Penobsquis — Government officials and inspectors from WorkSafeNB have approved plans to allow Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan to turn their Penobsquis mine site into a new rec centre-type facility in an attempt to reclaim some value lost after the mine’s closure.
With the future of the PotashCorp Civic Centre hanging in the balance, the western Canadian company decided to close its doors permanently in a move they believe will better serve the community’s needs.
The facility will boast, among other attractions, a large brine-water pool with conveyor-belt waterslides, as well as a gym and walking track.
“The pool is basically a mineral bath with all the salt particles dissolved in the water, and with new safety rails the conveyor belts are easily repurposed,” said PotashCorp president and CEO Jochen Tilk.
“For the gym we’ll open one of the side tunnels and allow members to chip away at the potash with pickaxes and carry it to waiting underground railcars. That should get the sweat flowing!”
As a sort of high-impact walking track, members will be invited to push the cars along the rails to an elevator, which will then take the materials to the surface. The money earned from the hand-mined potash will go to the members who mined it to help offset the cost of a nearly $5,000 monthly fee to use the mammoth facility.
“It costs about 900 thousand per month just to turn the lights and water pumps on, so we need to make sure this is a sustainable business,” said Tilk.
The mine boasts a temperature of over 20 degrees Celsius underground regardless of the season, so it will truly be a year-round facility for Sussex-area residents.
“I’ve always wanted to see what’s down there!” exclaimed Irma Pond, an excited local. “I’ve never really cared for exercise, mind you, but who knows, it might be neat in that kind of environment!”
The new additions are slated to open late October — just in time for Halloween. Activities coordinators are hinting at opening up the site for a haunted tour where visitors will explore the mine using night-vision goggles with zombies, mummies and other scary creatures jumping out to give people a fright.