B&B Mines open space deal pushed back
BRECKENRIDGE – The Breckenridge Town Council, in a special meeting Monday afternoon, agreed to continue to its Dec. 14 meeting an emergency ordinance addressing mine cleanup responsibilities that must be settled before the landmark open space purchase of B&B Mines property in the Golden Horseshoe.The deal was supposed to close today, but the consent decree isn’t completely finished, said town attorney Tim Berry. The consent decree spells out the environmental issues and, Berry said, details with the state about covenants limiting the state’s ability to sue have to be finished.The new closing date is Dec. 17, more than three years after the town and county began working out the sales agreement and the consent decree.The town and county are paying $2 million less than the $9 million property value and in return, cleaning up three contaminated mine sites.The most contaminated site is the Wellington-Oro Mine in French Gulch; the recommended cleanup treatment there is to build a water treatment plant to improve water standards in French Creek. The other sites, the Jessie Mill and Royal Tiger Mine, will require less intensive surface cleanup.The consent decree limits any future liability to the town and county should any other contamination be found or should the cleaning remedies fail.”We will not have 100 percent protection,” said town manager Tim Gagen. “But it will be very low risk.””We’re not off the hook liabilitywise,” said Mayor Ernie Blake. “But it’s a risk I’m willing to take.”A series of public meetings will be held once the land is in the possession of the town and county to develop a master plan as to how the land will be managed. Preliminary discussions indicate existing uses will continue to be allowed, historic amenities will be promoted more and the area will be touted as a recreation area.The town and county are splitting the $9 million cost of the land, which totals 1,842 acres of backcountry in the Swan and French Gulch drainages, the area known as the Golden Horseshoe. The sales agreement details who will be responsible for which mining cleanup and a lengthy agreement forged between the town, county, Environmental Protection Agency, Colorado Public Health and Environment, and other agencies limiting any potential future liability on the town and county.That agreement is what has delayed the closing on the property this summer. Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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