apex reciever 

The provincial government and Apex Resorts Corporation may be seeing a lot of each other in court over the next few months. After the province threatened to put the Okanagan ski resort into receivership if it’s $8 million loan isn’t repaid by Aug. 2, resort president Mel Reeves threatened Tuesday to fight the province in court over the matter. Apex is also pursuing a $125 million suit against the province over lost revenues and higher-than-expected construction costs due to native blockades of the resort access road in the fall of 1994. A representative of the Ministry of Employment and Investment said the loan was being called because Apex had failed to identify new investors during several months of negotiations to restructure the loan. Reeves countered by saying: "The reason we’re unable to repay the loan is that the government failed to provide us unimpeded access to the resort. How can you attract new investors when they’re the reason we can’t repay the debt?" The acting mayor of Penticton told the CBC she believes the province has a responsibility to keep Apex open and maintain the local economy, particularly in winter. Provincial representatives said the move to put the resort in receivership was a business decision. Reeves suggested the province’s motivation might be to close the resort and thus weaken the natives’ bargaining position, since there would be no public inconvenience if there was no resort at the end of the road. Apex has been threatening the federal and provincial governments and the three native bands in the area with the $125 million suit since last summer. The resort contends the governments allowed the five-week blockade in the fall of 1994 to take place. The blockade caused Apex to open two weeks later than scheduled that winter, put 250 on-mountain jobs at risk, led to many holiday cancellations and caused investors to fold up their chequebooks. Following the blockade the publicly-traded ski resort secured an $8 million loan, guaranteed by the province, to keep it afloat. The final $3 million instalment of the loan was announced in May, 1995. Hotel builders and lift manufacturer Doppelmayr were still owed $1.5 million at that time. The province was reportedly charging a one per cent annual fee, and lenders were slapping on a risk premium and bank fee of a further two per cent above prime interest rates. Former Apex president Fraser Martin told Pique last summer the loan would allow the resort to concentrate on raising equity for the next phase of its expansion, which included summer facilities such as a golf course and tennis courts. "People are ready to come in with money," Martin said at the time. "They just need to have confidence that the project won't be torpedoed." Martin interpreted the loan as a signal that the NDP was committed to Apex's success and was serious about resolving the dispute with the Penticton, Upper Similkameen and Lower Similkameen bands.

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