The Vancouver Island Placer Miner's Association (VIPMA) was founded July 16, 1997 with 12 member, Bruce Chaytor was president and remained so until 2018. Today VIPMA averages around 100 members and the club is split, half being claim owners and the other half being members with Panning Licenses actively mining in groups on club owned Placer Claims. The Club retains five claims, maintained by the Association making Placer Mining available to it's mining membership on a recreational basis. The 3 claims on Timber West lands, the Sooke River Claim and the Sombrio Claim are under Blair Morris and Kelly Wagner as co-owners; they are held in trust by these two people for VIPMA, as Executive Members. Only executive members can hold these claims in trust.

Members without purchasing panning licenses are not to be on these claims.  All panners who access any of the these claims have a responsibility to file a work report available online.  Those who go as a work crew with the Mine Manager or the appointed agent or host, that person will fill the form. These hours must be reported. Claims annually require a SOW filed and must work with the owners of the claim to be appointed as an agent.  If individuals go to these claims without previous contact with Kelly Wagner or Blair Morris, then you are doing so illegally as you must be part of a crew or an appointed agent.  Failing to do so, affects your social license, and can lead to cancellation of your membership.  The Mine Manager or appointed agent always has the last word, his/her decision rules, on all outings. Watch out for each other at all times, be ready to help, as it is a group effort. Last but not least remember Placer Miners and members of the association are good stewards of the land, take out all waste, do not leave anything and that includes cigarette butts.  In high fire season, note that SMOKING IS NOT ALLOWED ON THE CLAIMS EVEN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RIVER.

Choose beforehand if you want a Panner's License and apply for it with your membership. If you do not have a claim you will want a Panner's License to go on outings. Many members with claims retain a panner's license as they also like to go to the club claims. Timber West has changed the rules, all who wish to mine on the claims on TW Lands held in trust for VIPMA by Kelly Wagner and Blair Morris must work with both to see if they can be appointed as agents or as crew to work the lands.  The Mine Managers will approve the process, according to Mining Law.

Sue Kristiansen has been the Pannings Outings Host for a few years now and does a tremendous job.  Outings are always fun, happy, and productive.

Leechtown Part 1 - Author Bart van den Berk© www.leechtownhistory.ca 

(First Reader) Donna Chaytor recommends the reading of this book to have a complete understanding of how Victoria was put on the map, how Vancouver island was put on the map, and how British Columbia became a part of Canada - which is in most likelihood the most important value to this book as it relates to the history of Placer Mining and how it brought viable communities and wealth to the island with the discovery of gold and how this continued across British Columbia blazing trails through some of the roughest of lands and building economies that are today still flourishing all on the tailings of the Placer Miner. 


This Section of our Website is to add some history pertaining to Placer Mining in Leechtown in the last 50 years.  VIPMA is asking all members and any visitors to this site who have pictures, old maps, information, etc., to please contact vipma@shaw.ca so that we can preserve the history of Placer Mining on Vancouver Island.


The Club Claims of VIPMA were the original claims held by Don Razzo and his partner Deloris.  The beginning of this series is dedicated to Don and Deloris, we don't have a lot of photos etc. on either Don or Deloris; but we have managed to get a couple and hopefully over time others will find the time to donate pictures and help us build the story of Don and Deloris, for which we would be most thankful.

Photo (1) Don's Samples of what our claim produced - 1978 

"Panning Demonstration at Luxton - Cal Web:Bruce Chaytor:Don Razzo