The chairman of a community action group in Tupper Lake says the argument that the proposed Adirondack Club & Resort lacks marketability is flawed.
Adjudicatory hearings on the proposed resort on and around Mt. Morris continued this week. The developers, Preserve Associates, are seeking a key permit from the state Adirondack Park Agency.
Earlier this week, the green group Protect the Adirondacks called David Norden as an expert witness. Norden has developed large-scale resorts in places like Japan and Vermont.
In his testimony, Norden remarked that Big Tupper is too small - he also argued that the Tupper Lake area lacks the sort of businesses necessary to attract second-home buyers.
Jim LaValley is chairman of ARISE - Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving their Economy. The group has been a major backer of plans to construct condos and vacation homes near the Big Tupper Ski Area.
LaValley, runs a real estate agency with offices in Tupper Lake and across the North Country, says Norden's testimony is flawed, noting that the resort itself will attract other investors to the business community.
"It's amazing when you listen to some of the testimony - they're not really listening to themselves," he said. "We have a case of what comes first, the chicken or the egg? We have a string of businesses that are very interested in coming to Tupper Lake that are waiting for approval of the Adirondack Club. For this witness to stand up and say why would anybody want to come here because there's no business is counterintuitive - the businesses are prepared to come to Tupper Lake, but not without some assurance that the resort is going to happen."
LaValley says the criticism of the ski hill itself is also unfounded. He says Big Tupper is just one of many amenities included in the developer's plans.
"The fact of the matter is this project is much more than a ski hill," he said. "There's tremendous emotion surrounding Big Tupper. This resort has several components to it that go well beyond the ski resort. There will be more sales realized from the connection with the town-owned golf course than from the ski slope. Then you have to factor in the marina, the equestrian center, and some of the other elements of the project, it is much, much more than the Big Tupper Ski Area - that's just one small component of the overall resort amenities."
Hearings on the massive resort development continue this month and are expected to wrap up by July.