ONE OF the key individuals behind the effort to buy the Shames Mountain ski development said the project is being re-evaluated following the decision by Terrace city council not to contribute $200,000.
Jon Hopper of My Mountain Co-op said the decision by the council puts the effort in jeopardy.
The co-op has raised approximately $370,000 so far toward its goal of $2 million – $1.2 million for the purchase and the remainder for sales expenses, maintenance and improvements.
“Terrace had the opportunity to show leadership here,” said Hopper of the request made to the council for $200,000.
The same request has already been turned down by the Prince Rupert council and decisions are pending by Kitimat and the Kitimat-Stikine regional district.
“Without Terrace, it certainly makes it more difficult,” said Hopper.
He said the co-op is reluctant, however, to indicate when it might call a halt to its efforts.
“We’re still pushing forward,” he said late last week.
Hopper added that more contributions from individuals and corporations will have to be made very soon as maintenance and preparation needs to start immediately on Shames if it is to open this winter.
“This is a key recreational opportunity for the area,” said Hopper, adding Shames contributes to the quality of life of the area.
An operating ski area will attract and keep professionals and others, he added.
But Hopper warned that with Shames Mountain Ski Corporation not in a position to open the mountain this year and should a deal with My Mountain Co-op not be concluded, the mountain won’t open at all for this ski season.
And while there is the possibility of a staged payment buyout, My Mountain Co-op would be very reluctant to commit to that arrangement without first having more money either in the bank or committed.
“The whole idea is long-term sustainability. If we were to take $300,000 or so and use it and get three months of skiing [this winter] and have no money next year, then we would be in the same situation the owners have been in for years,” said Hopper.
“In no way do we want to risk the money we have now. We need to be better funded to get the deal done.”
Hopper said one of the disappointments behind Terrace council’s decision not to provide the co-op with any money was the impression being made on corporations the co-op has approached for money.
As it is, the co-op has sent more than 50 letters and packages seeking contributions or donations and has yet to receive a positive response.
Hopper did add the co-op might consider making a new approach to Terrace council.
If the council did not want to provide $200,000 all at one time, stretching the amount out over several years might be a consideration, he said.
Hopper also said My Mountain Co-op members will be phoning and emailing council members to prove their point that there is community backing for a city financial contribution.
“And we’re letting them know what the decision was and who made it and that their decisions will be taken under consideration [during election time] in November,” said Hopper.