AlpenRock looking for ecology outlet AlpenRock, the $6.6 million renovation of the space below Starbucks and Eddie Bauer, is seeking contact with any and all private conservation organizations. The yet-to-be subterranean entertainment emporium has plans to promote ecology in Whistler by establishing a charity foundation called "Save the Mountains." The foundation will be dedicated to the preservation of the local environment. When AlpenRock opens, every customer visit will generate a fixed donation to the foundation. The fund will then be spent on small scale projects incorporating environmental education, restoration and conservation. Senior VP Nigel Protter says the fund will become a local tradition. "Our goal is to create an on-going program of boot-strap funding, matching funds, and volunteer person-power, alone and in concert with other locally operated corporate entities, which like us, wish to give back to the environment." Protter says that the ideal projects must be apolitical, local-scale, non-commercial, community-involving, affordable, meaningful and show excellent potential for near-term affect. The AlpenRock House concept was pioneered in Zurich, where the facility includes an authentic 200-year-old Swiss mountain chalet, a restaurant and bar, all under a simulated night-time mountain sky. The Whistler operation is currently awaiting municipal approval, which is expected shortly. The Whistler AlpenRock will include bowling lanes and billiard tables and may eventually also include a stage and other entertainment activities. The joint-venture partners in the Whistler enterprise are MagiCorp Inc. of Toronto (with leisure and entertainment projects in Japan, Europe, Russia, China and North America), and Flughafen-Restaurant AG (FRZ), Zurich. FRZ is part of group that includes Swissair, the national airline of Switzerland, and Alders, a world-wide duty-free and gift store operation, with combined annual revenues of over $7 billion. The Canadian-Swiss joint venture has exclusive rights to transplant the AlpenRock House concept to North America and Japan. Since the original, 15,000 square foot Zurich complex opened in March, 1996, it has been booked to its 1,000 person capacity every weekend and grossing annual revenues of nearly $10 million.


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