By Spencer Hall, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG
The design firm behind the long-awaited Valemount Glacier Destinations ski resort, Pheidias Group, says it’s helping Valemount Glacier Destinations work with potential investors to secure funding for the proposed project.
The provincial government approved the year-round glacier skiing resort in 2017 with a planned opening date of December 2018. However, the project has faced several challenges since then, including a lack of investment, higher construction costs, inflation, and supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vice president of Pheidias Group, Tommaso Oberti, told The Goat last week that the company and Valemount Glacier Destinations is working with “several interested parties” to complete financing for the project but couldn’t identify them because of confidentiality and “due diligence” reasons. He said construction of the resort can start once project funding has been finalized.
“It is difficult to place a timeline on it. The project has been delayed for a variety of reasons, but we continue to work towards its realization and strongly believe it will be an unparalleled Canadian tourism destination once complete.” Oberti said.
Oberti said MM Realty, the company originally responsible for finding investors, has been unsuccessful in finding the complete funding amount required for the resort, but the company is still involved in the project, though not as active as before.
The Ministry of Tourism said in an emailed statement the project’s master development agreement (MDA) remains in good standing in its 60-year term and will expire in March 2077.
“The MDA is replaceable for a new term recognizing the development of a destination resort has substantial upfront investment and is a permanent project on Crown Land,” the Ministry said.
In the meantime, the Ministry’s mountain resorts branch is working with the Valemount Ski Society to set up a community ski area in the resort’s tenure area — an initiative the Province said has its support, along with that of Valemount Glacier Destinations and Simpcw First Nation.