My Mountain Co-op is forging ahead with plans to buy the Shames Mountain ski operation even though its original purchase deadline of April 30 has passed.
The Co-op and the Shames Mountain Ski Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding May 5 for negotiations leading to a purchase agreement.
“What it does say is that we’ll kind of work together and deal in good faith and try and make it happen,” said Shames Ski Corporation president Gerry Martin of the memorandum.
The co-op wants to run the mountain as a non-profit community cooperative.
It had set a deadline of the end of April to come up with $2 million – $1.3 million to buy the mountain and another $700,000 for costs and improvements.
The Shames Mountain Ski Corporation has had the hill for sale for several years and dropped the asking price to $1.3 million recently.
The price could drop even further if Shames Mountain can convince the provincial government to forgive upwards of $400,000 in outstanding loans and unpaid mountain lease debts.
“We’re working on dealing with the government around some of those outstanding balances, and we’re hoping to get some relief at that end,” Martin said.
He said while the board has had other expressions of interest, its preference is still to go the My Mountain Co-op route.
“We think that that really offers the best long term options for development of that facility,” he said.
Almost $300,000 has been raised between mid-February to May 1 through 585 individual members, 62 business members, and donations from organizations and businesses.
“The two parties are working together closely to ensure the legacy continues and a smooth transition occurs,” reads a press release from the co-op.
While details on who will pay for what have not been finalized, the intention is for the co-op to run the mountain this winter.
“In all of our planning right now, we’re planning on having My Mountain Co-op run the mountain,” Martin said. “We are working diligently to making that happen….that’s the aim.”
Four founding directors have been named to My Mountain Co-op – Curtis Billey, Jamie Hahn, Jon Hopper and Shaun Stevenson – and the Co-op is starting to look for a board of directors. To be nominated to the board, the person seeking nomination must be a co-op member before May 31, and have five other co-op members support their nomination.
Hopper said the co-op wants people buy into the plan sooner rather than later.
“We need money…to push across the table…to the ski corp., and we need money to do the necessary summer maintenance and required upgrades,” he said.
“They have to continue very diligently with their fundraising, and we’re working to try and see how we can arrange things to have them take possession of the mountain,” Martin said, saying that the co-op needs to start planning for the next season and run its own early season pass sales.
The co-op will be initiating its first early bird season pass sale in June, offering a $100 discount for all co-op members registered by May 31, 2011.
“We’re going to do everything we can to make My Mountain Co-op a success,” Martin said, saying that there is fatigue at the board level around continued investment.
“That’s really why we’re working diligently with My Mountain Co-op, because that is where we see the salvation of the facility,” he said, adding that that’s the best way for people to assure there’ll be skiing here next year and in the future.