City denies Sima funding

The city said no to Mount Sima, at least for this year. On Monday night, city council voted four to two against giving the Friends of Sima funds to help run the hill this season.

The city said no to Mount Sima, at least for this year.

On Monday night, city council voted four to two against giving the Friends of Sima funds to help run the hill this season.

As council made its decision, groans and boos rose from the crowded audience of Sima supporters, who left dispirited as soon as the vote was called.

The group had requested $72,400. That amount had decreased from $200,000, after including contributions by the territory and Mount Sima’s three user groups – Snowboard Yukon, the Alpine Ski Association and the Freestyle Ski Association.

By denying the request, city council will instead have to pay $65,000 to mothball the facility for the year.

Friends of Sima had also filed the paperwork required to incorporate, as requested by the city, Henderson said.

Before the decision, she made one final plea to the city to help fund the hill, highlighting the work her organization has done in its eight-week lifespan.

“We say we have done what council asked us. We say we have done much more. A ‘yes’ vote will allow us to move forward. A ‘no’ vote won’t just mean the hill won’t open. It will be seen as an insult to those of us who have done hard work over the past couple of weeks. It would strongly suggest that council is unwilling to work with the community,” Henderson said.

Henderson’s words were enough to convince Coun. John Streicker and Coun. Kirk Cameron. They were the only two who voted to provide the funding. Dave Stockdale was absent from the meeting.

“The amount of the ask is very close to the same amount as not running the hill,” said Streicker. “The difference to the taxpayer is not that big right now. We asked them to become a society. They signed the paperwork. We asked them to go get the community’s support, and they came back with 800 pledges. They’ve done what we asked them to. I think it would only be fair, and I’d be willing to support the total amount.”

But the others remained unconvinced.

“This decision kills me,” said deputy mayor Jocelyn Curteanu. “I can see the support out there. I can see the work that went into getting this hill up and running.”

“My heart tells me one thing, but my head, on the other hand, tells me a different story. We need to take adequate time to study all of the details, the past policies … it takes more than eight weeks to do that,” Curteanu said.

Friends of Sima have secured 800 pledges to buy season passes. The Yukon government promised to match donations up to $70,000 for this season, but that money depended on the city making a “significant” contribution.

Council debated the issue for over an hour before making its decision. At one point, Streicker proposed an amendment that would make city funding hinge upon the group securing money for half of their season pass pledges by Oct. 31.

But it wasn’t enough to convince his colleagues.

“I think it’s a breach of faith,” Henderson said after the vote.

“They put something to us, we rose to the challenge. It’s one argument after another and it changes every time. We met every challenge they put out to us. It’s extremely disappointing and crushing that the city has no faith, has no trust and doesn’t support that hill.”

Henderson couldn’t say whether the group would continue its fight to get the hill open.

“I don’t have any comment on that. That’s up to the volunteers to see what they can bring together,” Henderson said.

“I’m heartbroken,” said Norm Curzon, the president of Snowboard Yukon, in an interview following the meeting.

“The Friends of Sima put in a tremendous effort. It’s a shame to see that work did not lead to an immediate realization of their goal, which was seeing Sima open for this year. That doesn’t mean it isn’t possible for next year,” he said.

Curzon said that Snowboard Yukon plans to hold a board meeting to examine other training locations for its athletes, but that some are considering leaving the territory if the hill isn’t open.

Sport Yukon is equally concerned, said Tracey Bilsky, the organization’s president.

“I think that this will be detrimental to the grassroots growth and development of the sports. I don’t know if the city is too concerned about that or not. Definitely the development will plummet. That’s for sure,” Bilsky said.

Mayor Dan Curtis said on Tuesday that he will propose a motion to have an independent auditor examine the financial performance of the hill’s former operator, the Great Northern Ski Society.

“This isn’t a witch hunt. We want to look at all the grant money spent on the hill, whether municipal, territorial or federal, and see if we can figure out where things were falling down,” he said.

– With files from

Ashley Joannou.

Contact Jesse Winter at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read