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Recreation complex considered for Pemberton

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A Vancouver development company has unveiled plans to build a $500 million recreational complex in Pemberton.

Venture Pacific, run by brothers Nick and Don De Cotiis, hopes to open a 173-acre, year-round resort featuring an equestrian centre (complete with a polo field), an 18-hole golf course and a cross-country snowmobile area. Up to 1,200 housing units will also be developed by a strategic partner.

The company already has several interests in the Pemberton area. It owns half of the Pemberton Junction gas station and convenience store and completed the 54-unit Creekside Village housing development four years ago.

"We believe Pemberton is the next big growth area in the region," said Nick De Cotiis. "The tourism potential in both summer and winter is immense and with the rest of the tourist facilities in the region we will have a year-round, world-class vacation paradise."

De Cotiis hopes that the complex will take five years to construct, if approved by local and regional governments. The project will probably be headed by Intrawest’s former vice president of corporate development, Eugene Hodgson. Hodgson has been Venture Pacific’s executive vice president and chief operating officer since January.

Venture Pacific acquired the land for the project, near the border of the Village of Pemberton and the Squamish-Lillooett Regional District, several years ago.

But local realtors warn that the project is unlikely to get the green light from local authorities as part of the land is in the Agricultural Land Reserve, where development is restricted.

The company’s latest figures also cast doubt over its ability to fund the huge project.

In September last year Venture Pacific had $390,278 in cash and equivalents and in the six months to September it lost $561,288. Because of the losses the company also cut its spending on salaries and wages by $277,356 in the same period.

Nick De Cotiis said the company would use debt financing to raise capital to fund the development.

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