Approval in principle has been given by city council for water access for snow making infrastructure on Red Mountain, but there are still several humps to clear before the project is realized.
The Red Mountain Racers Society was given the yellow light by city council last week to obtain water from Star Gulch reservoir for snow making purposes on Red Mountain.
The request made to council was to enter into a water use agreement between the city and the society for the purposes of establishing an athlete’s training facility at Red Mountain.
But the city will first have to do some leg work to see if it can amend its water licence, said city deputy chief administrative officer Tracey Butler.
“Right now we are investigating what it would take to approve that (agreement) with the licensing we have with the Ministry of Environment on our water reservoir,” she said.
Then the city will have to determine the costs involved to complete the agreement and obtain provincial approval, said Rossland Mayor Greg Granstrom. After that the city and the society will have to agree on costs.
“But council certainly agrees that it could be a benefit to the community, so that’s the agreement in principle,” he said. “But the nuts and bolts of it, there still needs to be some discussion.”
The society will have to raise approximately $2.1 million to fund the development of the training facility and the snowmaking infrastructure, according to their preliminary estimates.
The new training facility could bring approximately 5,000 athletes to Rossland in the month of November, as well as several thousand more in late spring for post season training.
Under the terms of the five-year draft agreement, the society agrees they will not use any additives, chemicals, agents or substances in connection with the snowmaking activities.
The society will also provide adequate backflow protection to insure that the water system and water supply facilities of the municipality are not damaged by any backflows, depressurization or drainage which may occur in connection with the operation, maintenance or shutdown of the snowmaking equipment and facilities.
As well, the city will “use its best efforts to provide the Racers with the snowmaking water as provided herein, however, the Racers shall have no guaranty of and no absolute right to receive water from the Municipality as this will be limited by the physical limitations of the delivery system and the availability of a water source to supply the snowmakmg water.”
In the agreement, in the event water levels in the city’s reservoir drop below acceptable elevation, as determined by the city’s engineer, the snowmaking infrastructure will automatically shutdown.
The society would own the snowmaking equipment and enter into a long-term operating and maintenance agreement with Red Mountain Resort for the training facility.
The $2.1 million would go toward installing snowmaking on Red Mountain and purchasing the necessary equipment to operate 10 training lanes and a terrain park.
Other improvements to be funded include a multi-purpose building which will provide coaches and athletes a space for meeting and for video analysis, as well as a race and events office.
The proposed snowmaking system would be fully automated and would have sensors which would turn the system off if at any time the reservoir levels went below the elevation predetermined by the city’s engineers.
The slopes would provide approximately 10 training lanes and could accommodate between 100 to 200 athletes per day, said Andison.
“This means we could bring an additional 5,000 people to Rossland during the shoulder seasons of November and April for pre- and post-season training,” she said.