Greater Sudbury is looking at spending $2.3 million to replace the 51-year old ski lift at Adanac, the city-owned ski hill located in New Sudbury.
Meeting on Thursday, members of the finance and administration committee gave conditional approval for the purchase.
Real Carre, the city's director of leisure services, said if the 1955 Poma chair lift currently in use at Adanac isn't replaced, it will have to undergo an assessment next year. Ski lifts have to be assessed every five years.
That will likely result in about $300,000 in mandatory upgrades to keep it operating – about the same amount the city has put aside in each of the last two years to help pay to replace it.
“Should we spend $300,000 on a lift that has outlived its usefulness?” Carre said Friday.
The city had planned to buy a second-hand lift from a closed hill in Mont-Carmel, Quebec, in 2014, at a total cost of $1.2 million. All the necessary approvals and funding were place, but the deal ultimately fell through.
“At the 11th hour, we learned that it had been sold,” Carre said.
A total of $605,000 had already been set aside, almost half the initial price. Carre said costs have doubled since 2014 largely because of the drop in the value of the Canadian dollar. It was close to par with the U.S. dollar in 2014, but now is hovering around 70 cents.
That affects Adanac, he said, because the mostly likely place to find a replacement lift is south of the border.
“We're challenged by the value of the Canadian dollar,” Carre said.
If councillors give final approval next week when budget talks wrap up, the plan is to build the new lift beside the old lift in the 2016-2017 season, so it will be ready for the 2017-2018 season.
The new lift will be able to carry four skiers at a time, as opposed to the two the current one carries. There seemed to be a lot of support on council, Carre said, for buying the new lift.
“But I'm always cautious until it receives official approval,” he said.