North Creek looks for another seat on ORDA board

Business community wants equal representation for Gore facility

Whiteface Mountain ski area in Wilmington.

Whiteface Mountain ski area in Wilmington. © ORDA/Dave Schmidt

— With two downstate board members slated to join the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) Board to look after the interests of the Belleayre Mountain ski center, the business community in North Creek wants to add one more ORDA board member to look after the interests of the Gore Mountain ski center.

New York’s 2012-13 budget includes the transfer of Belleayre Mountain in the Catskill Park from the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to ORDA this year. About a month after the budget was ratified, that transfer has not yet happened.

“We are working on developing an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with ORDA and hope to execute it soon,” DEC press officer Lisa King said on April 19.

Before the budget was adopted, the ORDA board was made of 10 members: commissioners of the DEC, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation and Empire State Development, plus seven members appointed by the governor. Of those appointed by the governor, three must be residents from the town of North Elba in Essex County, and one must be a resident of Warren County. Plus, there are three other members who can reside anywhere in the state. The governor appoints a chairman and vice chairman from the membership.

In addition to the three commissioners, the current board members are: Patrick Barrett, chairman, of Syracuse; Serge Lussi, vice chairman, of North Elba; Warren County representative Robert Flacke; North Elba representatives Jerry Strack and Edwin Weibrecht; and Cliff Donaldson, of Saranac Lake (Franklin County).

That makes nine members currently on the board. Joe Martens was chairman of the ORDA Board until he was appointed DEC commissioner in 2011. His ORDA seat has not yet been filled, according to ORDA Director of Communications Jon Lundin, but he remains on the board as a representative of the DEC.

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