Letter: How can we afford recreation facility?

How can we be expected to afford an additional recreational facility outside of city boundaries? writer asks.

It was good to see the letter from Dylan Zorn, president of Phoenix Mountain Alpine Ski Society, explaining the society’s thoughts on why citizens of the City of Grand Forks should continue paying taxes to both the city and RDKB to support continued existence of the ski hill.

Perhaps now would be an excellent occasion to reveal more of the story of the ski hill and what they have planned.

From the ski hill’s website, you can click on a link for “Master Plan Approved by Ministry.” The link takes you to the B.C. government website and a document approved by the government entitled “Phoenix Mountain Resort Master Plan, Community Alpine Ski Resorts – Type 1, Nov. 1, 2012.”

The 54-page document reveals the ski hill admits a continuing need for funding from lotteries and/or taxpayers to help pay regular operating expenses; acknowledges the granting of additional land by the provincial government; and sets out a 25-year ambitious development plan to expand and enhance the ski hill, and to turn it into a year round recreational facility.

There is no indication of how the development plan will be financed, or the source of funding for future operating expenses once the land is developed.

From the RDKB website, the Jan. 30, 2014 agenda for board of directors includes attached minutes of the Boundary Economic Development Committee dated Dec. 10, 2013. Ms. Barb Cornelius (administrator) and Ms. Ciel Sander (vice-chair) of Phoenix Mountain Association made a presentation to the committee.

Minutes reflect they were “…requesting financial assistance from the regional district in a manner similar to how the Grand Forks arena, aquatic centre and curling rink are funded.” And “Ms. Cornelius questioned the process for having a referendum to establish a service and requested that if a referendum were held that it not be held in conjunction with the local government elections in November, 2014.”

It is requested the Phoenix Mountain Ski Hill inform city taxpayers of their intention whether or not to pursue development of the additional lands granted by the province, how such development will be financed, and source of continued funding well into the future for operation, maintenance, repairs and replacement of this enhanced infrastructure.

Considering the City of Grand Forks cannot afford the infrastructure already existing within its city boundaries, how can we be expected to afford an additional recreational facility outside of city boundaries?

Sylvia Treptow, Grand Forks