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Local housing association say they want better engagement with RMR; seek city’s help
A long line-up at the Revelstoke Mountain Resort gondola base early in the 2016-17 season. The resort has announced new gondola cabins and lift chairs for the 2017–18 season designed to alleviate big lines in the morning. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

A long line-up at the Revelstoke Mountain Resort gondola base early in the 2016-17 season. The resort has announced new gondola cabins and lift chairs for the 2017–18 season designed to alleviate big lines in the morning. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

The Revelstoke Mountaineer The Revelstoke Mountain Homeowners’ Association brought their frustrations over what they feel is a lack of development and stakeholder engagement at Revelstoke Mountain Resort to Revelstoke City Council.

The RMHOA, formed this spring, is a group made up of property owners within the Revelstoke Mountain Resort master plan boundary.

Richard Tucker, president of the RMHOA made a presentation to city council outlining the group’s concerns.

“An important part of resorts is confidence and feeling like you’re growing. If the owner is not willing to invest in the resort, why should other people be willing to invest in the resort?” Tucker said.

The RMHOA received a letter from Northland Properties’ corporate counsel in April of this year. Northland Properties is the company which owns RMR. The letter states the master development plan made no specific promises about lifts, accommodations, food services, or other facilities and improvements. The RMHOA issued a press release in April, expressing concerns over what they felt was a lack of development that did not match what was included in the master development plan.

“The MDP is a “plan,” which was relevant to what was known and anticipated at the time it was created. Additionally, skier visits are not at levels projected in the original MDP as part of the master plan process,” Rob Toor, corporate counsellor, wrote in his letter to the RMHOA. “The phases of development contemplated by the MDP are directly tied to skier visits and uphill capacity. There has been no lack of investment at RMR.”

Tucker said while legally RMR may be correct he feels it has been a frustrating exercise with a lack of engagement with stakeholders.

“There’s not a lot of discussion or engagement about with their future plans are, if any,” said Tucker, who did meet with RMR vice president of operations Peter Nielsen last week. “We all recognize the economy changes, but it would be good if they were saying ‘there’s going to be this in two years and this in five years’.”

Richard Tucker, president of the Revelstoke Mountain Homeowners Association presents to city council. Photo: Melissa Jameson/Revelstoke Mountaineer.

Richard Tucker, president of the Revelstoke Mountain Homeowners Association presents to city council. Photo: Melissa Jameson/Revelstoke Mountaineer.

Tucker also pointed out that the lack of specific development time lines could make difficult work for the city to plan ahead.

“It’s obviously a risk to the city economy. I think there’s things that can be done to try and increase engagement with stakeholders,” he said. “At what point does it become ‘enough’s enough?’ I think that’s a question we all ask as home owners. How can  we push RMR do a better job?”

Tucker made a number of suggestions on how the city can help, including:

  • Increase engagement with RMR, province, ministries, RMHOA and other stakeholders to seek compliance with the master plan and long term capital investment.
  • Implement and empower dedicated resource to advance resort development, clear issues with RMR and engage with stakeholders.
  • Develop and implement well considered incentives, taxation and time dependent planning approval policies.
  • Enforce completion of infrastructure to meet master plan and municipal standards in a timely manner – More than five years of non-compliance – Use financial security and other tools available to the city.

Councillor Linda Nixon said the city has been working with RMR to discuss development of the resort.

“This council is not doing nothing, this staff is not doing nothing. This is a dance, this is a big corporation,” she said.

Mayor Mark McKee said one of the goals of the current city council was to create a better relationship with RMR, but pointed out the city does not tell others how to operate their business.

“When it comes to finishing up development and paving the way for new development to come in, that’s what we are concerned with. We’ve had quite a few meetings with the resort to get some of the issues behind us. There’s lots of work going on behind the scenes right now,” said McKee.

The Mountaineer has reached out to RMR for comment on this matter but has received no response.

Kathryn Whiteside
Homeowners want Revelstoke Mountain Resort to deliver on original vision

Revelstoke, B.C The Revelstoke Mountain Homeowners Association (RMHOA) says the Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR) is not living up to the vision of the original Master Development Plan and needs re-energizing. The resort opened in 2007 and has not significantly changed from improvements that were complete or already in hand at the time.  The original three lifts are the only major ones operating and there is no publicly stated timeline to add any new lifts. In several other key areas such as accommodation and restaurant capacity there have been no significant upgrades and the resort is well behind in delivering on the vision outlined in the Master Plan as proposed by the developer and approved by the Province in 2004.  

“As home owners, our collective investment is approaching that of the developer. We, along with many other enthusiastic stakeholders and supporters, want to see the resort reach its full potential as a world class destination. The hill is second to none with the longest lift-accessed vertical descent in North America and some of the best snow and terrain on the continent but investment is minimal for the scale of the resort and there have been few new amenities and upgrades in the last 10 years,” says RMHOA vice-president and full time resident, Peter Brown.

The RMHOA contends the current structure of destination ski resorts in BC may be inherently flawed. When the provincial government gives tenure of public lands to a private operator, it does not seem to follow through to ensure ongoing investments are made as envisioned in the master development plan. In addition, homeowners who have made significant investments have no place at the table to provide views in regulatory discussions or approvals that may impact the resort.

“Homeowners are major stakeholders. We support the vision of a world-class resort at Revelstoke but there needs to be consistent slope side and accommodation improvements. It was understandable after the world financial crisis that plans were put on hold temporarily but that was nine years ago and the economy has fully recovered by almost every measure” says Brown.

The Association notes that with an election underway and similar resorts proposed for Valemount and Garibaldi near Squamish, it is time to reassess how these projects are monitored for compliance and what can be done to ensure the province of BC and local communities like Revelstoke maximize the benefits, especially when it comes to employment and tax revenue.

RMHOA would like to see the Master Development Plan process include specific development timelines and five year plans, outlining a minimum of investment and expansion that will occur, along with a monitoring and enforcement regime should a resort not live up to those obligations.

Currently, resorts do not have an obligation to make annual investments which move a resort forward. In a recent letter to Peter Brown, the corporate counsel of Northland Properties which runs RMR, stated: “The approved Master Development Plan for RMR did not include promises with respect to lifts, accommodations, food services, any other resort facilities or significant facilities and improvements.”  

On its website, Revelstoke Mountain Resort states that, on completion, the resort will have more than 20 lifts, 100 ski runs and 5,000 housing units. But there is no timetable for that to happen. (http://www.revelstokemountainresort.com/resort/about-the-resort)

Today the original three lifts are still the only major ones operating with 56 runs and fewer than 250 units of accommodation.

“Ten years from opening and we are a long, long way from even starting to reach our full potential,” says Brown. “Installing more lifts, expanding runs and making more housing or lots available for owners or investors would give RMR a shot in the arm and would add badly needed jobs and taxes to the local community.”  

RMHOA members say homeowners should be recognized as an official resort stakeholder group. They recommend a resort advisory committee be created so that homeowners are included in discussions about development decisions and timelines.

“We are not asking for authority over decisions. But we want to be part of the process of planning RMR’s future along with the City of Revelstoke, First Nations and Northland Properties which holds the land tenure. We have valuable insights into what owners and future investors are looking for,” says Brown. “We have invested a similar amount of money but we have no standing and it is unreasonable to shut us out completely. We simply do not have a voice in the future of this amazing resort.”

RMR is upgrading the capacity of two existing lifts by approximately 20%: adding 24 cars to the gondola and 21 chairs to a chairlift which will bring those lifts to full capacity, a move the RMHOA welcomes. However, there have been no publicly stated plans or timeline to add additional lifts in the future or address other homeowner and resort guest concerns.

“That investment in adding capacity will make a positive difference. But now is the time to look beyond next winter to the future of the resort and develop a game plan that delivers on the original vision” says Brown.

For more information, please contact

Chris Olsen
Peak Communicators
Kelowna: 250-808-4910
chris@peakco.com

Alyn Edwards
Peak Communicators
Vancouver: 604 689 5559
alyn@peakco.com

Kathryn Whiteside