Grey Highlands takes ownership of former ski resort Talisman
The Municipality of Grey Highlands will soon own a ski resort.
Council has decided to take over Talisman Resort because no one else wanted it.
Nean Hobbs' front porch overlooks the Beaver Valley and Talisman Resort near Kimberley. She has lived here since the 1980s and has fond memories of this place as a ski resort, golf course, and conference centre.
But the resort ran into financial trouble two-and-a-half years ago and it has been empty ever since.
“It was an alternative to Blue Mountain and it just helped things go in the Beaver Valley, because the Beaver Valley is one of those unique places in southern Ontario and it’s a nice centre for that so we are a little lost without it,” Hobbs says.
The municipality held two tax sales earlier this year in attempts to collect $2.4 million in tax arrears but received no bids. Now the municipality has decided to go ahead and take ownership of the property through a vesting process.
Grey Highlands CAO Dan Best says doing nothing is not an option because the buildings have become a hazard. There are even questions of whether the buildings can be saved at all because of water damage and mold.
“The property is continuing to go into decline, we had a small fire in the day lodge earlier this year that resulted in the buildings being boarded up,” Best says. “We are now going into a third winter and with the boarding of the property that will increase the aspects of mold and deterioration so there is some urgency to get something back up and running for the community. “
Once the property is under municipal control, an advisory committee will be set up to look at the possibilities for the resort, which could include selling or leasing the land or even demolition of the buildings and redevelopment of the site into something new.
Hobbs is skeptical that Talisman will ever operate as a ski resort again, but is hopeful this place will once again become the hub of the community.
“There is an opportunity for it to become quite a centre, something different than Blue Mountain and it was such a vibrant centre before, it would be nice to see it come back to life,” she says.
Council wants to hear what residents would like to see happen here and they will be looking at some of the options at the next council meeting next week.