Cumberland volunteers appreciate being appreciated

The Village of Cumberland has recognized a group of dedicated volunteers who have beautified a former dumping ground at the No. 6 Mine Memorial Park behind the CRI.

FROM LEFT

FROM LEFT

The Village of Cumberland has recognized a group of dedicated volunteers who have beautified a former dumping ground at  the No. 6 Mine Memorial Park behind the CRI.

Several members of the gardening group attended a recent council meeting, where they received environmental appreciation awards.

“We really appreciate it,” Richard Kitto said of the acknowledgement. “The park’s come a long way in 15 years …. It’s kind of a labour of love.”

For two hours every Tuesday morning, the volunteers weed, water, collect trash and pluck Scotch broom — anything necessary to maintain the park that pays homage to 295 miners who lost their lives in coal mine accidents from 1874 to 1964.

“The volunteers have been working in the park about 15 years,” said Kitto, a six-year volunteer. “Before that, a lot of debris and junk had accumulated.”

Before becoming the place it is today, the area was littered with old cars and fridges, and overgrown with broom, blackberries and debris. That all changed when the late Ron Bannerman, his parents John and Alice, and his wife Cindy decided to clean it up.

Cindy Bannerman is still part of the gardening group, which at present consists of about eight members. Village workers lend a hand by cutting most of the grass with a ride-on mower.

One side of the park contains a shelter, under which sits the No. 6 Mine memorial. The shelter also serves a practical purpose. Last weekend, for instance, it hosted a wedding. Nearby, a slope mine entrance replica will be installed.

The other side of the park is highlighted by a playground, which will soon be upgraded thanks to matching donations of $7,500 each from the Rotary Club of Cumberland Centennial and the Village.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com