Whistler-based Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners will be busy in B.C., but not in Alberta.
Ecosign has announced it has been forced to withdraw its proposal to prepare a new master plan for Canada Olympic Park, the ski area just outside of Calgary, because of a possible conflict with the Vancouver-Whistler bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
"This was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make," Ecosign president Paul Mathews said in a releases.
"We were informed that the Canada Olympic Park board of directors required that all bids were contingent upon an iron-clad pledge that if selected, we would not undertake any professional work to assist the Vancouver-Whistler bid for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. I have never had my loyalty stretched so far," Mathews said.
Mathews estimates he flew to Calgary on average once per week between 1981 and 1984 while working for the Calgary Olympic Development Association and the Government of Alberta in evaluating and recommending sites for the Calgary Winter Games. Ecosign did the design and layout of the alpine skiing venues at Nakiska and prepared the master plan for Canada Olympic Park to include ski jumps, bobsled, luge and freestyle aerials and ballet.
"As such, we have a very strong loyalty to Calgary and its Olympic association," Mathews said.
"However, if we were called upon to assist our own community here in Whistler and importantly our very long-term customer, Intrawest, for whom we have worked in two provinces and five states, how could we turn our backs? In the end, I simply could not make the exclusive pledge to Calgary and we were forced to withdraw from future consideration."
Ecosign is currently working on a master plan update for Intrawest’s Mont Tremblant in Quebec, and new master plans for Intrawest’s Snowshoe in West Virginia, Vernon Valley/Great Gorge in New Jersey, Copper Mountain in Colorado, Mammoth Mountain in California and Whistler Mountain. The company is also working on master plans for two Norwegian resorts, three Swiss resorts and St. Anton and Serfaus in Austria.
Meanwhile, Ecosign’s design concept for the redevelopment of the Fernie ski area, now called Fernie Alpine Resort, was recently chosen by the resort’s Alberta owners, Skiing Louise Ltd.
The plan includes design concepts for the ski area, resort land use and a village centre. The plans were reviewed by members of the public at meetings in October and December.
Skiing Louise’s Charlie Locke bought the Fernie Snow Valley ski area last spring. Locke, who also owns the Lake Louise, Nakiska, Fortress and Wintergreen ski areas in Alberta, has long-range plans for the Fernie area that include extensive real estate development, something that isn’t possible at his other Alberta resorts.
Ecosign has also been involved in the design and redevelopment of Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops. The official opening of The Village at Sun Peaks takes place this weekend.