Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

December 11, 2008 14:30 ET

Government of Canada Supports Long-Term Success of Yukon Ski Hill

WHITEHORSE, YUKON--(Marketwire - Dec. 11, 2008) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians today announced funding toward the development of a business plan for the Mt. Sima alpine facility in Whitehorse.

"Canada is pleased to support this valuable asset in Whitehorse," said Minister Strahl. "Mt. Sima will expand winter tourism and develop athletics programs in the Yukon. It will create both recreational and employment opportunities in the community, especially for youth."

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada has allocated funding through the Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development (SINED) (http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/nth/ecd/index-eng.asp) program toward the development by the Great North Ski Society (GNSS) of a long-term sustainability plan for the Mt. Sima facility.

"We are pleased that Indian and Northern Affairs Canada has seen the value in supporting Mt. Sima," said Craig Hougen, President of GNSS. "The opportunity to develop a solid long-term plan in addition to the other support we have received for operations gives us every opportunity to succeed as a viable facility that contributes to the community."

The business plan will help the Great Northern Ski Society establish direction and momentum for the Mt. Sima project and develop a sustainable, long-term athletic and recreational facility in the Yukon. The plan could also serve as a model for future Yukon winter and sport-tourism projects.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is working with territorial governments, First Nations and Northerners to develop and support economic development initiatives that increase economic self-reliance. SINED funded projects foster new investment and expand job and income opportunities in the North.

The SINED initiative is a set of programs offered by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The goal of this initiative is to promote the economic development of the North - strengthening territories' economies and generating important economic opportunities for Northerners.

This announcement reinforces the Government's work to advance an integrated Northern Strategy that will strengthen Canada's Arctic sovereignty, protect the North's environmental heritage, promote social and economic development, and improve and devolve northern governance.

This release is also available on the Internet at www.inac.gc.ca


BACKGROUNDER

About the Great Northern Ski Society's Mt. Sima project

Founded in 1993, Mt. Sima is the only ski hill in the Whitehorse area. It was the site of the alpine skiing, snowboarding and freestyle skiing events during the Canada Winter Games in 2007. The Great Northern Ski Society (GNSS) is a not-for-profit organization that developed, and now owns and oversees, the Mt. Sima alpine facility in Whitehorse, Yukon.

The GNSS is in the process of developing strategies for Mt. Sima's long-term growth and success. Their goal is to transform the hill into a sustainable contributor to Yukon's economic, community development, athletics and the winter tourism sectors. Current plans include an ongoing upgrade of the hill, lounge and lodge and a detailed budget and business plan to guide the society into multi-season sustainability. The GNSS has also recently added many expert partners to its board of directors, which will play a key role advising and supporting the society throughout the Mt. Sima Ski Hill project.

Funding from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)

INAC funding of $150,000 through Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development (SINED) will be used to develop both short and long-term business plans for the GNSS. There are three parts to this investment. First, funds will be used to develop and to implement a short-term business plan to organise the Society. Second, funds will be used to develop hill operating and maintenance plans including procedures for lift operation and vehicles. Finally, funds will be directed toward the creation of a long-term sustainability plan (2009-2014) for the facility.

Funding from Yukon Government and City of Whitehorse

The Yukon Government (YG) provides expert representation on the board of directors and funds technical staff and a portion of the general manager / project manager's costs. Yukon Government Sport and Recreation Staff also provide administrative support for the project. YG provided the City of Whitehorse with a $200,000 Sport and Recreation Infrastructure Grant, which the City then allocated to Mt. Sima.

The City of Whitehorse is the land-owner and has provided ongoing support to the project. It has contributed $25,000 to the project and continues to provide technical support for staff training and equipment maintenance. Representatives of the city also sit on the board.

Funding from Yukon Lottery Commission

GNSS also received $200,000 of bridge-funding for the 2009-2010 from the Yukon Lottery Commission to ensure that the business plan for Mt. Sima and the facility itself will be operational for a minimum of two years and during the summer months.

Contact Information

  • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    Media Relations
    819-953-1160
    or
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    Yukon Region
    Elizabeth Effa, Communications Officer
    867-667-3848
    or
    Great Northern Ski Society
    Craig Hougen
    President
    867-333-0144