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Chance for Pine Valley Tawatinaw Ski Facility
On July 24, 2018 Council announced the closure of the Tawatinaw Valley Ski Facility, effective October 1, 2018.
Councilís decision was based on the fiscal challenge of operating such a limited-use facility for three to four months per year and the lack of response from any parties for the purchase of the facility, as sought through an Expression of Interest invitation earlier this year. The October 2017 Plebiscite resulted in 53.4% of those who voted supporting a sale of the facility.
With no party coming forward to purchase the facility, the Friends of the Tawatinaw Working Group (FTWG) made a number of impassioned presentations to Council since the July 24th announcement.
The group did extensive background work on ski area governance, operations, and funding models.† It hosted an open house and presented multiple times to officials and Council.† On August 14, the group presented a vision of a community recreation hub that included the ski areaís downhill and nordic trails, beautiful Pine Valley Resort, and Evolution freestyle camp.† Council voted in favour to support the area.
Rather than shutting down the facility, the presentations from the FTWG included plans and vision to operate the facility as a four-season attraction with increased levels and types of uses to appeal to more county residents and visitors, with a focus on healthy living and youth activities. The FTWG plans on heavy utilization of volunteers along with applying for operating and capital grants and corporate sponsorships to assist with the ongoing and upgrading costs at the facility. The plans also include a steady and methodical approach to upgrading the infrastructure and provide opportunities for significantly expanded year-round activities.
Rather than lose this facility as an attraction and quality-of-life asset in the Community, and based on the energy and commitment of the FTWG to re-energize and expand the uses and purposes of the Facility to a year-round attraction, at the August 14, 2018 meeting of Council, County Council directed administration to craft a three-year Operating Agreement with the Friends of Tawatinaw Working Group, including a submission from the Group on a capital upgrade plan.
Council recognizes that this is a reversal of the decision reached in July. The ongoing costs of the facility as a closed facility were ultimately outweighed by the potential as envisioned by the FTWG as a year-round multi-purpose attraction and facility contributing to the health and wellness of our community.
Given this decision of Council, the Fall informational Open House on the possible options for moving forward, as stated in the July 24 Media Release, will not now be conducted or necessary.