Rather than handing $15,000 over to Shames Mountain’s co-op in Terrace this year, council has opted to develop a bus service to bring Kitimatians to the mountain.
The plan was initiated by Councillor Phil Germuth who during budget deliberations managed to get the annual $15,000 grant given to the ski hill on hold until Kitimat could explore options to instead use that money for transportation.
The debate which took place on June 16 was split among two motions, the first being from Mario Feldhoff who moved to give the mountain the $15,000 as the town has done over the past few years.
However that motion failed in a tie with Edwin Empinado, Rob Goffinet and Phil Germuth opposed.
The motion which eventually passed was for the District to develop a bussing plan based on administration’s report which called for the use of a chartered 48 passenger coach bus, at a $1,642.50 cost per trip including chaperons and other costs..
It’s yet to be decided how much or if a fee will still apply to riders.
The staff had suggested a $40 charge for adults and $25 for people under 18.
For 18 trips — representing the 18 Saturdays the mountain would be open for during their open season — that would be approximately $30,000 for the whole season.
Despite the spirited debate for their first motion which failed in a split, all councillors opted to stand behind the bus service in a vote.
“I think we have an opportunity here to initiate something that may turn out to be a wild success,” said Phil Germuth. He said industries also have an opportunity to pitch in financial support to the plan.
To the first motion Feldhoff said the $15,00 is not a major amount of money.
“We would be giving a small share for the benefit of all Kitimatians who choose to go downhill skiing.”
But later for the bus motion he said “If it helps increase the recreational opportunities that’s good.”
At $15,000 only eight or nine actual trips could be afforded to the mountain based on cost estimates, and without knowing usage staff could not define a return rate if they charged fees for the travel.