British Columbia Resort Changes Owners
The Manning Park ski resort, located east of Hope, British Columbia, in the Cascade Mountains, has been sold for an undisclosed amount after the company that owned it went into receivership four years ago and was forced to close.
The new owners, Kevin and Donna Demers, announced that their company, Sunshine Valley RV Resorts and Cabins Inc., has purchased the popular park and ski resort, The Vancouver Sun reported
The facility closed April 1. A heavy debt load and a poor ski season a few years ago had forced the resort, owned by Gibson Pass Resort, into receivership in 2009.
The resorts and facility will continue to operate as Manning Park Resort and the new owners plan to reopen soon.
Kevin Demers said he was excited about the deal after a “long, hard struggle,” although he declined to release any financial details.
“It has taken close to year in dealings with the receiver, we almost had a deal last fall and that didn’t work and now finally it has all been worked out.”
Demers anticipated the report would reopen by the end of the month, after several upgrades are made to the lodge like painting and updating televisions. He said they hope to add more rooms than the current 200, but did not anticipate any major expansions for at least a year.
He said his immediate plans are focused on a recruitment drive, as most of the staff that were laid off when the report shut down have found new jobs. He estimated about 10 former employees have been rehired.
“We have to gear up for the middle of June and September when the resort will be busy and getting it back to where it was several years ago,” he said.
“Our management team is looking forward to bringing the resort back to a higher standard of service and facilities that has fostered wonderful memories for generations.”
Leading the team will be vice-president of operations Mike Barker, who has a 28-year history of being involved with Manning Park and the resort, he said.
Several years ago, the resort lost some of the campgrounds it managed as a result of a dispute with the provincial government, and that had a significant negative impact on revenues.
David Bowra, president of the Bowra Group, the receiver-manager, told The Vancouver Sun last month that the resort makes money and that he felt the revenues could support a hands-on family run ownership.
The resort, which operates on a provincial lease, generates $5 million to $5.5 million in revenues annually and is profitable during summer and winter, but not the shoulder seasons, he said.
The maintenance of 10 campgrounds, both in Manning and the Similkameen area, generates about $850,000 in seasonal revenue and is important to the viability of the resort operation. Operating costs are $600,000 to $650,000.
The resort’s campground agreement with the province expires in October and the province is putting the contract out to public bid.
The resort had been operated for several years by Gibson Pass Resort, a company owned by the Bowen family. Bowra said the family made the mistake of spending “close to $2 million” on the heated pool, an excessive expenditure based on revenues.