Dear Friends of Isenau,
We hope that you enjoyed the fantastic weather we had at the end of 2019 and during the YOG 2020! The conditions on Meilleret and the Glacier ski areas were really superb.
During this period, and following the publication of the last press release in December, the members of the Working Group and those of the Foundation were asked several times to obtain additional information. Based on their observations and in view of the information session to be held on February 22, we would like to share with you this press release and some important points raised during these discussions.
Isenau remains absolutely esssential: the interest in Isenau has not waned and, as predicted, during the holidays many people expressed a keen wish for Isenau to be open. This consolidates the findings and actions of the Isenau 360 Working Group. An area like Isenau, offering all year round sustainable facilities, with access to natural snow and optimal slopes for beginners, would play a powerful role in Les Diablerets’ tourist portfolio to complement the current offer.
What has happened to donations made to the Foundation? Obviously, since your funds have been entrusted to the Foundation, they are blocked in a bank account and can only be released by the start of the reconstruction or returned to their benefactors if the project does not come to fruition.
Is there still any hope of success? Yes of course ! The project has never been so close to success and the partners concerned are all fully supportive and on board with the Isenau360 project
Time is passing and the Foundation has asked you to extend the donations for another two years rather than running the risk of being asked to wait again by the Canton while we gather funds. The Isenau 360 Working Group recommended that the Foundation extend the donations for two years because this is the time needed to ensure that the funding for the project is finalised, that objections are lifted and that the financial envelope will lead to a positive vote in the Cantonal parliament. The Working Group aims to be able to submit the complete file to the OFT (Federal Office of Transport), early in 2021 at the latest, with the hope of rebuilding the lift for the winter of 2021-2022.
What has happened since the April 2019 information session? The working group essentially worked on the plausibility of the economic profitability of Isenau by resubmitting this file to Mr. Laurent Vanat, a recognised expert in this field, who this time concluded that profitability was viable under certain conditions, which is a mandatory criteria for a cantonal funding request. Also, we were able to bring together the partners concerned and, with them, confirm that the future of Isenau will be an autonomous domain owned by a cooperative and integrated in the Magic Pass, operating with the help of the partners concerned, in particular TVGD as regards the ski lifts.
What about opposition? The Federal Court will judge the case on the merits of both sides. Without being able to give a specific deadline, we believe that the judgment will be rendered before the end of 2020. We remain extremely positive bearing in mind that the result of the judgement does not question the content of the Partial Assignment Plan (PPA/zoning plan) currently in force, which is an essential element the Federal Office of Transport considers when issuing an operating license. The question of the federal inventory plan (mapping at Federal level) for the lower marshes does not question the PPA – the federal inventory plan (mapping) will be applied as it is.
What about cantonal funding? The fact that the PPA is currently in force, even though under appeal, and that profitability is proved, allows us to resubmit the file to the Canton. Given our 4-seasons/year round positioning, the file corresponds to the investment program supported by the departments concerned. It will be submitted to the various Cantonal authorities who will decide on its funding. However, it is mandatory for the Canton that the equity criteria are met, hence the importance that each donor maintains their donation until a final decision is made.
What remains to be done? How can we help? The Working Group is finalising and fulfilling the conditions decreed by the expert Mr Laurent Vanat and is working on the financing of the Ecocentre-Restaurant which is to replace the current restaurant. To achieve these points, we need, as mentioned, to consolidate equity. You can help us in different ways as explained below and in the models offered here.
(reminder: we will not ask for the realisation of your donations until the project is confirmed).
- by maintaining your donations in the Foundation until the end of 2021, the date by which the project MUST be carried out;
- by making a new or additional pledge to the Foundation (to be realised only when the project gets the green light);
- By promising to subscribe to shares of CHF 200 from the future cooperative company owning the infrastructure (to be set up soon by the Foundation);
- by joining the Friends Club or the Isenau 360 Private Partners Club;
- via sponsorship for companies wishing to associate their image with the future Isenau360 domain;
When should we consolidate our equity? Our objective is to consolidate them by 31.5.2020 in order to present a complete dossier to the services of the State of Vaud.
How much additional funding do we need (donations, cooperative shares)? Minimum CHF 1,000,000 ideally CHF 1,500,000.
Why the need for additional equity? To ensure the reconstruction of the lift and because the structure owning the domain will be new and, as with any entrepreneurial project, it is necessary to have cash for the payment of the first operating expenses, plus being able to cope, if necessary, with the possibility of a bad first season (delays, unfavorable weather, …).
How much of the additional annual funding is sought through Clubs and sponsorship? According to the business plan presented, between CHF 200,000 and CHF 250,000
As you will have understood, the project is now in its final phase and, as ever, nothing can be done without your support.
We invite you to attend the public information session which will take place at the Claude Nicollier Congress House in Les Diablerets
on Saturday February 22, 2020 at 6.30 p.m.
Please come along and find out more about the whole project, including the financial details, and the potential that Isenau has to make this area the gold standard of development and sustainable tourism in this jewel of the Vaudois Alps.
Long live Isenau !