Canyons, Park City Mountain management and High Valley Transit to reach transit agreement
High Valley Transit, Park City Mountain and the Canyons Village Management Association are close to signing a new agreement to fund bus service, years after the previous one expired.
High Valley Transit Board Member and Summit County Councilmember Chris Robinson says The Canyons’ 1999 development agreement with the county requires reimbursement for transit service.
The resort had previously reimbursed bus service providers under past transportation agreements, but the most recent agreement expired in 2019.
According to High Valley’s Executive Director Caroline Rodriguez, the county did invoice the mountain and CVMA for about $500,000 total in 2020, which they paid.
High Valley Transit was established in 2021, although without a new payment agreement, High Valley didn’t send another bill until December 2023.
Robinson says there was a lot going on when the county was setting up High Valley, including the COVID-19 pandemic and then-County Manager Tom Fisher stepping down.
“So the parties have worked off and on to get a new agreement, and all along services have still been provided,” Robinson said. “People have been accruing estimates for what the reimbursement would be.”
The topic of renegotiating a transportation agreement received renewed discussion when Park City Mountain submitted its application for the Sunrise Gondola.
The gondola enjoys wide community support, including unanimous support from the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission. Community Development Director Pat Putt approved the gondola Jan. 10.
But at the commission’s Jan. 9 meeting, Commissioner Thomas Cooke signaled things might have gone differently were it not for a December payment from Park City Mountain and the CVMA to High Valley.
The gondola was approved through a low-impact permit, which can be denied if the resort isn’t complying with code. Cooke thought the resort was previously out of compliance for not paying High Valley prior to Dec. 12.
“Earlier, when we reviewed this project, the developer was not in compliance,” he said Jan. 9. “And since that time, good faith efforts have been made to be brought into compliance. And that's not an impediment for us any longer.”
The gondola was up for a vote at the Dec. 12 meeting, but an hour before it began, Park City Mountain requested to push the voteto January.
$1.5 million payment
Three days later, Rodriguez says High Valley Transit invoiced the mountain and the CVMA for $1.2 million and $300,000 respectively, and both settled up.
Cooke initially wanted the resort’s alleged noncompliance noted in the record of the planning commission’s Jan. 9 vote. It wasn’t, but he voted with the other commissioners to approve the gondola.
High Valley Transit representatives tell a different story. Robinson said Park City Mountain and the CVMA were never declared out of compliance, and Rodriguez said both organizations have paid every invoice they’ve been issued.
Since the back payment Dec. 15, resort and transit officials are working on a new long-term agreement.
“It is anticipated that that new agreement will be signed by all parties, fingers crossed, by the end of February,” county planner Tiffanie Robinson said Jan. 9.
In a statement to KPCW, Park City Mountain and the CVMA expressed pride in their combined contributions to public transit in Summit County, “which have been significant and sustained for more than a decade.”