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Bittersweet: Business community mixed over Red Mountain Resort shuttle
The decision to allow for a free, day time, continuous shuttle from the city’s downtown to Red Mountain Resort for only one year was bittersweet for the business community.
Led by Tourism Rossland’s executive director Deanne Steven, a group of prominent business people, including representatives from Red Mountain Resort, heard council approve a motion for funding for one year, not the two years it was after.
The reduced time frame was a hard pill to swallow for those who looked to establish a solid service in the area, said Steven.
“I know there are a lot of things I won’t be able to do (with Tourism Rossland) because I will have to prepare and come back again here next year to do it all over again,” she said, noting she has worked solely on the project for the last three months in preparation.
And, because of the time and effort involved in staging the service, two years would have allowed TR to build the data to show proper usage, and make a solid case for the third year and years to come.
The one-year contract also limits TR’s options for a shuttle bus service contractor, said Steven.
“Our pool of possible contractors is narrowed,” she said. “A one-year contract isn’t as attractive to a business that needs to buy a bus.”
Tourism Rossland is a non profit society and it is not their mandate to provide transportation, although it operated a limited service from the city's downtown to the ski hill for the first time last year.
The service was something the ski resort and the business community have stressed as vital for economic survival.
Steven said TR had raised $22,375 in support from local businesses—with some post dated cheques already in hand—and organizations for the shuttle bus.
• Based on the two per cent tax there could be an annual cost drawn from the RMI of $48,000 for the shuttle service.
• The expanded scope of the service would cost around $78,000 for the season. Last year it cost TR $14,000 to operate the shuttle on a much more limited basis.
• The two per cent is the calculated portion of the hotel room tax the city—directed by Tourism Rossland—receives from the province from its general revenue.
• There are 367 units right now registered in the city, yielding a one per cent return.
The shuttle would run from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The times for the evening service were not set.
The shuttle would run every day that Red Mountain is operating for the winter of 2013/14 with an opening date of no earlier than Dec. 14 and finishing no later than April 6.
The bus would make loops through downtown and back to the Red Mountain area on a fixed schedule of almost continuous loops.
The route would be determined by stakeholder buy in and feasibility of routes.
The contractor would operate a 24-passenger side loading bus with space to store skis and boards.