It looks like this is going to be the last season of operation for the UBC Whistler Lodge. The leadership of the UBC Alma Mater Society (AMS) voted recently to begin planning for eventual decommissioning of the lodge on Nordic Drive.
At the most recent AMS council meeting on Sept. 25, the council voted to direct the society’s Business and Administration Governance Board (BAGB) to prepare a decommissioning plan by Oct. 23.
AMS president Caroline Wong said the council intends to operate the lodge this season, but after this season there’s no guarantee it will continue operations. Wong said the BAGB indicated in the past that it felt the lodge isn’t viable as a business. She added that the ultimate decision on whether or not the lodge, and the land it is on, will be sold is up to the students of UBC.
“For us to be able to sell an asset it would have to go to a student referendum so we’d have to take it to a vote,” said Wong.
A simple majority will determine whether the land and the lodge will be sold or not.
University students built the 42-bed lodge in 1965 and the aging structure now has some costly maintenance needs. The AMS voted against funding repairs at previous meetings. According to reports in the university’s student newspaper, the Ubyssey, the lodge lost $220,000 between 2005 and 2013. The newspaper also reported that occupancy in the last year ran at 39.8 per cent.
Wong said a number of things factored into the AMS council decision. Groups like the ski and snowboard club haven’t been using the lodge as much as they did in the past. Wong added that the AMS also took into consideration the amount of money required to deal with the maintenance upgrades required at the lodge.
The AMS council is scheduled to meet again on Oct. 23 and Wong said the decommissioning options would be discussed at that meeting.