The shuttle bus which has taken people up and down from Kicking Horse Mountain Resort (KHMR) into Golden will not be running in the near future.
President of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Steve Paccagnan, explained that after running the service last year, the resort looked to find partners in the area to work with on the shuttle program.
Paccagnan explained that for a number of years the resort had contracted the shuttle through a local provider, which at times had funding partners with the Town of Golden.
“With the absence of BC Transit now, that particular opportunity had gone away. Last year we ran a local shuttle which was fully subsidized by the resort,” he said.
Paccagnan pointed to a Tourism Transportation Study which was prepared for Golden Area Initiatives. In the report it, “Identified need for a winter tourism shuttle or an opportunity to perhaps work with some local partners on that.”
Originally Paccagnan thought that the Town of Golden or Tourism Golden were potential partners for the shuttle service.
In the review it stated, “Given the benefit of the service to the Town of Golden, visitors, and local residents, there is likely a need for additional financial partners in future years to maintain this important service.”
Paccagnan said the resort spearheaded a proposal where the resort would pay for most of the costs involved with running the shuttle.
“We looked for some partners to come on board. Thus far we have had a formal response from Tourism Golden that it does not fit their goals and objectives,” he said.
In a letter to KHMR from Tourism Golden it said, “Tourism Golden will not participate in the proposed Kicking Horse Country Winter Tourism Shuttle Proposal as it does not support the organization’s objectives, and is not included in the 2012-13 budget. However future proposals will be reviewed.”
In the letter Tourism Golden also said, “The Board asked me to communicate their decision, and to stress that this decision does not preclude any future proposals with strong supporting evidence that speak directly to the objectives of Tourism Golden, nor would it preclude Tourism Golden from advertising on the service should it operate this winter.”
Paccagnan added that the Town of Golden received the information from the study but, through informal discussions with Town representatives, he does not think they will partner at the present time.
Town of Golden Mayor Christina Benty acknowledged that council had received the report but said there was no discussion planned at the present time about the shuttle situation.
The resort will explore how to provide the service in the future according to Paccagnan.
“I see it as spurring on tourism economic growth and it is a stake in the ground for a young resort community,” he said. “Somehow and someway we will collectively figure it out. It is something we need as a destination area and we are trying to solve the problem. We are not giving up on it but certainly we would like to see some collaborative effort on the solution.”
Paccagnan added that having the shuttle bus dropping people off in front of other businesses in the area would only help promote sales in the economic core in Golden.