"To encourage people to come on an exhilarating adventure in the heart of beautiful Mount Sutton and to take part in a different kind of business, founded on community values, a welcoming environment, principles of sustainable development and social engagement."
- The Relaunch of Sutton en Haut and Arbre Sutton (March 2011)
The "Relaunch" project stemmed from the will of the community and former owners to keep this business alive and part of the tourism scene in the Sutton region. We, the former owners and collaborators, have restarted this business (after the closing of Arbre Sutton and Sutton en Haut) in the form of a COOP with the support of the community.
The story starts with an unfortunate accident in a zip lining adventure course in the same administrative region as ours. After the accident, an inspector from the CSST (Commission de la Santé et Sécurité du Travail) made severe recommendations which would have a significant impact on the future of adventure courses in Québec. The CSST modified the classification of this type of activity pertaining to the security of employees. In fact, for this type of activity, employee security regulations went from being identical to those of rock climbing centers to being similar to construction workers security regulations.
Several months later, in the spring of 2009, the regional CSST bureau decided to inspect another park and we happened to be the chosen one. Even though there had never been any incidents at the park, the CSST handed down an executive report demanding we invest 80,000$ in our courses within the next three months; this would have meant shutting down our park for the whole 2009 season. After much consideration, the owners, Michel Dallaire and Steve Breton, decided to go forth with the imposed modifications to the park. It is important to note that the CSST imposed these new regulations without any input or recommendations as to how to put them into practice.
Despite the many changes that were made and
significant costs to the company, in October 2010, the CSST demanded that
additional modifications be made in order for the company to continue to
operate. Taking into account the personal investments put into the company’s
security regulations and the negative impact that these modifications had on
the operation of the company throughout the years of 2009 and 2010, the
decision was made to, unfortunately, close the business.
Only a few days after the bankruptcy in November of 2010, the tourism community in Sutton took action. Indeed, thanks to the initiative taken by Mount Sutton and the CDES (supported by its members and the town of Sutton), Daniel Martin (former owner of the Auberge des Appalaches), the former owners of Arbre Sutton and Sutton en Haut as well as the CLD Brome-Missisquoi united in order to be able to open Sutton en Haut for the 2011-2012 winter season.
Until now, this initiative has demonstrated the potential of the "Relaunch" project. The team of project managers succeeded in obtaining an impressive 360 season-pass holders to Sutton en Haut, which greatly surpassed the previous year’s records. The relaunching, in our opinion was inevitable. We, the employees of Arbre Sutton and Sutton en Haut, believe that what Michel Dallaire and Steve Breton had spent so much time and effort building had to be kept alive for future generations to come.
We got together in November 2010 and, thanks to our
combined experiences working in the business and the knowledge gained from this
experience, we decided to relaunch the business as a COOP where we would all
have decision-making power as working members of the COOP. We know the market
of tree course adventures as well as winter activities, and we know the
extraordinary potential of a business such as this one in Sutton. Therefore, in
order to ensure the success of our endeavor, we need the help from economic, political
and social supporters of our region and community. Help us succeed!