A month ago, I attended the public meeting at Mount Sima. After all the debate in the media it was interesting to hear the facts first-hand.
Of all the numbers that were thrown around, the following struck me in particular: At that meeting the Great Northern Ski Society board told the crowd that the cost to run Mount Sima is about $1 million a year. Of this, Mount Sima was able to generate about $700,000 on its own. I find this pretty darn good.
This is better than many other community ski hills across the country and I would not be surprised if this result is no worse than other sporting facilities in Whitehorse.
Part of the financial troubles that shake Mount Sima go back to the Canada Winter Games held in 2007 in Whitehorse. At that time GNSS was asked to expand several runs, build a half pipe, and a new chalet was needed too. Yes, GNSS received funding for most of these improvements. But after the games they were left alone caring for increased maintenance, repairs, and fixing the never completed chalet.
So it’s not quite right to put all the blame on GNSS. After the public meeting three new working groups were formed to figure out how to run the hill in the future. It now seems like one of the biggest hurdles, paying the debts, is out of the way.
And now? I see nothing wrong with the Yukon government and the city coming up with ongoing core funding to keep the hill open. After all, both governments bragged about the great facilities during the Games, and I am quite positive both governments want the games back in Whitehorse at some point.
Last but not least: living in a community means contributing to community services. I don’t skate yet part of my tax dollars go towards the many ice rinks in town. Public transit: it’s ridiculous how few people use it, yet we run it because some depend on it. So why is Sima left out? I encourage each resident to participate in Sima’s online survey at www.mountsima.com and show strong support. And I ask the city and the Yukon government to not let Sima down!