The city is entering into a one-year operational subsidy agreement with the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority to operate Laurentian Ski Hill this coming season.
It includes up to $100,000 in city money.
A staff report says without it, Laurentian would be forced to close for the 2023-24 season.
Mayor Peter Chirico says coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues, like the weather, led to the deficit that was incurred.
He says that will be addressed as part of their upcoming discussions.
“This is a one-year operational subsidy as we work into a transition plan to take over the hill that the conservation authority will have to divest themselves of due to legislation,” says Mayor Peter Chirico.
He says they know the hill is an economic development tool and will make sure it continues to be an asset within the city.
Chirico says the volunteer board has done a tremendous job getting the hill ready and moving it into a four-season facility.
“I think last weekend was a prime example,” he says. “There were a lot of people there. Going up the hill to see the fall colours, to see the kids and the families out supporting the ski hill at this time is a testament to the asset that we have in the city and there’s more to be done.”
Councillor Gary Gardener supported the motion but also wants to see some policy work done because there are a lot of groups in the city that run sports organizations and facilities.
“It’s difficult to rationalize why you’d support one group over the other,” he says. “I’m looking for a long-term comprehensive policy that we can develop so we know how we’re going to support groups in the future if they struggle.”
Funds for the one-time operational subsidy will be coming from reserves.
Staff will also be preparing an options analysis for Council regarding a ski and snowboarding partnership in the city, including operating the upcoming season and future budget implications.