With the uncertainty of BC Lotteries funding, Phoenix Mountain Alpine Ski Society has asked the city to consider providing more stable funding to Phoenix Mountain.
Don Colclough, a board member of the society, hopes that the decision for funding will be determined in this year’s budget process so it can continue its operations.
“We’re a one-stop shop for healthy recreation in the Boundary area and (the funds) will enable us to continue with our operations to provide our children with a safe and enjoyable place for winter recreation,” he noted at a recent city council meeting. “We will work diligently to direct these monies in a very responsible manner and give you excellent value for your dollars.”
The funding arrangement would be a multi-year service contract of $60,000 and would work in co-operation with Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) Areas D and E, and the City of Grand Forks.
“Directors Irene Perepolkin and Bill Baird are solidly behind this proposal and we are looking forward to your participation,” stated Colclough. “Time is of the essence for this proposal.”
Area C has declined to join at this point, while Greenwood provides a small stipend and Midway has yet to be asked.
RDKB Director for Area D Perepolkin stated she has been in close contact with the ski hill for the past four years.
“I think this hill is a huge asset to this community as it gives many of our residents, from Christina Lake to Beaverdell, an affordable venue to enjoy skiing,” she said. “The cost of the larger hills is often prohibitive to families and they would otherwise miss the opportunity to enjoy this sport.”
The hill is considered a feed-hill where youth learn to ski and once they have mastered their skills, they then go on to use the larger more challenging hills in the area and beyond.
Surrounding schools in the area are also able to hold their classes there.
Perepolkin is currently looking at how to budget an annual sum to ensure better stability to the ski hill.
Area E Director Bill Baird agreed.
“Phoenix Mountain is a big part of our community, no less than your rink and pool,” he stated. “It’s another draw card for the Boundary (and) it is also a training ground for many new skiers, which in turn benefit other ski hills.”
Over the past 10 years, BC Lotteries has supported Phoenix Mountain through grants to cover larger operating expenses, such as insurance and management salaries.
“Three years ago, coinciding with (its) preparations for hosting the 2010 (Vancouver) Winter Olympics, the provincial Liberal government announced that it would be cutting back significantly on the number of organizations that would be receiving gaming funds, and on the amount of funding they would receive,” explained Colclough.
Phoenix Mountain was able to receive the first year of a three-year funding commitment from BC Lotteries, and was able to receive the promised level of funding for two more years.
“Now that the three-year commitment is up, we are back to applying annually for Community Gaming Grants,” he added. “So far, this year we have not had a reply from them and we are more than half way through the ski season.”
Mayor Brian Taylor pointed out the decision will be made in conjunction with other budget items in the upcoming budgeting process.
“I certainly feel (the) desire to support this,” Taylor said.
“Predictable funding from other regional sources would be a comforting thing for the society.”
For more from that council meeting, go here.