Questions remain about VGD’s welcome dinner

by EVAN MATTHEWS 

The celebration of VGD’s concreteness, while celebrated by some, left others in the community questioning how their invitation was lost.

With 93 people in formal dress, the Valemount Ski Society hosted a dinner to welcome the VGD investors to the community, while showing thanks and support for the project, according to Bruce Wilkinson, president of the ski society.

“This is important for investors to see,” says Wilkinson.

“With limited funds — now completely gone — the (Ski) Society Board had to make hard choices about who to invite,” he says.

The Goat was invited to the dinner for its efforts in covering VGD, but on the condition of not posing questions to investors.

However, some members of the community are questioning how decisions regarding the invitations were made.

Some residents from the community took to social media to express that they felt they were in the dark about what happened at the dinner.

“(The public) gets almost no information from them… Who was invited? What impressions were made?” One resident expressed via social media.

Due to the society’s limited budget, Wilkinson says local societies were invited to the dinner to represent their members. Chamber of Commerce, Community Forests, YORA, VARDA and Library Boards are all examples of that, he says.

Dignitaries including MLA for Prince George- Valemount, Shirley Bond, Mayor of Valemount, Jeannette Townsend, Director from the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, Dannielle Alan, Oberti Resort Design’s Tomasso and Oberto Oberti, and Chief of the Simpcw First Nation, Nathan Matthew were all on hand.

“Often with processes like these, people ask First Nations to be involved half way through, when people realize we have to be involved,” says Chief Matthew.

“Thank you for keeping the door open to our side,” he says.

Some businesses and individuals who made significant contributions to the work completed over the past several years — such as Yellowhead Helicopters — were invited, Wilkinson noted.

“It’s discouraging to hear some local people are upset they weren’t invited,” says Wilkinson, pointing to the rationale for societies being invited as representatives, once more.

“I’m sorry if people feel slighted. It wasn’t possible to invite the entire community,” he says.

A bigger, more community oriented welcome for the resort is in the future plans, as the construction of the resort either begins or ends, Wilkinson says, and VGD will have the opportunity to show the community exactly what they spent so much time supporting.

Although some in the community may be slightly disappointed, Wilkinson says it’s important to acknowledge the hard work of everyone who gave up so much to make VGD a reality.

“It has been five years since the inception of this idea, and similar projects have taken over 25 years without so much progress,” says Wilkinson.

The hope, according to VGD, is to have construction begin in spring 2017.

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