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Closure of Horseshoe-area timeshares expected to be a blow to local economy

'The region will be losing millions of dollars in economic impact from the visitor economy now that the resort is closed,' says official
carriage hills outside
Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge, timeshare communities in Horseshoe Valley, are shown in a file photo. BarrieToday files

Employees of the Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge timeshares in Horseshoe Valley who are losing their jobs with the closure of the resort will receive their severance packages Jan. 5.

Details of how the properties will close on Jan. 6 and then be put up for sale and marketed were confirmed during a Superior Court hearing broadcast over Facebook Friday.

Exactly how many jobs are being lost, however, remains unclear. Representatives of Wyndham Vacation Clubs, managers of the property, have not responded to requests for information.

“We’ve been told in the past that there will be a lot of job loss as a result of the closing of these two resorts,” said Lou Brzezinski, who represents some of the timeshare owners.

The court confirmed the closure plan to save operating costs while the property is listed on the market for six months. There will be no specific price tag attached.

The owners will no longer have access to their timeshares after Jan. 6 and it will be available only for showings.

The court heard that some employees will be retained to maintain the properties after they cease operations.

In addition to the jobs lost, the closure of the properties will have a significant impact on the local tourism industry, said Kathleen Trainor, executive director of Tourism Barrie.

“People from across the United States, and around the world, stayed at the timeshare resort and toured around the region during their week stay at the timeshare,” she said.

Many, she added, would seek information from Barrie’s visitor centre along the south shore about sights to visit during their stay.

The resorts also served as focal point for international visitors, allowing them to access the wider area from Algonquin Park to Niagara Falls.

“Carriage Hills also hosted many sport tourism groups and clubs coming to the region to participate in cross-country activities or to hold regional or provincial tryouts,” Trainor said. “The region will be losing millions of dollars in economic impact from the visitor economy now that the resort is closed.” 

Carriage Ridge has 78 units within three buildings on eight acres and Carriage Hills has 172 units in eight buildings on 20 acres running independently from Horseshoe Resort, a major ski and golf resort in Oro-Medonte Township.

The timeshare properties had been operating at a deficit, with about 25 per cent of the 11,000 timeshare owners in default and no longer contributing their annual fees.

After securing an administrator, BDO Canada Ltd., to help determine future steps, which included an option to completely revamp the aging structures, a majority of the owners who voted decided in favour of liquidating the property.

The role of the volunteer boards of directors of the two timeshare resorts also came to an end Friday as BDO became a receiver whose role is now to sell it.

Carriage Hills president Darren Chapelle told the court there was no viable future for the continued operation of the properties.

“It’s unfortunate that the resort has to close, but I believe we got the best possible outcome for all owners,” he said. “It’s not that it’s the best result for every individual owner, but it is the best result for the ownership as a group.”

“This has been quite a journey for all of us as volunteer board members,” added Martin Ginsherman, president of the Carriage Ridge board of directors.



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About the Author: Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative

Marg. Buineman is an award-winning journalist covering justice issues and human interest stories for BarrieToday.
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