September 24, 2008: Belleayre Mtn. important to all of us

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The following letter was sent to NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Commission Peter Grannis. The author requested that it be reprinted here.

Dear Commissioner Grannis:
As Chief Executive Officer of Margaretville Hospital, which is located only ten miles from Belleayre Mountain Ski Resort, I know very well the close relationship between these two organizations. Frankly, the fate of our critical access hospital may be in the balance with decisions about funding reductions for Belleayre Mountain Ski Resort.
As I am sure you realize, Belleayre Mountain is one of the largest employers in our region and the heart of the tourism industry in our area. The tourists who come to Belleayre Mountain also support the many businesses throughout our community. The employees whose jobs rely on the vitality of the Ski Center and the tourism industry have children in school here, mothers and fathers who are aging here, and day-to-day lives that sustain our community, including the hospital and health care system.
In addition, our employees have family members employed at Belleayre and in most instances depend on the second income for survival. Without that source of income, many would face very difficult financial situations that could result in loss of homes and a relocation.
Recruitment of replacement employees through the usual attrition is already difficult for our hospital and health care system. If the loss of jobs at the Ski Center results in a further reduction of our work force, our hospital and nursing home will be in serious jeopardy.
If our hospital and emergency room are not here to provide services, those with chronic and emergent conditions will be forced to travel 45 miles to the nearest hospital. If the nursing home can no longer provide care for our elderly, families will face the difficult decision about placing their mothers and fathers in centers more than an hour away.
These are people who survived the loss of an agricultural base and adjusted their lives through developing tourism. It would be extremely difficult for them to make more changes that may result in leaving an area that has been home for their entire lives.
I thank you for your consideration.

Edmond Morache
Chief Executive Officer
Margaretville Hospital