Yellowknifers lobby council to save Robertson headframe

Dozens of people turned out to Yellowknife City Hall Tuesday to voice their support of saving Con Mine's Robertson headframe.

Councillors decide to negotiate possible transfer of ownership of headframe to city

Dozens of people who support preserving Con Mine's Robertson headframe packed into a municipal services committee meeting at Yellowknife City Hall Tuesday. (Elizabeth McMillan/CBC)

Dozens of people turned out to Yellowknife City Hall Tuesday to voice their support of saving Con Mine's Robertson headframe.

The iconic structure on the city's skyline is expected to be torn down as part of the clean-up of the defunct gold mine.

Today councillors decided to allow city administrators to negotiate a possible transfer of ownership of the headframe from Newmont Mining Corporation. They amended a motion that would have locked them into taking over responsibility for the structure. 

The Robertson headframe, which was built in the mid-1970s at Yellowknife's Con Mine, is an iconic part of the city's skyline. (CBC)

City council has been debating whether to save the structure for months. Today's debate means a final decision will be deferred even longer. 

An engineer's report estimates it would cost the city more than $235,000 in the first year to fix up and maintain the headframe, and and another quarter million over the next decade. Some councillors say they need more information before approving the transfer because of unknown costs. 

City administration was recommending that council not save the structure. A crowd of about 40 people listened to today's debate and several spoke at a protest outside city hall before the meeting. 

"I just think it's a sin and a shame," said protester Colin Barney. "It's an insult to the miners and tradesmen and families that have lost lives and bled blood, sweat and tears in this mine. I mean, what's next? They're going to tear down Pilot's Monument?"