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A green venture sprouts out of the black embers of a burned dream

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
May 17th, 2011

One year ago flames destroyed a dream of a group of Meadow Creek residents for the creation of a central community entrepreneurial space.

Two of the Lardeau Valley’s oldest structures — both of the traditional timber frame Marblehead buildings and part of the Marblehead quarry that started in 1895 and ran until about 1940 — were completely destroyed in a May 13 fire.

But a phoenix has arisen from the ashes of that fire, as the volunteer group Lakehead and Beyond has announced they are not going to let their dream of revitalizing agriculture and creating jobs in the Lardeau Valley die.

At the time of the fire, Meadow Creek resident Fiona Daniels said there were other uses being explored for the Marblehead buildings, many of which came forward in a community meeting held on April 22, 2010.

She said a group of 11 people had formed to purchase and restore the main heritage building — vacant since 1989 — and open it as an entrepreneurial centre for residents of the Lardeau Valley.

Today, a 2.5-acre fenced garden space has been created on a piece of land in Meadow Creek near where the mill had burned, with a 3,000 square-foot greenhouse on the site.

All of the labour and the materials were donated to the cause as the community got behind the project.

Now, with a CSA (Community Sustainable Agriculture) program in place, people from Argenta to Kaslo could be receiving a box of fresh produce every week. People can call 250-399-4379 to sign up for the CSA.

A very small group in the Meadow Creek area resisted the idea for the green project, that included rentable office space, an artisan’s centre for local artists with a shop and gallery and a needed animal feed and farm store.

They were of the “old school,” Daniels said, ones that wanted to see the big mills coming back to the area.

Cpl. Chris Backus of the Kaslo RCMP said the community was divided over the use for the buildings and, coupled with the suspicious nature of the fire, a criminal investigation was undertaken. Police did not consider the incident a random act of arson.

One year later no one has been charged in the incident.

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