Efforts have been made recently to find funding partners and community solutions to resolve the financial shortfall being experienced by the non-profit group the Great Northern Ski Society and keep Mount Sima open.
Has the Yukon government come forward to support the health and fitness of Yukoners who reside in Whitehorse equally with those who reside in the communities?
Take, for example, the lucky residents of Ross River. In April, 2013, the Yukon government approved $6 million for a new recreation centre. With a population of 370 people in Ross River, that works out to just over $16,000 per person.
If the Department of Community Services’ sport and recreation funds were allocated at the same per capita rate to the 27,000 residents of Whitehorse, it would amount to $432 million dollars. That would be plenty to cover the present shortfall at Sima.
Yukon Bureau of Statistics reports that the city of Whitehorse experienced an increase in population from 21,000 to 27,000 between 1991 and 2012. (Ross River’s population, on the other hand, has declined from 388 to 370 during the same period.)
Statistics Canada’s 2011 census reports that the Yukon, with 34,000 people, is the fastest growing place in Canada, ahead of all other provinces and territories. Our population grew steadily from 2006 to 2011, at a rate of 11.6 per cent. The majority are between the ages of 15 and 64.
The Great Northern Ski Society has worked hard to come up with a business plan that is also designed for steady growth and fits our community profile. The Mount Sima business model has long-term goals, including diversifying to offer year-round healthy outdoor pursuits for Yukoners and visitors of all ages, adding to our quality of life and tourism potential. It provides numerous non-government jobs, while trying to pay down operating costs.
The Yukon government should step up and support this worthwhile outdoor recreation facility.