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.
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