Editor’s Note: former Editor-in-Chief Michael Miley wrote the following opinion for an edition of The Critic early last year. With the recent announcement that the hotel at Q Burke has postponed their opening again, we’ve dredged up an old article to help illustrate the struggles that this project has seen as far back as last year.
“In previous columns, I’ve expressed my personal disdain for the “economic development” forced upon the Northeast Kingdom in part by the Federal EB-5 program. Now, midway through the ski-and-ride season, I am unhappy to say that my predictions and fears are coming true. Ariel Quiros, president of the obliviously renamed Burke Resort has shown that he has absolutely no respect for this region, our homes, our customs, and our way of life. It seems that every time Quiros makes a serious gaffe, Bill Stenger has to come out and smooth things over with the public. But as Quiros commits more and more PR blunders, Stenger’s repeated assertions that the mountain’s new owner has nothing but respect for our institutions and revered public figures ring hollow.
First, there was the Kingdom Trails fiasco, where Quiros ended the long-time association between Burke and the nationally known mountain biking organization over a fee-sharing disagreement. Rather than attempting to build a bridge with the community, and live up to his rhetoric, Quiros instead decided that he was better than the executives of Kingdom Trails, and summarily ended the relationship between the two organizations. Unsurprisingly, this decision created outrage among locals and loyal visitors from out-of-state and prompted a statement from Stenger (“Ary Quiros has nothing but respect for the local community”) and ultimately from Quiros himself (“Nothing but respect.”) But Quiros, apparently, did not learn his lesson. Yesterday, the Caledonian Record ran a front-page story on the fallout from a VTDigger article where Quiros criticized a prominent local figure associated with Burke Mountain Academy, a world-renowned secondary school, from which many Olympic skiers have graduated. Stenger had to go before the local media and attempt to put out the fire that Quiros the Younger created.
Which brings me to my ultimate point; Ary Quiros is bad for Burke Mountain, and bad for the Northeast Kingdom. The Quiros family, with their deep pockets, has bought significant financial assets in the Northeast Kingdom, and now treat the region as their own personal dominion regarding anyone who disagrees with their myopic and avaricious plans with outright contempt. In his mea culpa to Burke pass-holders following his bad decision regarding Kingdom Trails, Quiros Jr. implored that he was trying to make Burke a viable enterprise after years of different owners. In the interview with VTDigger, he openly criticized all of Burke’s previous owners, which is what got him into trouble. In both public declarations, Quiros makes an age-old plea that “the ends justify the means.” This philosophy is the disastrous battle cry of tyrants and demagogues throughout time. Are the people of The Northeast Kingdom willing to be suckered in by the slick advertising of Stenger and Quiros? Or will we throw off the shackles of their economic oppression and reclaim our sovereignty, both economic and personal?
Join me in this righteous quest to stand up to the ever-growing leviathan and create something totally new, not for the benefit of a small number of wealthy elites, but for the benefit of all the people of the Northeast Kingdom, and do it on our own terms.”