A decision on the future of the UBC Whistler Lodge has been more than a year in the making, but it now appears its fate will be sealed next month.
The lodge, which was built in 1965 by UBC students, needs repairs, and occupancy at the hostel is in decline. For months the Alma Mater Society (AMS) has been struggling with what to do about the money-losing property. The AMS has been discussing ways of unloading the property for more than a year and a student referendum held Jan. 27 to 31 has now cleared the way for a firm decision. As part of the AMS regular elections, UBC students were asked if they supported selling the aging facility. The students voted 54.6 per cent in favour of selling the 0.7-hectare (1.7 acre) lot at 2124 Nordic Drive.
"What this referendum result means is the AMS has now the option to be able to sell it or dispose of it in any capacity if it so chooses," said Joaquin Acevedo, the vice president of finance with the AMS. "We're doing a little more research in terms of options that we have and a decision should be coming to our board in March."
Acevedo said the information the board needs will likely be ready in time for a meeting scheduled for March 12.
"There's other options that we're exploring, whether it's leasing or redeveloping, so all of those are being explored," Acevedo said.
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 is in need of expensive roof repairs.
The property 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.