Terrace city council has agreed to send a letter to the provincial government urging it to forgive a longstanding loan the Shames Mountain Ski Corporation has yet to pay off and to forgive lease payments owed to the province.
The request, which would wipe put more than $400,000 in debt, was one of several on wish list presented to council March 14 by a group that wants to buy the corporation.
Council also agreed to make direct representations to the province for loan and lease payment forgiveness.
If the loans and lease payments are forgiven, the ski corporation has said it will reduce its asking price of $1.29 million by an equivalent amount.
That in turn could reduce the $2 million the My Mountain Co-op wants to raise by the end of April to buy the amount and make repairs and improvements.
The decision to send the letter asking that the loan and lease payments be forgiven came after a presentation by Darryl Tucker, a member of Friends of Shames which has now formed My Mountain Co-op.
“Part of our mandate would ensure that it stays open to the public,” Tucker said, saying that the hill is an asset to the area.
Tucker also wanted the city to buy a co-op business membership worth $599, to assist the co-op in raising the purchase amount and help in promoting prints donated by artist Roy Henry Vickers.
Councillor Bruce Bidgood had proposed at a meeting last month that the city at least buy one $599 business membership.
But council held off on any decision, saying it first wanted to hear about the co-op’s wish list directly from the group.
The city is already giving the co-op office space for six months at no charge.
“We’ve got to recognize that Shames is a resource for the community,” councillor Brian Downie said at the March 14 meeting when discussing how council could help.
“It seems to me that we could do something more significant than $599….it seems to me we need to find a bigger plan…to see how to help Shames.”
Bidgood said while a corporate membership is a good start, he said “it still does beg the question of whether a corporate membership of $599 is sufficient as a contribution.”
But councillor Carol Leclerc warned about setting a precedent if council purchases a membership.
“And then you’re going to expect other groups and organizations come in,” she said. “If we’ve done it for one, there’s an expectation.”
While Bidgood said he understood Leclerc’s concern of not routinely giving out grants of a substantial nature, he said special consideration should be given to this request as the hill is an asset to the community.
“Five hundred dollars is not a dramatic amount of money,” he said.
Other council members followed Bidgood’s lead and decided to take the money out of an unbudgeted reserve.
They also decided to see if there was more money they could give the co-op when they work on the city’s final budget later this month.