UBC students vote to unload Whistler Lodge 

New society president and leadership team settling into new duties

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO - REFERENDUM RESULT UBC students voted last month to dispose of the property owned by the Alma Mater Society at 2124 Nordic Drive.
  • File photo
  • REFERENDUM RESULT UBC students voted last month to dispose of the property owned by the Alma Mater Society at 2124 Nordic Drive.

The unofficial votes are in and they indicate a majority of UBC students support a plan to sell the university’s lodge in Whistler.

A referendum was held in conjunction with Alma Mater Society (AMS) elections between Jan. 27 and 31. The referendum results indicated 54.6 per cent, or 4,814 of the voters, supported selling the aging facility on Nordic Drive.

The referendum was held in conjunction with AMS elections. New society president Tanner Bokor was voted into the position to take over the work done previously by Caroline Wong as AMS president.

The AMS pushed UBC students to vote yes in the referendum to explore possible options to dispose of the 42-bed hostel. The student leaders pointed out during the election campaign that the facility is currently losing $30,000 a year. The building, which was constructed in 1965, is in need of expensive roof repairs.

The 0.7 hectares (1.7 acres) at 2124 Nordic Drive has an estimated real estate value of about $1 million. According to a study done by Coriolis Consulting Corp., a 2011 assessment valued the land at $851,000 and improvements on the property at $126,000. The consulting company determined that replacing the lodge would cost an estimated $1.7 million.

The report from the consulting firm suggested the major reason for the recent decline in the use of the lodge is due to the increase in hostel-type accommodation in Whistler when some of the Olympic athlete housing at Cheakamus Crossing was converted to hostel use.

The most recent financial information for the Whistler lodge shows it generated a loss of $40,500 in 2011. One of the facility’s better years was 2008 when the net operating income was $85,396. Based on accommodation trends in Whistler, revenues generated by the lodge and operating expense reports, Coriolis Consulting determined the hostel in its current format is not financially viable.

Pique requested an interview with Bokor but a message left with him hasn't been returned.

Check back on Thursday for more on the future of the UBC Whistler Lodge.

By UBC Alma Mater Society

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