Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Eastern Townships Mt. Orford for sale

I would imagine many of us have done the school field trip thing to various places ,How about Ski Trips,...Well for One ($1.) Dollar, you can own your own Ski Hill & Golf Course,at Mount Orford,.now is your's the Gazette story:

If you're in the market for a ski hill and golf course, Mount Orford's are up for sale for $1.

Environment Minister Line Beauchamp announced yesterday she tabled a bill in the National Assembly calling for a submission of bids to purchase the Eastern Townships facilities, presently owned and operated at a hefty loss by the Quebec government.

The symbolic sale price of $1 will cover all buildings, chairlifts and other equipment needed to run the operations, but potential buyers must run the ski hill and golf course for at least five years, and put down a $4-million deposit to back up their guarantee.

Beauchamp also announced the 459 hectares of land encompassing the ski centre and golf course will be formally integrated into Mount Orford provincial park and remain the property of the Quebec government.

The move has been demanded by environmental groups like SOS Parc Orford ever since the Liberals proposed selling off 263 hectares of parkland to private developers to build 950 condominiums on an 85-hectare section at the base of the mountain. The idea was conceived by regional groups seeking a way to make the ski hill and golf course profitable. The facilities employ about 400 people in full and part-time jobs directly, and support 3,700 jobs in the region, Beauchamp has said. The proposal was met with widespread opposition, and the Charest government finally backed down in 2007.

Since then, the government has run the facilities at a loss of $2 million a year. The government was hamstrung because it couldn't use taxpayers' money to promote its operations at the expense of private ski hill and golf course owners, and thus did the minimum to keep the facilities running, Beauchamp said.

"We maintained the mountain, maintained the clientele (at the request of regional groups), but we were not aggressive," she said. "In the meantime, local promoters have been coming up with new business models, and I'm confident there will be good bid proposals submitted." The deadline for submissions of bids is May 28.

If the sale does not go through, the government will close the ski centre and golf course and dismantle the equipment and buildings.

SOS Parc Orford did not return calls last night. They're holding a news conference today.


Les F said...

Only the Quebec Gov't cannot run a Ski Hill & a Golf Course without making money, (sounds like,someones pockets were being filled)

Les F said...

Here's a link to an old Montreal Gazette story,about th4e Govt footing the bill for the new clubhouse a long time back:
also here is a separate story,saying that Mount Orford Ski Area may rival that of the Laurentians (cir:'44)

Les F said...

I am adding this collection of photogrpahs from the Mount Orford area,which includes, Golfing (1951), Camping (1969ish), Skiing from the DuMaurier Championships in '67 ,then there are also some pictures from Skiing in 1978........enjoy the visit to part of the Eastern Townships a short drive away from Montreal......

You can use the Full Screen option, Have Fun & Remember Verdun

Les F said...

Here is more to the story from tonight's online Gazette:


The environmental group that has been fighting since 2006 to keep land around Mount Orford in the public domain said Wednesday it is pleased with Quebec’s plan to expand the provincial park.

SOS Parc Orford wanted the provincial government to integrate 459 hectares of land housing a ski hill and golf course into the Eastern Townships park.

On Tuesday, Environment Minister Line Beauchamp announced she will introduce a bill in the National Assembly to sell the government-owned ski and golf facilities for $1. The land they’re on, however, will remain the property of the provincial government.

“The voice of the citizens has finally been heard,” the coalition said in a statement Wednesday. “After four years of procrastination, the Charest government has admitted its mistake.”

But SOS Parc Orford said Beauchamp should go one step farther and protect the land using the provincial parks law. Spokesperson Claude Dallaire said the government is moving in that direction, but that without specifically protecting the land using the parks law, activities that are “incompatible” with a provincial park could still be permitted.

The Liberal government sparked a controversy in 2006 with plans to sell part of the park to private developers to build condos at the base of the mountain. Some of the land in question had been donated to the provincial government to be maintained as park lands.

“It’s always been an issue of respecting what parks are for,” said John O’Driscoll, president of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society-Quebec, a member of SOS Parc Orford. “They’re not just warehouses of land that are waiting for someone to come up with a quick scheme to develop.”

René Bruemmer of The Gazette contributed to this report.

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