THE LOCAL non-profit group that wants to buy the Shames Mountain ski facility has started looking for employees in anticipation of opening this winter.
My Mountain Co-op director Curtis Billey said last week that it already has resumes for two key full-time positions: general manager and maintenance manager.
“We’re working on getting the ski hill going and getting the ski season prepared,” he said, adding the co-op will also soon revamp its website to reflect the upcoming ski season instead of the current format, which focusses on raising money to buy the ski facility.
Although the co-op has yet to complete a final sales agreement with the current operator of the Shames facility, the Shames Mountain Ski Corporation, Billey said he and other directors are confident the mountain will open this year.
“Both of them need to get going right away,” said Billey of the anticipated hiring. “We’ve got some resumes back and we’ll be evaluating those.”
The co-op has already spoken with Northwest Community College about seconding a number of its culinary arts students to work at the ski facility’s food concession.
Other college students could work on maintenance, Billey added.
In the meantime, co-op directors appeared at a city council committee of the whole meeting Sept. 8 to say they need the city’s support if they wants to run a successful ski operation.
The co-op has raised $380,000 so far but needs $550,000 to close a sales deal with the Shames Mountain Ski Corporation and it also needs to set aside an unspecified amount of operating capital if it plans to open this ski season.
City council has already turned down two requests for money – a first one for $200,000 and a second one for $91,000 – but was expected to come up with another plan to help the co-op at its Sept. 12 meeting.
The co-op began trying to raise $2 million earlier this year – $1.2 million to buy the facility and $800,000 for legal, environmental work and other expenses.
It then asked for $200,000 each from the city and from other local governments when efforts to raise the $2 million began to falter but has been turned down by Prince Rupert in addition to Terrace.
The Kitimat-Stikine regional district has agreed to give $100,000 but only if it is used so that low income people can ski. Kitimat council has yet to make a decision.
At the same time, the co-op and the ski corporation did agree to a lower sales price of $550,000 provided the latter could get the provincial government to forgive a loan of nearly $420,000 and to defer, or otherwise take care of, nearly $150,000 in unpaid royalties tied to leasing the mountain.
The Sept. 8 committee of the whole meeting began as an open one but then went behind closed doors.
Mayor Dave Pernarowski said a closed session was necessary because financial details to be discussed included those of the Shames Mountain Ski Corporation.
Neither the city nor the co-op had the ski corporation’s permission to talk about how it would convince the province to deal with the outstanding loan and royalty debt.
But before the meeting went into a closed session, council members did suggest the co-op needed to involve people of all income brackets in its plan.
“It would seem to me that any sort of business plan that has broader community ownership is going to have to address that kind of vision,” said councillor Bruce Bidgood, asking what the co-op’s plans are to create access to lower-income users.
Members of the co-op said the group has some ideas, like having one or more free days, an aboriginal ski day or weekend or two for one passes for parents who bring children.