As the closing date to the Shames Mountain deal approaches, the local non-profit which has already taken over operations at the ski facility remains tight-lipped about its negotiated purchase price.
The deal’s closing date between current owners Shames Mountain Ski Corporation and My Mountain Co-op is December 15 but two key conditions need to be satisfied.
One is that the co-op take on the debt the ski corporation owes the province for using Shames Mountain.
That works out to two per cent of chair lift revenues and the amount now owed by Shames is approximately $150,000 according to ski corporation president Gerry Martin.
My Mountain director Curtis Billey says the co-op has agreed to take on the debt but has also asked that the amount owed be forgiven entirely or be reduced.
“Shames Mountain has requested that the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations extinguish or reduce the outstanding historic royalties owing to the province,” said the ministry via an email.
“(The ministry) is considering the request.”
The Shames Mountain Ski Corporation must also deal with more than $420,000 it owes the provincial government for an outstanding tourism development loan.
Martin says negotiations with the province to forgive the amount owing continue.
In the meantime, non-profit My Mountain Co-op has elected its board of directors and held its first annual general meeting to bring its membership up to speed with what to expect.
And while the co-op plans to operate the facility using $130,000 in tax money from the City of Terrace, the District of Kitimat, and the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine, Billey says publicly disclosing the mountain’s purchase price now isn’t what’s relevant.
“It’s not relevant to the future sustainability of the mountain,” said founding director Curtis Billey, adding that details of the mountain’s purchase transaction were shared with the co-op’s membership at its first annual general meeting.
“We informed our membership about the purchase transaction, when that will complete and what’s involved.”
What is relevant, he said, is that volunteers have figuratively moved a mountain in a short period of time — for all the maintenance, promotion and preparation, the community has chipped in.
“We’ve done an awful lot in a short amount of time,” he said.
It was one of the many topics discussed at the AGM, which took place Nov. 26 and generated an attendance of 70 members despite that evening’s snowstorm.
The co-op’s new elected board of directors was introduced, including founding directors Curtis Billey, Jon Hopper, Jamie Hahn and Shaun Stevenson who were joined by Shawn Dimitrov, John Krissinger, Tara Wilson and Meredith Skimson.
What it means to be a co-op was also a topic.
The hill’s vitality will depend on volunteers in the future too, said Billey, adding members are all like ambassadors to the hill.
“We all have some responsibility in helping maintain it and helping out when paid people are overwhelmed,” he said.
“We’ll expect more of the same…members to be volunteers…to be able to generate some amount of funding from corporations and government.”
Billey noted it’s important to clarify the liability associated with membership.
“[Members] don’t assume liability,” he said. “Your only liability is the liability to pay for the membership.”
The Shames Mountain ski facility is set to open December 16, which is a free ski day in exchange for non-perishable food items for the food bank or donated clothing for the Salvation Army.