Two bids have been submitted to develop Blackstrap Provincial Park, but the “very public” idea by one developer to reopen the ski hill at Mount Blackstrap and build a year-round resort is not one of them, said an official with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport.
Kevin Engel, manager of business development and leasing with the Ministry, said he couldn’t go into detail on the two bids they did receive in response to their public request for proposals (RFP) that closed in April because they are still in negotiations. However, he said British Columbia developer Torey Spink did not “put in a proposal” to rebuild the park into a year-round resort with a reopened ski hill, despite his public attempt to gain support for his plan on social media.
“At the end of the day, it is the (Government of Saskatchewan’s) final approval that’s required and they have the right to fully consider and approve the projects before we go public with them,” said Engel. “That’s what we found a little bit strange with Torey Spink deciding to go very public with his interest in reopening the ski hill, but I guess he had his own thoughts on how he wanted to approach this. Unfortunately, he chose not to go forward.”
Engel said the two proposals they received both have local ties to Saskatoon and the Ministry is currently meeting with both groups to negotiate development and lease agreements. He said both developments could be accepted.
“In our RFP we indicated that it was fairly broad and we knew that we might get proposals that would complement each other,” he said. “In this case both would complement (each other), so we’re working going forward with both of them.”
Once negotiations have finished, Engel said the development proposals go to cabinet for approval through an Order in Council due to park’s legislation that requires any development over $250,000 to gain this approval before it can proceed. He said it is not known when this final approval would be given as that is tied to how busy the government is and when they can get on their agenda.
“Neither project had anticipated doing any construction this summer though and both projects still have a lot of work to do as far as finalizing plans and engineering designs. Both would anticipate at the earliest starting some work this fall, so (we’re) not in a situation where we’re holding them up.”