COMMENTARY · 14th July 2011
The Terrace Chamber of Commerce has established a poll in regards to this only listing the demolition of the Co-Op building and investing in Shames Mountain as two options.
As a community, can we not come up with better, more inclusive ideas.
Essentially the two options put forth are rid ourselves of the eye sore of a failed business or invest in property of another failed business. Do either of these seem like stellar ideas?
I support and respect the work the group is doing for buy Shames Mountain, I however, don't believe the city or tax payers should have any interest in it at all. Shames mountain, like the second sheet of ice is an incredibly limited option for many people in this community. It does not benefit the broad community, it benefits those that can afford to use it.
The co-op building demolition concerns me for 2 reasons. A) more investment into that property for it to be B) sold at rock bottom prices to foreign investors, thus losing the city money and no financial or social gain.
I can come up with a few ideas off the top of my head depending if the money is actually earmarked. If it is not mandatory the money be spent in any particular way:
A) Pad the snow removal budget... it's a problem EVERY winter, we aren't thinking about it right now because there's no snow on the ground.
B) Rebates to property tax payers.
C) Create a better skate/bike/rollerblade park, that is central, accessible to everyone and not hidden.
D) a community centre, that shockingly the WHOLE community could use, not just those that can afford it.
E) Create a community centre, look into somehow attaching a social enterprise to it that can contribute to the new Terrace Foundation.
F) Contribute to the Terrace Foundation
G) Purchase land parcels to look at future MIXED housing developments for potential partnerships.
I could go on and on and on. Ideally, whatever happens I'd like to see it benefit the city as a whole. Increase pride and appreciation in iour community, but most importantly, I'd really like to see it be benefitting everyone not just one particular group.
Given that people were only given 2 choices... I'd be interested to hear actual IDEAS, not multiple choice options where neither was not an option.
Comment by Jamie Schectman on 3rd August 2011
I think it's important to remember that when the Friends of Shames decided to pursue the non profit/community co-op option (against the suggestion of the BC Co-op association), instead of embracing the global ski community, they assumed this would entitle them to more grants and donations.
Best of luck to the town of Terrace!
Previous Mayor had the winning approach.
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 19th July 2011
Mayor Talstra and council kissed Alcans behind to get a new 2nd sheet of ice when he was running council. Maybe the new Mayor can kiss Enbridges behind to buy the mountain.
re: mr. peters
Comment by Maria on 19th July 2011
Tell you what, I'll agree with you when you can find a way to move Shames Mountain into city limits, and the city gets to outright OWN the ski hill, the same as they own and operate the hockey arena.
Stacey is right about the second sheet of ice being contentious, and past wastes of our city's money doesn't justify future waste, which is why I don't want to see city taxes going toward buying a mountain which isn't even in town, to be "owned and operated by skiers!"
Maybe Thornhill, Nisga'a Lisims, Kitimat or Prince Rupert are eager to buy a ski hill by and for skiers?
Comment by Mr. Peters on 19th July 2011
How about we let the hockey players pay for the second sheet of ice. I do not skate nor do I care for hockey, I think it is about as dumb a game as you can get, so why should my tax dollars go to support that? You may feel the same way about skiing, the point being is that we support things for the betterment of the whole community.
Just a side note - Second sheet of ice
Comment by Stacey Tyers on 19th July 2011
The second sheet of ice is still a hugely contentious issue among many residents. Shames mountain would be another of those issues. If taxes dollars were invested.
Yes, some perspective is needed!
Comment by Karen on 19th July 2011
Handing $375,000 to Friends of Shames will not save the hill!!! It will take 10 times that to turn the ski hill into a lucrative destination.
The arena is part of the cities' infrastucture and 'owned' by the city - the ski hill is a 'private' venture!
TLC received funds in the way of a loan secured by the mill lands and was an attempt at keeping hundreds employed. What can Friends of Shames offer up for collateral?...A disintegrating ski lodge that the city would have no means of recouping their investment!?
I am sure that the whole town and surrounding communitees would love to see Shames Mountain succeed but most of us have more than a pipedream to base our opinion on whether public funds should go to this private co-op.
I guess borrowing Jamie Schectman's co-op idea wasn't such a great idea after all. I am sure having an international link would look pretty good right now.
Heliskiing the Way of the Future
Comment by Not a skier on 18th July 2011
I was flying back from Vancouver last February, and there were about twenty people from California on the flight, all planning on going skiing.
Guess what? Not one of them were planning on visiting Shames. Shames is NOT a drawing card; people do NOT wake up and think "Wow, we should go to Terrace so we can ski Shames." All of those people from California were planning on going heli-skiing. I was told that the heli-skiing around Terrace is some of the best in the world.
Now using the same rationale as others have expressed over Shames, the city should invest in heli-skiing; after all, that is where the tourist dollars are. Unfortunately, Shames really is not seen as a destination. Perhaps if it did offer hotel accomodations on the hill, more people would view it as a destination but as is, it is nothing more than a local ski hill, used by locals and supported by locals.
To think otherwise, and to think that the city should be supporting those that take up this sport, is really not logical.
re: Mr. Peters
Comment by Maria on 18th July 2011
It's not dumb for a city to only throw money at projects in it's city limits. It's the entire reason why municipal government exists!
Why are Terrace Taxpayers being asked to bear this burdon and not Thornhill, the Nisga'a Lisims government, Kitimat, or Prince Rupert?
The skiers can save their own mountain? It's going to be run "by and for" skiers anyway!
Comment by Mr. Peters on 18th July 2011
So we only throw money at projects if it inside city limits. That is not only dumb, but very short sighted.
If the hill closes its impact will be much greater than people expect. I will continue to ski, it will just be in Smithers and out at Onion Lake. I already have to order my outdoor gear from outside the town as local retailers are already starting to pull back on outdoor gear.
Some perspective, indeed
Comment by Maria on 18th July 2011
The mill and the hockey arena are both in city limits. Shames Mountain is 35 km out of town!
Prince Rupert is 143km from Terrace. Shames Mountain is almost 1/4 the way to Prince Rupert!
Some perspective needed
Comment by Mr. Peters on 18th July 2011
We have an ice arena, paid for by our taxes. What percentage of the population here plays hockey in that arena? What is wrong with having a community owed ski-hill? How much money did the city through at the saw mill, and for what? I for one would rather see my tax dollars spent on something like a ski-hill than a saw mill any day of the week.
Auction the hill
Comment by R1chard Jenn1ss on 17th July 2011
See this story:
Ski Hill Benefits?
Comment by Arnold on 17th July 2011
If the benefits in supporting the ski hill include motels, bed and breakfasts, local business, plane tickets, garages, and sporting good stores, I think the before mentioned benefactors should buy as many shares as they can, but our city taxes should NOT, NOT NOT go beyond a share invested as Barry English suggested.
It's "their" ski hill, let "them" pay for it.
Missing the big picture
Comment by James Wold on 17th July 2011
Some of the benefits of supporting the ski hill in any form. I ski a lot and every time I am on the hill I talk to any and everyone I can. One day on the hill there were 10 people from Whitehorse, 5 from Alaska, 1 from Vancouver, 1 from Smithers. Not to mention Kitimat and Prince Rupert. My guess is that on any given day there maybe 25% of the people using our ski hill are from out of town.
Now these people need to stay overnight some where benefiting all hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts, all local businesses.
These same people need food to eat while here benefiting all food stores. restaurants, more local businesses.
If these people fly into Terrace, which one day when I was at the airport and seen 12 people that were carrying skies with their luggage getting on the airplane. If people drive to get here they also need gas, and maybe car repairs and plane tickets, more local businesses not to mention ski passes and ski rentals, maybe goggles and mitts. more local businesses for ski shops.
All these people working at these businesses and at the ski hill live in Terrace which adds to our economy. Need I say anymore about the benefits of saving our ski hill. Everyone in Terrace will lose if this hill should go down. One more nail in the coffin for Terrace. Go down right now and buy 1 share to save our hill.
Comment by Stacey Tyers on 15th July 2011
With that mindset then, it shouldn't matter whether it's Shames or the Co-op, essentially neither will have much financial return, though shames would maybe have more appeal at election time.
I'd like them to clean up the co-op site, and as Merv has posted eventually open it up to creating a community space of some kind.
It's actually a great location for a town square type concept.
I think in general it's looking at the best investment of tax payer dollars. Cleaning up that site and hanging on to those parcels of land is a great option. The money has already been spent. However, investing further into a property which is already destined to lose money seems silly.
Comment by Rick Smith on 15th July 2011
It doesn't take someone with a Ph'd to see the problem here. The right wing socred/conservative/liberals with people like Terrace's own Martin, Ryan and the all so ever present husband ensures that nothing ever changes or gets better. Martin is and was Campbells best bud, Ryan rakes in millions and husband ensures no one knows. Poole just abandoned the sinking ship, what did he know?
what a joke this place is
Reply to Well.
Comment by Joe Taxpayer on 15th July 2011
Stacey. Even if the city sells the property "as is Where is" We have already lost money. The purchase price was close to $1,000,000.00, no purchaser would pay anywhere close to that for this building.
The city owns the property and has the responsiblity to maintain the building. How would the city like it if I decided to park old vehicles on my lawn and not cut the grass. Maybe give a colorful paint job to the outside of the bulding. It would not be too far off from a few homes in town. I know my neighbors would be upset. (lower values in the neighborhood.)
I would just hate to see the money go to Shames and a year later it folds.
City Support For Shames
Comment by Roy Harding on 15th July 2011
I like Barry English's idea:
"I support the idea of our city council buying one corporate share in the hill, just to show support for the concept, ... "
That seems reasonable.
Not a new idea.
Comment by Barry English on 15th July 2011
I guess thit it's time that someone reminded everyone that we once had a publicly operated ski hill. Kitsumkalum, on the West Kalum road was owned and operated bythe Kitimat Stikine Regional District until lack of snow forced its closure. Shames Mountain Ski Corporation purchased all of the assets of Kitsumkalum and moved them to the new mountain. It is my understanding, (rumoured, not proven),that Shames defaulted several times on payment for that equipment, and may still never have paid for it. If that is the case, we should already own most of the aging lift equipment and Lodge.
Shames is a great hill, but it will always be a money losing proposition, unless a lot more money tha a paltry 2 million is thrown at it. Lift tickets, and the occaisional hamburger will never sustain it. On-hill accomodation would help, just because that would open up the possibility of more liquor and meal sales, but to make that happen would require a LOT of money. We could make Shames into a resort, but that would mean giving control to an experienced resort operating corporation, not a handful of very well meaning locals.
I support the idea of our city council buying one corporate share in the hill, just to show support for the concept, but not to advance a lot of cash that still would never be enough to get done what needs to be done.
Comment by Ian on 15th July 2011
i find it fascinating that we have a "surplus". Where did this come from. Maybe the city shouldn't have raised taxes last year or the year before, an so on.
The Coop lands are a prime piece of relestate that could be used for a variety of things that could benifit all.
I have a hard time thinking that we should invest in Shames. Why, simple really, has anyone seen a financial balance sheet for Shames mountain? Why would you invest into a seasonal tourist attraction that has yet to establish itself as a profitable venture. Shames Mountain is a business, not a luxury, that can't sustain itself. Anyone remember Sheena Cellulose. Wasn't that a nifty idea, invest money without a market. And down the drain it went along with many workers and home owners.
Grantted, there are alot of people that enjoy the great outdoors and the activities associated with winter recreation. But Shames Mountain has to be self sustaining and not become a bad investment without return.
Our economic future for the area is promising, at best. We still have a long way to go to realize that we are on track to full economic recovery.
The Coop lands are a real potentail of city development and business enterprise that could be potentially benifit all who live here. And that is the direction we should go with because all benifit not just the choosen few.
Comment by Stacey Tyers on 15th July 2011
,,, Joe Taxpayer ~ I don't for a single second disagree that the building NEEDS to come down. My concern is the city will tear it down investing further money into that property and then sell it at rock bottom prices, not actually getting back the taxpayer investment. No financial or social gain to our community.
,,,Everyone else I don't disagree that Shames is an important part of our outdoor community. I just don't think tax dollars should be used for it. When there are many other things to do with the money that will benefit the whole community. Others have made my further arguments against it.
Shames had a VIABLE option of being a FOR-PROFIT co-cop. Where it could be easily marketed globally. Which would draw in global tourism. Friends of Shames decided that was not the route they wanted to take. They wanted a non-profit model and essentially are stuck marketting within the local community who would have skiied it anyway. Whether this is because FoS didn't like Jamie and Shanie or what... even the business analysis pointed to a FOR-PROFIT co-op.
So it's kind of a you made this decision, don't make tax payers pay for this decision.
Live here for the mountain?
Comment by I Should Be Working, Too on 15th July 2011
Wow, so now it's come to blackmail.
Anyone who's staying here rests on a ski hill may as well leave now before the snow falls.
If the skiers in town want the resort to stay open, why don't they open their wallets/purses a little wider and dig a little deeper? If only 350 believers of the cause put forward $5000 each, they'd own the mountain and have change leftover. Sell a few pairs of designer skis or a couple snow boards and you're there.
But no, it's important enough for the public to pay for a ski hill "owned and operated by skiers," but not important enough for skiers to really pay for it.
This town could use a water park for kids, side walks which aren't crumbling, or a pool which doesn't give fungal disease on your feet every time you go there. The whole mountain co-op idea is so elitist, it may as well be "Country Club golfers want city to buy golf course so country club can market golf course as the only country club co-op golf course owned and operated by golfers in the world!"
Maybe the city can send crews out to the co-op mountain and maintain it for you, too?
A lot more money needed
Comment by Karen on 15th July 2011
Nobody is contesting that Shames Mountain is a valuable locale that is a huge asset to the area. What I have a problem with is that there is a lot more money needed than the $350,000 collected already plus a 'loan' of $375,000.
From what I have gathered, the negotiated price is down to $1.2 million and another $800,000 would be needed to get the ski hill in decent running condition. Amassing $725,000 is still a far cry from a total of $2 million. And, I have huge doubts that any ski hill can survive given that there are no overnight accomodations (ensuring no drinking/dining) making the income from the lifts the main revenue earner.
Rather than a bunch of locals possessively clinging to a venture that clearly requires more than they and the city can drum up, outside investment is obviously needed to built this treasure into the destination that it could be.
A more viable business plan is needed before the city blindly invests in this dream.
Comment by Terrace Tax payer on 15th July 2011
if it is feesable for a person to live somewhere based on ski resorts, then they probably don't have a job or rely on a job to employ them. If your willing to leave terrace just because a ski hill closes, then your probably not experiencing the financial squeeze that most of the other people in terrace are feeling. In that case. I think that the ski hill should be owned by the skiiers and snowboarders. and any one who contributes more than a certain dollar amount should see that reflect in their seasons passes or some other form of "discount" on account that these people paid for the mountain. I really don't know what all the fuss is about. Shames was up and running last year. wasn't it? and i'll bet you it's up and running again this year. panic shouldn't set in yet.and i'm kinda confused about the managment of the resort. If shames mountains real problem was just as minor as a managment issue, I think it woulda been solved by now. How about the waste of massive amounts of fuel having to be donated by a local business instead of having a power line? what about the location? Maybe TEDA could help to decide where the money should be spent. Aren't we employing them to help with Terrace Economic Development? Where are they in this matter. I hope they are a part of this process.
As for the co-op building. Yes it is an eye sore. Yes it should be torn down. Yes everyone want's to see it go. but risking $375 grand to wonder if we'll ever see it again is also a scary thought. Maybe the next big franchise store that wants to come into our town should have to deal with that. that way we know forsure it's not gonna cost us anything.
I like all of your ideas stacy except for building a new, central skateboard park. We already did that!!! right after we tore down the best, Weather proof, northern exposure, band shell. that was designed with sound, spactator enjoyment, user friendlyness and many other considerations in mind. We coulda put some fancy electric roll down doors on the front of it for $100,000 and had a great thing. but we tore it down and exchanged it for a skate board park looking concrete jungle with no protection from the wind, rain, sun in your eyes. and a roof that tears and isn't easily repaired.
you said it best when you said" I could go on and on and on. Ideally, whatever happens I'd like to see it benefit the city as a whole. Increase pride and appreciation in iour community, but most importantly, I'd really like to see it be benefitting everyone not just one particular group
Comment by Roy Harding on 15th July 2011
As much as I admire those attempting to purchase Shames and run it as a Co-op - I want to have a choice in whether I'm a member of that Co-op or not.
Using tax dollars de facto makes ALL Terrace taxpayers members of the Co-0p, albeit against their will, and without benefits of membership. Funding it with city (or provincial or federal) tax dollars should be considered a non-starter.
I don't understand WHY the $375,000 HAS to be spent on ANYTHING beyond normal city activities such as maintenance of infrastructure.
Shames or else...
Comment by R1chard Jenn1ss on 15th July 2011
Why do people post anonymously?
Do you believe in yourself and your idea?
What if the shames coop does go through and it still fails? Will you still move?
Will you give up?
So if the business wasn't sustainable before, how will it be sustainable with a new shames coop?
If the business was of good value, why aren't there more offers?
Can shames be auctioned?
Could the COOP develop another hill, say Sterling?
I for one wont give up, I don't buy the rhetoric and I definitely wont leave with what I see as a setback.
Comment by R1chard Jenn1ss on 14th July 2011
How is the Shames business worth the asking price?
Shames Mountain or bust
Comment by Boby on 14th July 2011
The bottom line is if you lose Shames you lose not only a portion of the current residents but also future residents as well.
The type of people looking to move to a small, northern community are also the type that very likely will base that decision on things like whether or not we have a ski hill.
Ruins Board Shop, All Seasons, and others would also have to deal losing a large portion of their ski and board equipment sales which I am sure would be substantial.
The current owners have done a fantastic job keeping this mountain open for locals during tough economic times it is just difficult to get financial support when you have a business structure such as theirs. With the Shames Co-op idea there have much more funding opportunities available.
I for one would seriously consider moving from Terrace, the place I love and was born and raised, if Shames Mountain closes. I have many friends who feel the very same way as well.
If they demolish the Co-op building there is a big empty space in Terrace where a big empty building once sat. Maybe they will build something there that they could just as easily build somewhere else.
One option seems far more important than the other.
Comment by Gav on 14th July 2011
Shames is hands down one of the best ski and board areas on the planet and deserves to be saved. The reason it has never made any money comes down to poor management and poor planning. During winter Shames is the best thing Terrace has to offer.
Comment by Should Be Working on 14th July 2011
My issue with the entire Shames mountain co-op idea is it ignores the elephant in the room. Why did the past owners of the mountain not succeed? They received a great deal of money from the provincial government of the time to have an honest go at a successful resort, and they couldn't do it. I sincerely doubt they wanted a ski resort because they wanted to willy-nilly it into the ground and neglect it over time.
Here we are today, the Shames ski resort (celebrating 21 years of operation), still hasn't paid back an old loan given to it by the government, and now it looks like the Chamber (and the city?) want to seriously entertain the idea of using money which could help everyone in Terrace, to helping people who like skiing 6 months of the year at a ski resort almost 1/4 the way to Prince Rupert, outside of Terrace city limits!
I've read the Shames Co-Op business plan, and the gist of it seems to be: Buy mountain. Fix up equipment, market the hell out of it (who pays for this marketing?), wait for profit to come in from every skier living closer to Terrace than Smithers to come skiing. The profit projections are based on pure speculation.
Part of the marketing strategy is to promote it as a ski resort "owned and operated" by skiers.
It's worth pointing out that marketing Shames mountain as being owned and operated by skiers when you want a large portion of your funding to come from municipal sources is a stab in the back to every taxpayer of Terrace!
I would much rather see the old Co-Op building torn down than see this new Co-op put up. Of course, if the city of Terrace has $375,000 burning a hole in their bank account, they can always LOWER PROPERTY TAXES!
Comment by Joe Taxpayer on 14th July 2011
I like your ideas of using the money for the greater good of the community. However, the eyesore of the Co-op building has to come down. The longer we wait, the more expensive it will be to demolish. If you want to attact people and businesses to the area lets make it look good.