Brian Charlton expects Cumberland will be teeming with more history lovers than normal, come June 2014.
Charlton sits on the board of the Cumberland and District Historical Society and is a trustee with the Pacific Northwest Labour History Association (PNLHA). He presented plans to Cumberland council Monday, which see Miners Memorial Weekend and the PNLHA’s annual conference merge into one weekend, June 13 to 15, 2014.
“The Miners’ Memorial and the Pacific Northwest Labour History conference could be dovetailed nicely,” Charlton told councillors. “And we think that it would meet the needs of both organizations very well.”
Charlton said the PHLHA strives to research and preserve labour history, make society more aware of that history and relate it to today. The association puts out a calendar each year, and organizes an annual conference in June, which academics and trade union activists from B.C., Washington and Oregon typically attend.
He added this year’s conference was held in Portland, Ore., and most of the conferences are held in larger urban centres. But, the association wanted a new location in B.C. this year and it has voted in favour of having the 2014 conference in Cumberland.
Charlton noted the PNLHA’s conference will give the Cumberland Museum some more publicity and possibly create some new donors, and Cumberland’s rich history will make the new conference location exciting for attendees.
According to Charlton, the PNLHA conference held in June saw over 170 registrants, and though Cumberland is smaller, he said he’s confident the conference in Cumberland could see the same numbers, or more.
Plus, he pointed out the economic spinoffs, like people eating in restaurants, using accommodations and generally seeing what Cumberland, and the Comox Valley, has to offer.
“I think one of the most important things, actually, is that once people come here, once they’ve been to Cumberland and the Comox Valley, the sheer beauty and the history of the Cumberland area will bring them back,” Charlton told council.
He asked council to endorse the conference, designate a staff representative as a liaison to conference organizers, help publicize the event through the Village website and newsletters, and will likely want to use some Village-owned venues for the conference.
Mayor Leslie Baird told him the matter will be discussed at the July 22 council meeting.