Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick. Bulletin file

Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick. Bulletin file

Kimberley showed its resiliency this winter: Mayor

The Kimberley Alpine Resort closed this past weekend, with the traditional Spring Splash celebration. It was a celebration of a year none like anything the Resort, or Kimberley itself, has seen.

The day after KAR opened a fire destroyed the lift hut that controlled the North Star Express Quad, the main access to the mountain. The fire was then found to be arson.

“The timing of the arson, right before Christmas, could not have been worse,” said Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick. “But the event itself and any impending consequences are not as important as how we responded.”

McCormick says RCR making the decision to stay open was the catalyst for the community getting behind them. The community was then able to ask what are we going to do about it, instead of feeling sorry for ourselves.

McCormick says December was particularly difficult for the accommodation sector, and the retail businesses who rely on tourists being in town.

“With over 1,000 accommodator cancellations, things could have been bleak for the business community. But the community once again showed us how resilient it is. We are standing here today in a better position than we thought. It was a tough winter for many businesses but we’re still here. And we are really looking forward to summer.”

McCormick says accommodators and other businesses began promoting Kimberley’s biking and golfing opportunities a little earlier and the response has been good.

“We are looking at a great summer,” he said, adding that it being the first summer in three years without COVID restrictions is another reason for optimism.

“I have heard anecdotally that pre season reservations are 30 percent above pre-COVID levels. That’s incredibly motivating.”

He said the Cranbrook business community was also important in supporting KAR through the troubles of this season.

“It’s pretty awesome. We get lots of traffic from Cranbrook. There are some five to six thousand trips a day on the highway between Kimberley and Cranbrook. We are their playground and they are our commerce centre. It was the business community in both Cranbrook and Kimberley that allowed RCR to pivot as quickly as they did.

“As devastating as it was, it’s turned into a positive thing. Our community should be proud of how it responded.”