Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Ski area and Town council are still at odds

#Breckenridge #Colorado

Following is a letter to the editor from John Buhler, VP and COO of the Breckenridge Ski Resort that recently appeared in the Denver Post and the Summit Daily News.

I have been a part of Breckenridge Ski Resort and the Breckenridge community for 20 years. Throughout that time, I have heard how community members want to hold the ski resort “accountable” or how important it is that people could “trust” us. And all for good reason. Our ski resort is the biggest employer in Breckenridge and we are proud to be a critical part of what makes our town so special. It’s one of the reasons that last summer, despite some very serious concerns, we came together with the Breckenridge Town Council and tried to settle our differences over how to improve skier parking and transit. And now it’s time for the town to be held accountable for their commitments.
Last summer, the town was adamant that a lift tax was needed to build a new, $50 million, 700-900-space skier parking garage in the core of town on F-Lot. They outlined their plan in their public campaign materials for “Parking Now” and they made it very clear in numerous private meetings with our resort that they were fully and unanimously committed to a parking garage solution. We asked the town to take more time to study what was really needed. But our concerns were summarily rejected and we were told “the time for studies was over” and the tax and new skier parking on F-Lot was needed immediately.
Unfortunately, right after the election when voters passed this tax, the town council completely reversed direction saying they were not sure that new skier parking was really a priority and that F-Lot was no longer their preferred solution. It seems like it was a complete bait and switch. We took the town at its word. Now we are left struggling to understand why skiers are now paying a tax designed to pay, in large part, for a parking garage, and instead they will be getting a free trolley service.
Breckenridge Ski Resort was successful in getting season passes exempted from this tax, so many of you may feel that since you won’t be paying the tax, it’s not a big concern. But your guests will pay the tax, whether on a Buddy Pass, Ski with a Friend or daily lift ticket and we feel an obligation to do the right thing for all of our guests. We intend to strongly and loudly continue to hold the town accountable and fight for the parking they promised all skiers.
We know many would like to see us “get along” with the town. We agree. But we will not “go along” when they break their campaign promises and we won’t apologize for holding the town accountable to ensure town-core parking is built. The town needs to repair trust with us, because that is the basis for a kind of relationship we all aspire to and to ensure that we can continue to collaborate to improve our community.
John Buhler
VP and COO, Breckenridge Ski Resort
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.