Miners Memorial closed to the public
Thursday, 22nd May, 2014
By Erica Visser
The city’s iconic Miners Memorial atop the Line of Lode will tonight be closed to the public indefinitely.
The Miners Memorial, lookout and Broken Earth restaurant are situated on top of land included set within CBH Resources’ mining lease.
Since the restaurant closed in January, CBH and the lessee of the closed-down cafe have kept the gates to the popular tourist site open.
However, the mining company was worried about public liability problems and had applied to the State Government to relinquish surface rights for the land.
It found out earlier this week that the process would take months longer than it expected and so it made the tough decision to close the gates indefinitely at 6pm tonight.
CBH Resources General Manager Rob Williamson said yesterday that the company had made its decision “reluctantly”.
“We had the advice (to stop access) originally when the cafe closed but we’ve kept it open in good faith because it’s an important aspect of this town’s tourism,” Mr Williamson said.
“It will remain closed until the relinquishment is accepted... Hopefully it can be resolved quickly.”
Crown Lands, which inherited the Line of Lode assets in 2010, has agreed to take on the land.
A spokesman for Crown Lands yesterday told the BDT the department was still considering its position regarding the closure, as it had only been informed on Tuesday this week.
Mr Williamson said that delays in the relinquishment process were to blame for the closure.
“This week we received feedback... requesting more information for our submission,” he said. “It’s going back and forth.”
A spokeswoman for the NSW Division of Resources and Energy said that “further information is required... about ongoing stability of the stockpile, any required maintenance, water management and discharge from the site.
“These typically take a few months but can take longer as it depends on the company providing sufficient detail in the ... to ensure the department is satisfied with the post-closure land use and rehabilitation levels.”
Mr Williamson said that public liability had been a “grey area.”
“The reason we were hesitant in the first place is that there had been some incidents over people claiming injury, particularly at the big red chair.”
The chair was chained off in February following a risk assessment.
The restaurant lessee, Wilson Cuy Pty Ltd, will continue to use the site for private tour groups.
There is still more than three years left on the lease but the lessees are hoping another party will take it over and reopen the restaurant.