March 7, 2011

THE GENERAL PLAN
SOME CONSTRUCTIVE CONCERNS

     The General Plan proposed by our GPC Committee is a plan subject to many changes as it goes through the review and analysis process. It was developed by a 7 member GPC Committee with input form various town hall meetings last summer attended by a few of us. Not of it is inscribed in stone -yet. Each major component must be approved by the Board and will be vetted both as scope, priority, design, and of course - cost. That is why your opinions are so vital.
As many of you know,I do not oppose upgrades at TD where needed. Indeed we have many areas that need attention . As a past Board member and President though (2003-2006), I am concerned that, given the major significance of this General Plan and its proposed short construction timeline, our members be given the time (this summer) to review it, get answers and give input. If as proposed an assessment is not needed, the board does not need member approval. For this reason, I suggest that we have at least 2 major "discussion" meetings this summer with staff and both representatives of the finance committee and GPC , to review their priorities (and yours) and the basis for their recommendations. (They have spent a lot of time developing this plan and deserve our praise by the for doing this work).
Six years ago we completed some major improvements and we came up short- lets get it right this time-its your money. Make your opinions known to your Board before they vote on these components by writing letters, emailing the board and most important going to meetings. If you don't, probable resulting dues increases will make you wish you had.

My Observations

1) Priorities: Trout Creek and the "Lodge". These Amenities are our most visible and highest use amenities. Why are their deficiencies (Lodge-No year round multi use meeting areas, space; Trout Creek – more space-) last on the agenda and not first?  Why spend 500k to band aid the maintenance building and then build a new on in 2017?If Banquet Facilities are so important why is that slotted for 2019 and what facility would house it?
2) Downhill Ski Lodge: Why spend 8 million (1/2 the money available) on a new ski lodge that members use only 20-25% of the time? (To date it has reached peak use 10 days this year) If snowmaking is so important here, why is it not addressed until 2020?? (Last year we just spent $700,000 to remodel the Ski lodge, this plan now calls for tearing it down!) This remodel (which improved traffic flows) gives this well maintained facility 25-60 more years of useful life.
Our small ski hill has a very narrow market niche. If we more than double its size, the already existing and future "deficit cost" overhead (labor, energy, insurance, water) will not be made up from any planned small revenue increases .As this deficit grows while we subsidize its public use (75%), your dues will have to cover this growing deficit. It is doubtful any future business plan for this amenity will be "deficit neutral". (If you include all the Capital Costs of each amenity, all of our amenities run actual deficits-Typical of most HO's)
3) Cross-Country- the peak capacity for this facility is reached primarily during holiday's periods. At a planned 2-1/2 increase in size, the overhead cost deficit many mirror the lodge. Do we really need lockers rooms and showers here and if so why?  If, however, the proposed building is made into a seasonal year round use, the functional use would make much more sense. For example, why not reduce the Equestrian use there, and expand the summer use (Mountain biking etc)
Our new construction should address some of our past shortfall's first. A year round or seasonal multi use facility with increased capacity would have far greater member "value" and acceptability. Rather than taking on both ski hill and cross-country improvements simultaneously, wouldn't we be better served doing one right and not shortchanging the other?

4) Open Space $. —What land is contemplated and why?

We have the best staff I have seen in 12 years and a hard working Board. Let's work together to get needed improvements done.

Greg McDougall.