The Bowater Mersey mill was been part of Queens County for over 80 years, and a central part of life for many of its residents. So it makes sense that there is plenty of history still sitting in its now silent halls.
The unions, also with a long and proud tradition in our county, have so much history behind them as well.
There is the potential though that it will all be shipped off to the Nova Scotia archives. While they would certainly take good care of the material, it would be so much better if it could find a home right in our county.
In documenting the history of Queens County, we talk a lot about the Mi'kmaw people, the European settlement, Privateering and ship building. The 20th century though was dominated by forestry.
Perhaps because most of us are still living through it we don't necessarily see it as history yet, but it is. Now that we are no longer producing paper, it is time to write that chapter for our county. The task will be much more difficult if all the material is shipped off to Halifax.
The challenge will be there isn't an empty space set up to take in all of this material, or at least not one ready to go.
One place to potentially house it would be the Queens County Museum. Granted it would need an expansion to fit it all in, but it would be a worthwhile investment.
The museum has been looking to expand for years, and has started with their exhibit on the Liverpool Packet slated to open early next year. A solid investment could allow the museum to have their Mi'kmaq display of artifacts from the Mersey River, a greatly expanded Privateering display and a whole new display on forestry in Queens. Design it right, and it could become a key attraction of to the community.
There is also plenty of space at the former mill site. No doubt room could be found to create a tribute to the legacy of the mill. A partnership could be formed with the museum to do a proper job of showcasing the historical material.
These are only suggestions of course, and it will take a lot of work for any of them to become a reality. A completely different option could also come forward as well. The point isn't really that any of these could be done, but rather something should be done.
With Innovacorp moving in quickly and getting ready to redesign the mill, we need to let the right people know what we want done with the historical material that belongs to the county. Otherwise, once it is gone it is not coming back.