Goldbelt Gondola negotiations: 'We're at the very, very beginning'

    Goldbelt President and CEO McHugh Pierre.

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Following the move by the Juneau assembly to enter negotiations with Native Coporation Goldbelt regarding their interest to fund the installation of a gondola ski lift, President and CEO McHugh Pierre spoke on Action Line about the process.

    Goldbelt expressed interest in providing funding for up to $10 million towards the installation.

    Pierre said the ski areas general manager spoke to them a number of years ago about summer operations.

    "When Eaglecrest started talking about building a summertime operation - and this was probably five years ago when Dave Scanlon, the GM first approached me - And he said, 'we want to do something like this.' We weren't really sure how things would work out and if the numbers would fit, and we still don't know this is very early in the process, but with a gondola purchased at about $2 million with shipping, we think that's a very reasonable way to get into the adventure side of the uphill business, and we see it as a way for us to help provide an opportunity to let Eaglecrest be profitable," he said. "We know that Eaglecrest loses money and it's a point of contention every year with the City Assembly and frankly with taxpayers. So if we can engage there and help Eaglecrest be profitable, then that's one less burden the city has, and we think everybody can win in our community can be more healthy as a result."

    Pierre said he does not see the gondola as competition to their tram operation on Mt. Roberts

    As for the ongoing negotiations, he said it is still early in the process.

    "We just started talking and the way it's going to work is; I'm talking with the city manager and the GM of Eaglecrest, and a number of boards have to approve this, so the Goldbelt board has to approve it, and we'll go through the appropriate process there. The Eaglecrest board has to approve it and the City Assembly has to approve it," he said. "So we're at the very, very beginning."

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