A small scale example of how big the maximus dinosaur is compared to Sparwood's Titan truck. (Image courtesy of District of Sparwood)

Sparwood goes digging for fossils (maybe)

The district is exploring options that could see it acquire a giant dinosaur skeleton

The district of Sparwood has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a media company so it can do it’s homework on potentially acquiring a full-size 200 foot-long dinosaur skeleton statue for a movie (among other things).

The MOU gives Sparwood district staff 60 days to investigate funding and partnering opportunities with the company Myth Merchant Films and it’s film ‘Maximus: Rise of the Super Titan’.

The IMAX film which is due to be released in 2023 is about the largest dinosaur fossils found to date. While the Maximus dinosaur itself wasn’t found in the Sparwood area, there are significant fossil discoveries in the Elk Valley (such as the ammonite fossil) and of similar dinosaur species in the area mined by Teck.

The partnership is being explored as a potential way to diversify Sparwood’s economy by bringing in a new revenue stream through merchandising and licensing, and attracting more tourists thanks to a giant statue that would dwarf the Titan truck.

According to a staff report, the district has two options available to it that would provide it with revenue streams.

The two options are US$9.8 million (for 60 percent of merchandising revenue and 5 percent of box office revenue) and US$22 million (for 100 percent of merchandising, 100 percent of licensing and 20 percent of box office revenue). Sparwood would get credits and a spotlight in the film itself.

(Sparwood gets a giant statue in both options).

Speaking to the item at the June 1 council meeting, Mayor David Wilks said that he was planning to meet with Teck representatives to gauge whether there were partnership opportunities, saying that “certainly the District of Sparwood would not by any circumstances be doing this alone, because we don’t have the money.”

Wilks talked up the potential opportunity available to Teck as a potential partner in helping Sparwood secure more tourism chops.

“This is a positive – this is digging back 90 million years and finding history that is found in very little places in the world.”

He also said that it was a good opportunity for the district to diversify it’s economy, especially given the fossil artifacts found in the Elk Valley was ‘significant’ and something to be highlighted.

And, if it was agreed to, Sparwood would have something to pull people off the highway with, as if the Titan truck wasn’t enough.

The MOU costs the district nothing, and the district is not bound to enter into any agreement before it expires at the end of July.

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scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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