Occupy Talisman

Let’s turn Talisman into Ontario’s first backcountry park.

Talismans – amulets or other objects believed to possess supernatural or magical powers – are generally thought to bring good luck. If the Talisman Mountain Resort ever was lucky, it seems the supernatural powers have left the building.
The once-thriving ski hill on the edge of the Beaver Valley near Kimberley is now officially in receivership, with accounting and consulting firm BDO Canada, Ltd., in control of the property since October 20, 2011.
Talisman currently owes TD Bank in excess of $4 million and the Municipality of Grey Highlands more than $1.6 million in unpaid taxes. Unpaid employee wages, unpaid employee deductions owed to the federal government and unpaid HST add to this debt.
Not only are the Talisman financials a shambles, now the buildings themselves are suspect. During last spring’s thaw, with electricity to the resort turned off, sump pumps weren’t working and the lower level of the main resort building flooded. “There is a mould issue on the property. It’s a significant one,” BDO representative Blair Davidson told the Grey Highlands council in October.
So what’s to be done? The luck end of Talisman Mountain Resort seems to have run out. And while the multimillion-dollar price tag that goes with the place may seem like a steal, maintaining a property like this is no small feat. The cost to get the place up and running again would surely be as big as the price tag itself.
So what’s a better solution? Well, the think-tank here at Mountain Life HQ has been working on this problem and arrived at a solution: let’s turn Talisman into Ontario’s first backcountry park. Bringing the Occupy movement to the Grey Highlands we suggest financial institutions make a tax-deductible donation in lieu of monies owed them, and Grey Highlands takes over the property and turns it into a free, public use recreation area. The buildings can be torn down and sold for scraps. Grey Highlands will be touted and awarded for this progressive move.

The possibilities are unlimited. A disc golf course could replace the now-overgrown conventional golf course, while a growing “earn your turns” ethos would make up for the lack of working lifts. The hill bottom could be a venue for festivals, concerts and community-organized events. Talisman would be a hub of activity bringing both commerce and healthy recreation to Kimberley and the surrounding region.

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Talisman’s heyday – when families flocked to the resort for the great value, friendly atmosphere and pristine Beaver Valley scenery – does not have to be a thing of the past. Let’s bring it back. Let’s make it free for all. Let’s see what happens when the community owns a piece of property like Talisman. Let’s occupy it.