Del Boesem has been wrenching on machines for as long as he can remember and has now turned his considerable talents and skills to the Antique Machinery Park and its many displays and equipment.
“I was raised on a farm with no electricity and have worked on machinery all my life,” he said.
“I want to see these old machines restored so people know that history. Many people remember these machines from their own past.”
Boesem is the president of the Quesnel and District Heritage Association, which manages the AMP, the organization and its members want to increase public awareness and participation in the machinery park.
“We’re looking to enter into partnerships with various community groups, especially youth groups,” he said.
QDHA has secured a long-term lease with the City of Quesnel, who own the facility and the grounds and with renewed good relations with city council, they are looking for provincial and federal grants to help with restoration projects.
The association is also a member of the B.C. Museum Association and have information brochures in various tourism outlets and businesses in order to increase the traffic through the museum.
A very special day is planned for June 23, a Family Fun Day at the Antique Machinery Park to showcase the accomplishments of the members and to encourage others to possibly join in the rewarding work of restoration and antique management.
Boesem feels there’s a wealth of potential at the park and members have been reaching out to various tourist operations to bring visitors to the unique operation.
“Rocky Mountaineer management have arranged to bus train passengers to the museum should enough be interested,” he said.
Boesem added they are also actively seeking corporate and commercial partners for sponsorship and participation.
“Right now we have a caterpillar Model 20 crawler, circa 1926 and a caterpillar R4, circa 1932, both of which could use the love and support of someone from the community,” he said.
“We’re looking for new members to embrace one of our many projects waiting to be restored or help with ongoing projects.”
Boesem is proud of the reputation the park is gaining for quality restorations including the 1846 Barkerville sawmill and the restored sawmill at the machinery park where all the lumber for the Barkerville waterwheel was milled.
Right now current members are cleaning and painting older model tractors and preparing the park for Family Day.
Getting to the celebration just got easier as well, with Gold Pan City stage lines providing visitors with transportation from the clock in Spirit Square at 9:45 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and Maple Park Mall at 10 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.
“At 3:15 p.m. those passengers who arrived by bus will be returned to the pickup points,” Boesem said.
And for disabled and senior visitors, Handidart is offering transportation to and from the park by appointment only. Those arrangements must be made before June 22.
Family Fun Day at the Antique Machinery Park runs all day Saturday, with live demonstrations of the sawmill, blacksmith shop, jaws of life, First Nations dancing, two local bands, food booths, complimentary coffee and thousands of artifacts.
The AMP is located 12 km south of downtown Quesnel on Dragon Lake Road just off Highway 97.