With a deal on the table and all the pieces in place to open up for the ski season, the current operator of the Oliver-area ski resort Mount Baldy is disappointed that yet another deal has been struck down by the receiver of the mountain.
The mountain was preparing to open Dec. 18, but the current operator, the Baldy Capital Corporation, had yet to seal the deal and acquire the property currently in receivership with the Vancouver-based G-Force Group.
A 10-month effort to formalize the purchase of the asset came down to a “drop dead” deadline set by the Baldy Capital Corporation to accept the deal on Nov. 4.
The deal was not accepted by G-Force at the deadline, leaving the resort in jeopardy of not opening this year. There was some debate as to whether or not Baldy Capital Corporation would open the mountain this year and a press release issued by receiver G-Force Group in September said that the offer “was not acceptable to the primary secured creditor or receiver.”
“We have not receive an offer that could be accepted, from anybody,” Gary Powroznik with the G-Force Group said. “Despite what you’ve heard, that’s the reality.”
G. Powroznik Group Inc, part of G-Force Real Estate Inc., was appointed marketing agent for the assets by the Supreme Court of B.C. in mid-July, 2014 by a secured creditor under a court-supervised foreclosure action.
Financing and “the inability by any of the potential buyers or operators to arrange sufficient financing to ensure that all creditors can be paid during the upcoming ski season,” has been the key hurdle for G-Force according to a press release issued Nov. 5.
“The secured creditor has been very reasonable in its support to the receiver and potential purchasers to complete a purchase or find an operator for the resort on reasonable terms,” the press release said. “Unfortunately none of the potential purchasers or operators has arranged financing needed to buy the resort or to operate it.”
The release said that G-Force is still “hopeful that one of the prospects we are speaking to can raise the required financing to support the re-opening of the resort for this year.”
Though Fred Johnston, president of the Baldy Capital Corporation, said the deal is bigger to the community than the dollars and cents.
“It was not accepted. They are still trying to run out the clock on it. There seems to be little concern from Vancouver about the ski hill operating in the Interior,” said Johnston. “There is no regard for the community, no regard for the 50 people who won’t have work this winter. Not a pretty situation.”
Baldy Capital Corporation was working together with the community and initiatives have been in place during the build up to opening day including a new ticketing and administration office in Osoyoos, new on-hill accommodations, a rental program, ski-and-stay partnerships with 14 off-hill hotels, new school programs, renovations to the lodge and the reinstatement of bussing to and from the hill.
“We’ve done a lot of groundwork that hasn’t been in place for many years and we were looking forward to a stellar season, so it’s more than a little disappointing,” Johnston said.
“The long and short of it is we did enter an agreement on December of last year and we’ve not been able to bring conclusion to that agreement, the goal post keeps moving,” Johnston said.
The insurance company for the resort has advised the Baldy Capital Corporation that they are not willing to renew insurance for next year if the receiver is still in place as of Dec. 1, 2015. Due to this, the ownership and operation are now connected.
With the insurance deadline, there is now an even smaller window for this deal to result in the hill operating this year.
“There is a window that’s very narrow now, what it is exactly I can’t say for certain, but the clock is definitely running out,” Johnston said.
He said G-Force group is failing to see the efforts and desire from the communities surrounding Mt. Baldy.
“We’ve used up all our bullets in trying to come to an agreement. If the other side cannot realize the concern in the community then it probably won’t open,” Johnston said.
Johstons said he is hearing disappointment from community members who collaborated efforts for opening day, as well as a lack of understanding why a deal can’t be made.
“Same in our case, we don’t understand it,” Johnston said. “We have no bullets left.”
G-Force said they will also “consider any new serious enquiries or realistic options.”