Spirit Ridge at Nk’Mip didn’t have anything to do with establishing the date for the first day of spring, but it certainly made the most of it.
“Today is March 20 — the first day of Spring, the Spring Equinox,” Leon Algadzis, the resort’s Executive Director told a throng of more than 150 gathered outside the administrative centre this morning. “It signifies a new season, a new beginning.”
The throng, which included Chief Clarence Louie and members of the Osoyoos Indian Band, Mayor Sue McKortoff, Spirit Ridge owners and quests and many others, had gathered not to celebrate the coming of spring, but rather another “fresh start.”
“Today, we rededicate this resort to our partnership and our relationship with the Okanagan people that comprises seven First Nations, including the Osoyoos Indian Band,” Mr. Algadzis said.
“Thank you so much for so many of you coming out today.”
The re-dedication comes after a deal was struck earlier this month for the resort’s Owners Group to acquire control of the resort’s common area assets, including the Main Lodge and NK’MIP Conference Centre.
The deal ended a standoff between the Owner’s Group and Bellstar Hotels and Resorts, the site developer and previous manager.
Although released from its management obligation earlier this year, Bellstar maintained control of some of the resort’s core amenities and buildings and was reluctant to release that control to the resort’s new management team.
It took the participation of the Osoyoos Indian Band to resolve the impasse, something which Chief Louie said was required of his Council.
“Chief and Council had to realize the business risk (owners) took and that’s why we stepped forward and got involved in what happened here over the last couple of months,” Chief Louie told the throng.
“When I think about those that decided to buy a unit here — especially on an Indian reserve with the additional politics that always adds — I really want to thank the homeowners for choosing to buy a unit here, to take a risk.
“And, hopefully, as I see it, we just moved through a business cycle and there’s another 70-some odd years left on the this business cycle.”
The deal means restaurant operations will recommence April 1 in the lodge and weddings and events planned for this year will continue as planned.
It also means the resort will maintain its status as a premiere First Nations destination, something Mr. Algadzis says is important to B.C. visitors.
“In British Columbia, one out of every four visitors is seeking a First Nations experience,” he explained. “Here we are with the greatest opportunity in this country. Here you can have everything from rattlesnakes to rum and coke, wine and water sports. There are 11 unique independent businesses within the parameters of Nk’Mip.”
Those partners collectively draw 400,000 visitors annually to the resort and provide $50 million in economic spinoff to the Osoyoos community, he added.
“This is an important part of this community and this destination.”
It’s also an important to the Osoyoos Indian Band.
“I really hope this new relationship will make this resort all that it can be and all it should be because it’s very, very important to the entire membership of the Osoyoos Indian Band,” said Chief Louie.
That relationship was embodied in a ceremonial smudge — a purification that involves sacred medicines — that took the throng from the administrative building to the Conference Centre, where culinary students studying at the resort provided refreshments.
“Ultimately we always kept faith that it would happen,” said Mr. Algadzis, keeping himself busy with the many guests attending and taking a moment to celebrate success.
“After an enormous amount of work and dedication came relief — relief and excitement.”
Nk’Mip — the bottom lands at the mouth of the water
Osoyoos — narrowing of the waters
Spirit Ridge has 226 vacation homes, along with the amenity buildings. That represents 430 unique owners owning 904 quarters of potential ownership. Our ownership population is between 800 and 1,000 people, when you combine that the partners of our Osoyoos Indian Band community of over 600 members, that is a lot of families that count on this destination. This year, Spirit Ridge will host over 150,000 guests and when you extend that to all of Nk’Mip including the RV park and all the businesses, there will be approximately 400,000 visitors to Nk’Mip
That has an economic spinoff of over $50 million to the area. This is an important part of this community and this destination. We know a lot about it. But we often tell our staff our guests do not care how much we know, they want to know how much we care.
What happened here over the last couple of months.
Chief and Council had to realize the business risk you took and that’s we stepped forward and got involved in what happened here over the last couple of months.
Kik or Kip? Smudge
I really hope this new relationship we have here that we make this resort can and all it should be because it’s very, very important to the entire membership of the Osoyoos Indian Band.
Nk’Mip — at the head of Osoyoos Lake
That’s an important part of who we are and where we are. They contributed in multiple ways, in the best interest of the resort and the owners.