Earlier this year, Peace River Ski Club requested financial assistance from the Town of Peace River in the sum of $40,000.
At its regular council meeting on July 24, council decided to support the Ski Club, a club that has been working tirelessly to dig out of financial hardships from years passed.
“The council supported the ski club’s financial request with assistance in the repayment of the Ski Hill’s $40,000 CEBA loan, which is due Dec. 31,” says Peace River Mayor Elaine Manzer.
“Although the ski hill has made major steps in dealing with its financial capacity, it does not have the funds to repay the loan by the deadline, and if the loan were not repaid by Dec. 31, the loan becomes $60,000 on Jan. 1, 2024.”
The CEBA, or Canada Emergency Business Account, loan was provided as a interest free bridging to small businesses and non-profits during Covid. Eligible CEBA borrowers that are in good standing, repaying the balance before Dec. 31 will result in loan forgiveness of up to 33 per cent. In order for the Ski Club to realize the $20,000 forgiveness, they had to pay the full loan by the deadline.
“The council split the $40,000 into two amounts,” explains Manzer. “A grant of $20,000 which is funded from the Town’s General Operating Reserve conditional on the Peace River Ski Club’s CEBA Loan remaining due on Dec. 31, 2023. The second $20,000 would be provided to the Ski Club under a bylaw for the provision of an interest-free loan.”
Manzer says it’s not unusual for the Town to help out recreational venues that benefit residents of the community.
“In the past, town councils have approved loans to other groups such as the Peace Country Sports Club for $56,083 with the Town being required to make the final payment of $8,800, and Peace River Curling Club $40,000 on which the club continues to make payments,” says Manzer. “The Municipal Government ACT (MGA) requirements must be followed if the Town is providing financial commitments to non-profits that are not direct grants.”
According to the town’s administration, there has been some suggestion in the media that the federal government may make some adjustments to these outstanding loans, such as extending the term of the grant.
“The Ski Hill is valued as a regional amenity for residents, and those considering moving to the area,” Manzer says.
“The Town is presently supporting a study of the infrastructure at the Ski Hill to help with future decisions about the Ski Hill and the Ski Hill Society,” she adds.
Manzer says the Ski Hill has had operational challenges for several years with several groups of dedicated volunteers working on keeping it viable.