The Town of Drumheller has set a deadline for the Drumheller Valley Ski club to sign on for the season.
“I am instructed to advise you given all the circumstances of this matter and all the press releases, your client is to accept and sign the lease proposition no later than close of business before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, 26 of January 2011,” Yemen reads from the letter.
“Failing which, the proposed lease agreement is withdrawn without further notice to your client. Please be advised that the Town does not have a commitment to transfer the lands to the ski club given the fact that the agreement with the ski club was terminated, and once again given all the circumstance surrounding this mater the Town will not consider a transfer of land to the ski club at this time.”
It goes on to say if the club does not sign the agreement it is “to make immediate arrangements to vacate the town land.”
Zrinko Amerl, who has been speaking for the ski club speaking Monday before the ultimatum was sent, said he has been working through legal channels hoping for a resolution.
“We are at a stage that our legal advisor from Calgary has been in touch with the town’s legal advisor,” said Amerl. “The two sides from the legal aspect have to see where everybody is.”
He said a deal to purchase the land is an important aspect of any deal.
“We are working towards a long-term sustainable solution, the lease the town offered does not address what we do after,” said Amerl. “The land ownership has to be part of it, we can’t have this happening annually for whatever reason,” he said. “When I came in here and looked at the ski hill… and I looked at all the assets and all the pieces of the puzzle and I believed I could make it work, without ownership of the land I cannot make it work.”
Mayor Yemen said it is time to make a decision. He said there have not been meaningful negotiations.
“Pay your bills, sign the lease open the hill, or give people their membership money back,” said Yemen.
In the meantime, more residents who purchased ski passes are wondering if they will see their money.
Deborah Engen purchased ski passes for her three children from a local retailer, and has been trying since before Christmas to get her money back.
“When families tried to support the local ski hill for the good of the community and the well being of the youth in the community, it is really too bad that he’s got to take our money and go,” she said.
Engen told The Mail, she has spoken to a board member of the Drumheller Ski club and was told they did not collect the funds. She said if she knew the funds did not go to the Ski club, she would have not purchased them in the first place.
She has tried numerous times to call and get her money back. The calls were unanswered at the ski hill, as were her e-mails. When she did make contact she was told the ski hill would be in contact and she would have to fill out a form.
“He’s been avoiding me like the plague since before Christmas,” she said.
Engen's patience is wearing thin.
“As a community we’ve all tried to give the support the ski hill was looking to have, especially as a non-profit organization. I too have been involved in non-profit organizations,” she said.