Marysville resident Jim Webster recently came into possession of some Kimberley history; 50 pieces of it to be exact. Webster purchased 50 of the old Easter lift ski chairs from the Kimberley Alpine Resort (KAR) and is now selling them to raise money for a new rest area and park along the Northstar Rails to Trails between Kimberley and Cranbrook.
Webster said he was sitting in his car in the Platzl parking lot when a friend of his who works at the ski hill came up and knocked on his window.
“He says, ‘you know a lot of people; I got these old ski chairs … you don’t know anybody who might wanna buy one?’” Webster said. “And I’ve been thinking of a way to raise some money for a park idea and I thought about it and I says, ‘how about if I make an offer and buy them all.’”
After a little back and forth, Webster made an offer to the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR) and now he is the proud owner of 50 chairs.
He is selling them for $500, which includes the three pieces of each chair: the swing-down foot rest, the chair and the hook.
Plus if you don’t want the hook to hang the chair as a swing, and would rather have a wooden base, Webster can set you up with that for an additional $75, and he said he’ll even build it for you for $100.
“A couple of people wanted wooden bases, and there’s a new rough-cut timbre mill in town called Sawdust Timber Mills and I heard about it and I contacted Darryl Oakley and he got all excited about the project,” Webster said. “So he’s been churning out wood and cutting wood for me in custom sizes and stuff so we’ve been busy making these bases.”
Out of the 50 chairs, Webster says he’s already got commitments for 20 of them already, purely through word of mouth.
Somebody bought one yesterday to donate to the Nature Park, another just went into the Kimberley Nordic Club and another will go into Lois Creek. The College of the Rockies has also reached out and said they want one to use as a swinging bench on their campus.
“Some people said, ‘I’d like to contribute to the project but I don’t need a bench,’ so they donated money to buy a bench and then we find a public park,” Webster said. “So I’m hoping that we can get 10 or 12 of these out in local parks.”
The chairs were put in somewhere around 1972 to 1974 and replaced about ten years ago. He said that Darryl Oakley, after hearing about the project got very excited, and told him his first summer job was cleaning out brush when they put the Easter chair in — definitely a full circle type of thing.
“RCR has been great in supporting me and letting me get them out there and selling them to me at a good price that we can hopefully generate some funds,” Webster said.
“We are proud to support another great community goodwill project by Jim Webster,” said Matt Mosteller, Senior Vice President – Resort Experience with RCR.
“He continues to do amazing good for Kimberley! Thank you Jim from KAR and RCR for finding ways to creatively fund raise for community projects and to create ways to enhance or add amenities for all to enjoy.”
Ideally, the rest/park area Webster hopes to build, will go in right behind his house, along the Rails to Trails.
“What we want to do is save some of those trees and some of that open space and have kind of a gateway park as people ride down the rails to trails with a picnic table and a little gazebo and stuff like that,” Webster explained.
Webster added that if his park project for whatever reason doesn’t end up coming to fruition, he will take all the money he raises and put it into some other community park project.
“So basically it’s not a fundraiser for me, it’s a fundraiser for the community, it will go into the community somewhere,” he said.
He added that he’s grateful to Brian from RCR, Darryl at Sawdust Timber Mills and Carl at Tyee Homes, who will be collaborating on the park project.