The break-in at Mt. Timothy Ski Area which was discovered this week is just one more problem to add to the list of troubles facing the local ski hill this year.
Society president Mike Kidston said he found the doors to the main lodge and an equipment shed broken and items stolen when he went to the hill Sunday, April 15.
“I was annoyed more than anything,” Kidston said Friday. “I guess I’m getting a jaundiced view of human nature.”
An ATV, snowmobile and rental equipment are believed to be some of the items stolen but the real scope of the damage won’t be known until volunteers review their lists of inventory. 100 Mile House RCMP are investigating, while all the buildings on site have been secured.
The news of the break-in has drawn the ire of many local supporters of Mt. Timothy.
The struggling non-profit society had just finished locking up the ski area April 8 following a season that included a late start and ongoing financial struggles.
Kidston noted the society has actually felt the pressure of financial strain for the past several years, and it’s difficult at this point to find a way forward.
“When you are just breaking even every year and you’re just trying to make payroll, everything you’re doing is a struggle,” he said.
“I hate to see the doors close and it rot into the ground but I’m sort of at a loss right now as to what to do to save the hill. I’m ready to embrace any knight in shining armour that comes along to help us.”
That savour could come in the form of taxpayers in the region.
Last month the society, with Kidston taking the lead as president just a few months ago, approached local governments in Williams Lake, 100 Mile House and the regional district seeking annual funding to put the hill back on firm ground with yearly funding up to $300,000.
Kidston hopes the matter can be taken to referendum during the fall elections, but he’s hearing rumblings that some politicians don’t support the move, and that it may be too late to take it to referendum by October.
“I haven’t heard back anything regarding whether the matter would be put to referendum. I’m not overly optimistic but if you don’t ask you don’t get anywhere.”
Mt. Timothy Ski Area has been in operation for 30 years and is one of the field-trip highlights of the year for School District 27 students, who visit the hill annually.
It is also popular with young families who like to be active outdoors in the winter, he said, as well as with professionals moving to the Cariboo.
Kidston agrees it would be a complete shame to lose the hill, and the board will continue to explore all their options.
“We’re taking it one step at a time.”