Craig's Report - October 10, 2004
Peace in our Snow Valley?
Yesterday at the Annual General Meeting of our local community association, the directors were able to announce that an agreement had been reached in a long standing dispute between the ski hill and most ski hill property owners. While that was certainly good, what may be even more important is what we learned on the road to that agreement. However most of you who haven't already toddled off to the pictures, probably have no idea what I am talking about, so perhaps telling a little fable is in order.
The Griz is Born:
Once upon a time a man named Heiko gazed upon a mountain and saw that it was good and that with much work a place could be created where folks could revel in the powder and generally have a hoot. So Heiko caused lifts and basic things to appear on the mountain in his Snow Valley and folks came and they did indeed have a hoot.
Houses appeared at the base of the mountain and after a while Heiko realized that there would have to be some way to collect money to pay for services that these folks might want, but which the rural government would not supply. So Heiko created The Rent Charge and had it put on the title of all new buildings. Heiko used The Rent Charge sparingly and folks were happy (well sort of).
Heiko was pleased to see folks having fun, but he knew the mountain could please many more if more lifts and amenities could be built. However Heiko was a cautious man, who was reluctant to spend money he did not have.
The Griz Hits the Bottle:
Thus it came to pass that The Charlie arrived on the scene and having no such reservations, he convinced Heiko to sell him his Snow Valley, so he could add these wonderful things and make more folks happy. While the local folk were at first fearful when The Charlie changed their Snow Valley into an Alpine Resort, more lifts did appear and many more people did come and they too had a hoot.
But ill winds were blowing. Local businesses weren't being paid, promises were broken and The Charlie imposed The Rent Charge forcefully upon the folks without providing the services that the folks thought it was to pay for.
Soon though, The Charlie could no longer spend the money he didn't have and through the dark magic of bankruptcy law, Sir Murray rode in and acquired The Charlie's assets, but not his obligations. To the folks' horror, Sir Murray still left control of the ski hill to The Charlie and he continued to wield The Rent Charge until the folks rose up and launched The Law Suit.
The Griz Gets Out of Rehab:
Fortunately Sir Murray realized his mistake and The Charlie vanished from the scene. This left the trembling folks to continue their battle with Sir Murray himself, who was known far and wide as a fierce business warrior. The poor knaves entered the contest certain the wily Sir Murray would use all types of tricks and treachery against them, but as time passed the knaves came to believe that while Sir Murray was indeed a most formidable warrior, his words were good and tricks were absent. The battle was long, but honourable, and in the end an agreement most fair was reached.
Okay, that was a little over the top, but the last few years have seen considerable animosity arise towards the ski hill, not only by many of the property owners at the hill, but also by many others in the greater Fernie community. Much of that was, in my personal opinion, well deserved. However in my role as one of the knaves negotiating on behalf of the community association, I never found Murray Edwards (the Calgary billionaire who now own Resorts of the Canadian Rockies) to make a false or misleading statement. He was also willing to consider alternate opinions and suggestions and modify his positions as appropriate.
Now this does not mean that our community members or the greater community are likely to agree with the resort on all issues, but I would like to suggest that we all set aside the past mistrust and grudges that arose from the previous ownership, until such time as we have cause to believe such trust is misplaced. Sure we could get burned, but I believe that risk is small enough to more than justify the chance to live in mutual respect with our elephantine neighbour here in paradise.
End of boring editorial. Now go have a hoot. :-)