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Snow Farm Handed To Community

30 November 2012

Snow Farm Handed To Community

A small but significant ceremony took place at 5000 feet above sea level today to mark the handing over of New Zealand’s only dedicated cross country ski are to the community, Queenstown Lakes District Council community general manager Paul Wilson said.

In the presence of a handful of dignitaries the Deed of Settlement for the Snow Farm, situated high above the Cardrona Valley, Wanaka was placed in the hands of QLDC Mayor Vanessa van Uden. Present to witness the occasion were MP Jacqui Deans, members of the Pisa Alpine Charitable Trust, representatives from the Central Lakes and Otago Community Trusts, cross country skiing and biathlon athletes and the Lee family.

“The Snow Farm was conceived and developed by John and Mary Lee in 1990, and the land and cross country ski field and associated winter sports business has been owned and operated by them until this last season,” Mr Wilson said. He described the Lees as visionaries and long term entrepreneurs in the ski industry. “Having semi - retired from Merino sheep farming they have so far developed three ski fields as well as the Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground (motor vehicle testing),” Mr Wilson said.

The Lees were very keen to see the development of the field continue as they moved into retirement. “Their view was that the field should be in community ownership and so it was sold to the charitable trust to be handed back to the community,” Mr Wilson said.

The Deed of Settlement ensured the ownership of the Snow Farm land passed to QLDC to be held in perpetuity as a recreational reserve. “The trust will then lease back the land, manage and maintain the proposed reserve, and operate the Snow Farm business for the long term benefit of the community,” Mr Wilson said.

This purchase also resolved any risk to the future for the winter sports that used the facility and ensured that a key element of the 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games was firmly secured.

Funding for the land purchase was achieved with cornerstone funding from the Queenstown Lakes District Council, matching support from the Central Lakes Trust, and major contributions from the New Zealand Lotteries Grants Board Community Facilities Fund, and the Community Trust of Otago.

“The Lee family have also assisted with the finance for the purchase of the business assets on generous terms,” Mr Wilson said.

Mr Wilson said Council acknowledged the efforts of the trust led by its chairman Tom Pryde in conjunction with the support that the trust and QLDC received from Sir Eion Edgar as chairman of the 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games, and the assistance given by the two local Members of Parliament, the Rt. Hon. Bill English and Jacqui Dean.

ENDS

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