‘We all want what’s best for the hot springs,” said Katie Hayhurst, president of the board of directors for Takhini Hot Springs Ltd.
Unfortunately the group’s 43 shareholders can’t agree on what that is.
The majority would like to create a partnership with Vancouver developer Zane Bouvette.
Bouvette has proposed investing large amounts of money into the location, building an eco-spa, cabins and a hotel.
Takhini Hot Springs Ltd. would retain rights to the water source and over half of the property, said Hayhurst.
The international reality group Sotheby’s, who Bouvette has worked with in the past, would handle marketing.
A minority of shareholders — nearly 40 per cent — doesn’t like the idea of a partnership with Bouvette.
The partnership deal has been put on hold, as the group is unable to function with all of the infighting.
In an attempt to solve the problem, Takhini Hot Springs Ltd. is now up for sale.
There are three different options for a qualified investor.
One could buy out the minority shareholders and go ahead with plans for the eco-spa, hotel and cabins.
One could offer a bid on the majority of the shares and do as one sees fit.
Or an investor could just buy the whole thing, which would cost around $3 million.
Takhini Hot Springs Ltd. purchased the hot springs April 1, 1999 with a group of 18 investors.
Beginning the venture on April Fool’s day proved ominous.
The area was originally purchased with the intent of setting up a co-housing community.
Unfortunately the group was a conglomeration of two separate co-housing groups.
“The two groups could never pull it together, our ideas were too different,” said Hayhurst.
“The group just didn’t work.”
The hot springs currently offers a campground, a café, and two hot pools that are drained and cleaned every night.
Sometimes the pipes plug up, and there have been problems with the septic, said Hayhurst.
This year management was forced to raise fees for the first time since they opened.
Local adults now have to pay $8 instead of the previous $7.
“There’s a limit to how much you can charge; people underestimate the time and resources it takes to do something with it,” said Hayhurst.
“We can’t keep patching it up for much longer.”
The hot springs has been in private hands since it was bought in 1907.
However, the Yukon government could now offer to buy the site, like it did with the Yukon Wildlife Preserve just down the road.
“That’s another option,” said Hayhurst.
The shareholders of Takhini Hot Springs Ltd. say they hope that any new development to the area maintains a strong Yukon presence and is sensitively and environmentally planned.
Beyond that lays the bone of contention.
“We have tremendous potential, but haven’t been able to reach that potential,” said Hayhurst.
“We’re all disappointed that it failed.”