To The Daily Sun,

This letter is to warn citizens of Laconia and Gilford of a threat posed to the people and economy of the Lakes Region. There is a plan afoot to wrest control of Gunstock from the Gunstock Commission and then lease Gunstock to an out-of-state ski conglomerate.

Leasing Gunstock to a far-off corporation will likely result in job cuts, fewer local hires, and a cost-cutting, profit-maximization approach to running Gunstock to send maximum dividends to distant shareholders instead of putting all profits back into the local operation. Out-of-state management will not prioritize investing in maintenance or improvements — they will prioritize profit for their shareholders.

We can expect to lose the current management team who are local and know the community that they serve. From the article about absentee control of a few other New Hampshire ski resorts (see page 13, Jan. 5 The Daily Sun), you can read that service will suffer and lift ticket prices will go up and up. Also, it has been said that the big multi-state ski operators fly in seasonal employees from down south and southwest and even temporary visa holders from Mexico and Chile — not good for our local people who bridge seasonal summer and winter jobs to make a living here in the Lakes Region. That means local citizens in Laconia and Gilford left with summer jobs and no winter jobs, more unemployment, and less money spent in the local economy.

The end result would be higher tax rates, higher unemployment, lower wages, higher lift ticket prices, out-of-state management out of touch with local needs, and little or no investment in maintaining and improving Gunstock. And what happens when after some years the lease comes to an end? Belknap County is left with a depreciated underinvested ski area that has been milked for profit.

Let’s not let political ideology and the personal goals of politicians destroy the gem of Belknap County, the ski area that brings millions in employment and spending into the local economy. Let’s keep jobs and profits local for the benefit of the local community.

The current Gunstock setup has worked very well for 63 years and the ski area is having its best financial years ever under excellent management, with sensible expansion plans to ensure a sustainable financial future and more jobs for local employees. Several extremist representatives among the Belknap County delegation, led by Reps. Norm Silber and Mike Sylvia, seem to be seeking to subvert the 1959 legislation that established the Gunstock Area Commission starting by packing the commission with friends who will be in favor of their plan.

So why would elected representatives do that? It is unclear, but perhaps for financial gain when Gunstock gets leased out, perhaps for a political win to please their political masters at state level. Any way you cut it, it is to further their own personal goals, which seem to be contrary to the best interests of Belknap County and its citizens.

Alan Himmer

Gilford

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https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/belknap-county-residents-for-gunstock-1

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