou calf survival by protecting them from predation until they are older and less vulnerable. (Contributed)
For the first time in years, caribou numbers increasing near Revelstoke

North herd growing but south herd still concerning

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Kelowna General Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna General Hospital declared over

Three people tested positive for the virus — two patients and one staff — one of whom died

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics and found that 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras contained high levels of fluorine

Most Read