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Concerns about the departure of FGC from the Vall de Núria ski slopes

Published: May 23, 2024
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1 Concern in the region

Vall de Núria is the only ski resort in our country that is practically 'non stop'. The activities never stop, and if in winter it is the snow and skiing the engine, from spring onwards it is the leisure park and other parallel offers to a very familiar type of tourism.

 

But right now the leisure facilities are closed. A lack of agreement between the Town Council of Queralbs and FGC to renew the agreement of exploitation of the slopes and the recreational park, which are located in lands of this consistory, has forced to place the sign of 'closed'.

 

Vall de Núria cable car, in operation these days

 

Yes, the Rack Railway and the Sanctuary facilities are working because they are owned by the Bishopric of La Seu d'Urgell, who gave the exploitation to FGC after signing a 90-year contract in the 80s. In fact, thanks to this, it has been possible to move some of the Parc Lúdic facilities to the esplanade in front of the sanctuary, because they are not Queralbs City Council's land. Neither is the cable car that leads to the Niu de l'Àliga Refuge, so it is also in operation these days.

 

There are several points on which both parties disagree. The City Council assures that during the last meeting in Barcelona on April 31, FGC proposed the extension from 20 to 30 years, "by surprise of the City Council", alleging that it was the "minimum contract duration it could accept".

 

The Parc Lúdic of Vall de Núria is closed

 

However, from Queralbs they emphasize that this extension did not include the increase of investments initially agreed nor "a guarantee" of their realization. Investments that, according to the council, were also subject to the budgets of the Generalitat.

 

They also explain that they are waiting to receive the document of a parallel and separate agreement for the concession (they would be signed simultaneously) for the investments required in the surroundings of the rack railway station, which were quantified at 1 million euros. In other words, a concession contract and an investment contract.

 

A contract where Queralbs Town Council could unilaterally terminate the contract at any time if it saw that the agreed investments were not being made. For FGC, this was a "red line" that they could not accept and this point was excluded from the document although the commitment to invest in the Cabana de Pastors and bring it up to date was added.

 

Tubbing has been moved to the Sanctuary esplanade.

 

The mayoress of Queralbs, who also asks to increase the annual canon from 10,000 euros to 25,000 euros, admits in a statement that

 

"It is a complex and priority issue and a collective decision of the municipality for being a key project in the region and country. In the future concession we must have a say with the Generalitat, to attract opportunities in mountain municipalities like Queralbs and its surroundings, to reverse depopulation and attract quality tourism and respectful of the environment.

 

It is also necessary to manage the territory with specific policies and as a result of active listening to the people who live and work in it."

 

The public company does not want to hear about further modifications of the current concession term because it would be the third time and "it is no solution". The contract they had was for 90 years, and expired in 2016, and since then it has been extended three times. They defend that it is legally not possible to extend this agreement once again and that it would compromise the investments planned in the coming months.

 

FGC therefore wants to sign a new agreement, which has to be for 30 years, which is the average estimated to be able to amortize the investments made.

 

In a communiqué, it reproaches the City Council for

 

"That it has not even expressed acceptance of the principle of agreement reached on April 30 nor any processing of the concession, something that has prevented, they say, to advance in the drafting of the agreement.

Nor do they understand why to this day the public exhibition has not yet been made in Queralbs when time is a delimiting factor. In this sense, the lack of commitment of the City Council and its inaction is of great concern".

 

The whole area (Sanctuary, rack railway, esplanade, lake and cable car) continues to open normally.

 

Concern in the region


The possible departure of FGC from the management of the ski resort has caused alarm among different ski areas related to Vall de Núria. The Ripollès employers' associations -Unión Intersindical Empresarial del Ripollès, Unión de Blotiguers de Ribes de Freser and the Federación de Comercio del Ripollès- expressed their concern in a joint communiqué calling for an "immediate" agreement to put an end to this uncertainty, which put many direct and indirect jobs at risk.

 

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