“This is an unfortunate turn of events. The Drumheller Valley Ski Hill had over a year to meet the requirements we all agreed upon,” said Mayor Terry Yemen. “In that time not only were those requirements not met, but the association lost their status as a registered not for profit organization.”
In the spring of 2009, the town cancelled its existing agreement with the Drumheller Valley Ski Club, which dates back to 1997, because of non-performance issues. In October of last year they rescinded the notice on the conditions the ski club acknowledged its indebtedness to the town, and that the organization would settle that debt “within a reasonable amount of time,” stated a press release. Upon meeting those conditions, the ski club could sell the land to Badlands Ski Hill Ltd., owned by Zrinko Amerl.
Come this November these conditions have not been met to the town’s satisfaction.
“The sale was conditional, and the conditions were not met – that is the dilemma,” said Mayor Yemen.
Badlands Ski Hill Ltd. sent out a written statement on its position regarding the ski hill. It states all the “non-disputed” conditions of the agreement were met. It does dispute a long-standing water bill.
The Badlands Ski Hill’s position states the condition of the agreement was that the club clears its outstanding water bill dating back to 2002, which comes to about $30,000, and that the town is to supply proof for the charges.
Amerl said they are in dispute of the billing amounts.
According to the Badlands Ski Hill release, the Town of Drumheller water bill from 2002 to 2007 totaled under $18,000, and the bills for the 2007-2008 season and the 2008-2009 season were over $12,000. It said the first portion of the bill was a donation to the ski club, and there was never an attempt to collect. The second portion of the bill was never justified by the Town’s administration. It also claims the water meter was replaced in January 2010, and had not functioned since the summer of 2007.
“It was in there (the agreement) the town would provide proof of that water,” said Amerl.
“I believe the only issue we have on the table is this water bill.”
He adds the bill for the water during the time the water meter was not operating is much too high.
Mayor Yemen said he was unaware there was disagreement on the amount of the debt.
“Certainly no one came to me with any disputes,” said Yemen.
Amerl also stated there was no expiry on the agreement.
“You cannot go and say you are going to cancel it because you got sick and tired waiting, you can’t do it,” said Amerl. “In an agreement, if time is of the essence, you put in it ‘time is of the essence’ and you put the deadlines in it.”
Yemen said more than a year should be enough time.
“You have to go with what is reasonable, and I think a reasonable person would say that a year is more than reasonable,” said Yemen.
At this point, Yemen said the ski hill is closed, but hopes someone will be operating the hill this season.
“It is council’s hope that a group or organization will come forward with a viable business plan that will allow for a 2010/2011 ski season. Our intention is to ensure the long term viability of this recreation area and we will consider proposals for the continuation of the ski hill operations,” said Mayor Yemen.