Regarding the Sept. 20 editorial, Fossil Award Masks Years of Inaction.
Firstly, the application did not win the provincial Premier’s Award in that category, it won a regional Premier’s Award. As such it is in the running for the Premier’s Awards, which are yet to be given out.
However, my main concern is with the second last paragraph, “. . . after years of inaction and a failed memorandum of understanding.”
This take on what transpired between the claim owners, government and the scientific community before the heritage designation is only one person’s perspective. As a person who was directly affected by these newspaper releases and what transpired, I hold a different perspective.
The government was not inactive. It responded to constant claims of mismanagement of the site and through its investigations, found no wrongdoing.
Government also been in constant contact with us since 2007. I helped them with requests as to the current and future running of the site. Their approach has always been to protect the site in such a way that it can be enjoyed by everyone in the future.
And the memorandum of understanding was working. Significant specimens were still being donated, despite the B.C. Paleontological Alliance pulling out of it.
In fact, by 2011, we, the claim owners and myself, were the only ones still following the agreement.
The memorandum was not a failure. But one person managed to persuade the public that we could not be trusted.
And that is what the issue really boils down to: trust. There was none from the scientific community save one professional. We were painted as these horrible fossil dealers who were destroying B.C.’s fossil heritage.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Some people made their careers from our generosity of donating significant fossils. That is never mentioned.
Some people constantly mention the number of significant specimens that had gone missing. That is in itself a hypothetical number that can not be postulated. However, the actual number of donated specimens is never mentioned.
The public story has been painted by half truths and innuendo.
All the negative claims made are not untrue. But a very important part of the story that does not fit the accusations has been conveniently dropped.
Today the site is protected, which is good. I look forward to the day when it will re-open and the public can enjoy all that it has to offer and science can get busy instead of bellyaching.
Ex-tour guide, ex-mine manager, ex-webmaster
McAbee Fossil Beds