Les Diablerets, 12th December 2019
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends of Isenau,
The Isenau360 Working Group had promised you some news for the end of October. Unfortunately, the analysis work took us longer than expected and we also wanted to receive the latest developments regarding the territory planning question, before communicating any news.
It is now time for us to share some news with you, regarding this now called “Isenau360 adventure”!
Concerning the ongoing opposition procedure against the territory plan (and not regarding the cable-car project itself): to keep the matter as simple as possible, the Swiss Federal Court partially rejected the opponents’ request, which made it possible for the Canton of Vaud to bring this territory plan into force, a mandatory condition for submitting the Isenau file to the Swiss Federal Transportation Office (OFT) and the Canton itself. However, there was an error in the elaboration of this plan re. the location/measurement of the wetland zones below and close to Isenau. Although this issue relates only indirectly to the cable car and is a communal / cantonal case, it should be underlined that the Swiss Federal Court has not yet taken any decision regarding the matter. Thus, the consequences of this ongoing procedure are not known to date, but, according to recent information, this should be the case very soon.
Following our last public presentation in April 2019, the Isenau 360 Working Group finalised the business plan for the resort, which was submitted for further analysis to Mr Laurent Vanat, a recognised national expert in the field of cable-cars and mountain resorts, jointly mandated by the Save Isenau Foundation and Télé-Villars-Gryon-Diablerets (TVGD). Mr. Vanat recently provided his report and validated that the profitability of the Isenau resort is plausible, provided certain conditions are met. These conditions have been taken into consideration by the Isenau 360 Working Group.
From now on, we will mainly focus on validating our financial assumptions, in particular:
– Consolidate the equity capital required to operate the resort, that will be owned by a Cooperative type of company (under the Swiss law)
– Create the Isenau 360 support clubs.
– Finalize the financing of the EcoCentre.
The project’s financial viability we were able to demonstrate with this financial audit allows us to consider presenting the project to the “Service de la promotion, de l’économie et de l’innovation du Canton de Vaud (SPEI)”. Given our 4-season positioning, the application should correspond to all the criteria of the investment program supported by this department and other cantonal authorities. If the Isenau file is finally approved for funding, we will then be able to reopen the file with the OFT, under the leadership of the Isenau 360 Cooperative company.
In parallel, we are going to work on the consolidation of the equity capital and improve the profitability of the project on the long term, through a new call for donations, the creation of support clubs (annual contributions) as well as the search for yearly sponsors. It is important to note that any new requests for the release of funds or contributions will only be initiated after the legal situation of the federal wetland protection plan has been clarified and the cantonal funding validated. At this stage, these are only commitment promises.
In view of the deadlines imposed by the appeal to the Swiss Federal Court, the Save Isenau Foundation will also formally propose a final postponement of donations until 31.12.2021, a deadline that should enable us to also develop the Ecocentre project, complete the financing plan, launch and finalise the reconstruction of the cable-car and the renovation of the ski-lifts.
We can only regret this error in a purely administrative procedure, totally beyond our control and which delays our agenda. This does not question the viability of the project, which is part of a new form of mountain tourism, fully in line with sustainable and eco-responsible investments. We have been able to involve the various private and public partners in this global project and remain motivated and positive about its implementation and long-term viability.
In order to explain the details of the project (which is not limited to the renewal of the cable-car, but also includes the renovation of the restaurant into an EcoCentre, as well as the development of a 4-season offer of new activities at the top of the resort), its set up and the next steps to be taken, we would like to invite you to an information session at the
Diablerets Claude Nicollier congress hall on 22 February 2020, 18.30.
You will find all the necessary information about the Isenau360 project on the dedicated website: www.isenau360.ch, which features a sponsoring file for companies that are interested to support a project.
As you can see, the project is now in its final preparation phase. More than ever, we need your support to make it happen!
Long life to Isenau360!