Phoenix looking for support through RDKB survey to help get future funding

Erin Perkins
By Erin Perkins
February 20th, 2013

The Phoenix Mountain Alpine Ski Society (PMASS) is asking Regional District Kootenay Boundary Area D residents to think of the ski hill when filling out the Electoral Area D Survey that was recently mailed out as part of the Official Community Plan (OCP) review.

The survey, which was last done in 1999 as part of the original OCP planning process, was mailed out to 1,600 Area D residents this past month, said Donna Dean, RDKB planner who is receiving the surveys.

The survey is asking residents to identify their land use priorities including recreational land, permitted property uses and updating the minimum usage sizes for subdivisions.

That input will be used to update the OCP to reflect the priorities of today’s population. The OCP is usually updated every 10 years, so this one is overdue, said Dean.

“I think this is a great opportunity to voice an opinion,” said Dean.

For the past two years PMASS has been looking for secure funding since the $47,000 gaming grant came to an end a few years ago. Without secure funding, the ski hill society can’t plan for the future or borrow money to make improvements like replacing an old $300,000 packer, said Don Colclough, PMASS president.

“There is no better way to get their (RDKB) attention if somebody writes on the survey,” said Colclough.

On the ski hill’s website they’ve put out an appeal to their members and users: “This document is a very good opportunity for PMASS supporters to voice their concerns about ongoing funding for the hill … do speak up in support of your little mountain. Our future depends on funding from the local governments.”

Of the 349 season pass holders in 2012, 191 were from Area D. There are typically 12,000 visits of skiers from all RDKB areas, the City of Grand Forks and even as far as Kelowna to the hill during the three-month ski season.

This year the ski hill has had a good season. The 16-run hill opened on schedule, the snow has been great and the attendance normal, said Conclough.

Ideally PMASS would like $60,000 of annual funding under a service agreement with the RDKB similar to the one the curling rink currently has. While Area D and Area E have expressed their support, the ski hill has yet to have a confirmation of an agreement and was even exploring the idea of taking the question to referendum.

Dean said she’s already received a number of surveys and several of them include supporting statements for funding the hill.

Surveys need to be returned to the RDKB either online or by mail by March 15, 2012. After the surveys have been collected, there will be a public meeting with the steering committee to specifically discuss the wishes and issues identified in the surveys.

The survey is available online at www.rdkb.com.

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