Edmonton ski club given new lease on life
Council approves funding to keep them going another year.
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The Edmonton Ski Club’s request for emergency funding got one step closer to being granted after getting a nod from the city’s community and public services committee Monday.
Although the cash ultimately depends on a final decision from Council, the committee gave their approval to give the club $388,000 to cover operating expenses and debt obligations for the upcoming season.
The ESC has been operating a hill in the river valley since 1911, but president Ken Saunders said it’s unlikely they’d be able to open this year without the money.
“We've just seen extraordinary growth, but that growth has come at a very large price,” he said. “To continue that trajectory we need the financial assistance of the city.”
A second, separate request to secure long-term funding to the tune of $1.3 million was also discussed Monday at the committee meeting. It will be brought back to council for discussion at a later date.
Long term plans to expand the ski operation include building an ice wall and installing a bike path for the summer, said Saunders.
But those plans are on hold while the city finalizes plans for Gallagher Park and the Valley Line LRT, he said.
According to an executive summary document submitted to the committee, the ski club has a history of financial and operational challenges, including a total net loss of $473,000 between 2011 and 2015.
Still, the club is an important asset for the city and could turn a profit in the long term, said Ward 8 Coun. Ben Henderson.
“They had a very immediate need that we need to be able to answer before this season but really it's a five year bridge that we need to get to before the LRT is done.”