Shames sale hinges on deal with gov’t

THE SHAMES Mountain ski facility is in the final stages of belonging to local non-profit My Mountain Co-op.

  • Nov. 21, 2011 9:00 a.m.

THE SHAMES Mountain ski facility is in the final stages of belonging to local non-profit My Mountain Co-op.

A final purchase agreement was signed Nov. 16 between Shames Mountain Ski Corporation and My Mountain Co-op.

But a conclusion rests on the ski corporation negotiating a reduction in the amount of money it owes the provincial government from a long-standing tourism loan.

As well, My Mountain Co-op must take on the debt the ski corporation owes the province for being able to use the mountain.

It’s based on chairlift revenues.

The loan and the unpaid amount to approximately $600,000.

Speaking last week, Shames Mountain Ski Corporation president Gerry Martin said the deadline for the negotiations is Dec. 15.

“Negotiations are ongoing,” said Martin of money owed to the province.

Martin added money still owed to local business is expected to be paid by Shames Mountain Ski Corporation from cash received from the purchase deal.

“That was our push all along was to get some up front money that would clear away debts to unpaid local suppliers,” he said.

Should conditions of the final purchase deal be met, Dec. 15 will mark the first time a co-operative has purchased a ski hill in Canada.

Financial details of the final agreement won’t be released until later this week at the co-op’s Nov. 26 inaugural annual general meeting.

“We believe the terms of the purchase of the assets of the ski area from the Shames Mountain Ski Corporation reflect a fair value and ensure that the [co-op] is not burdened by any unmanageable debt,” said co-op director Curtis Billey in a press release.

Terms of the agreement include an undetermined one-time-cash price Billey says is “dramatically less” than the ski corporation’s initial listed price of $1.295 million.

The co-op began raising money earlier this year, saying it needed $2.1 million to buy the mountain and to cover environmental, legal and maintenance costs as well as to repay more than $600,000 in loans and lease payments owed the province.

It then announced in late summer it had reached a three-year deal to buy the mountain for $550,000 with the ski corporation retaining responsibility to repay its provincial debts.

That deal was subsequently replaced by the one-time cash payment announced last week.

In the meantime, groups of volunteers have been spending Sundays at Shames cleaning, repairing and preparing facilities for a mountain opening that is now expected to take place in early December.

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