Winter has not been kind to the people who look after the historic Atlas Coal Mine.
Not only did they lose the furnace in their office building to a flood, but the wintry weather also delayed the final reconstruction work for the wooden tipple.
"We had a little bit of an early winter and we didn't get the roofing quite put up, so we will have some more of that to finish up this spring," outlined curator Jay Russell. "Once all that is done, I believe the core of the main restoration of the tipple has been completed, which is an amazing feeling to have."
The roughly $1 million project was split into four main parts and the work was spread out over several years and Russell said it's great to see it coming together.
"When I was a university student working here in the summers, a lot of this stuff all seemed like amazing dreams: wouldn't that be something if we could take people inside the tipple, wouldn't it be something if we had the wash house finished and restored, wouldn't it be something if we could have a train ride here," he remembered. "But we had people here right from the beginning that said no, that's not someday, we're going to do this."
"I'm so pleased with our predecessors like Anna Robertson and Linda Digby, who put in applications to make us a national historic site," Russell added. "Omer Patric, the mine owner, when he handed the whole coal mine over to the museum, it was like well, if I can't create jobs in coal mining I'd love to see East Coulee have jobs in tourism."
Ironically, between the Atlas Mine, the East Coulee School Museum and other local attractions, tourism, culture and the arts is the biggest employer in the east end fo the Drumheller Valley.