TBM renews pumphouse 30-year lease for Blue Mountain snowmaking

The Town of The Blue Mountains and Blue Mountain Resort have a new 30-year agreement for the location of the resort’s snowmaking pumphouse.

At its committee of the whole meeting on June 10, The Blue Mountains council unanimously approved a staff report that outlined the new agreement for the resort’s pumphouse at Northwinds Beach and authorized the mayor and clerk to execute a formal agreement between the two parties.

The original 30-year agreement between Blue Mountain Resort and Collingwood Township was signed in 1994 and was set to expire in July 2024. Town staff and the resort negotiated a new agreement for 30 years that has an automatic five-year renewal clause at the end of the term.

The new agreement’s placement on the agenda for the meeting prompted an appearance in the council chambers by resort president Dan Skelton, who said the pumphouse is a critical piece of infrastructure for the resort.

“We pump 240 million gallons a year to make a full season,” said Skelton, noting that the resort’s water ponds can store 24 million gallons. “Ninety per cent of the water we pump comes from the bay.”

The agreement between the town and the resort only covers the resort’s use of the Northwinds Beach property for the pumphouse building. The building includes public washrooms and infrastructure for the wireless internet signal provided by the town at the beach.

The water-taking aspect of the operation is managed by the province’s Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks.

Skelton also addressed concerns raised in the community that the resort is making more snow for its operations in response to milder winter conditions in recent times. Skelton said that is not the case.

“We are not making more snow. We are making less snow,” he said.

Skelton said the resort is more strategic in its approach to how it makes snow and manages snow on the ski hills.

“It’s expensive to pump more (water),” said Skelton.

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca