INGONISH BEACH, N.S. -- A provincially owned ski hill in Cape Breton has been sold to a private-sector group for $370,000.

The province says Cape Smokey Holding Ltd. plans to turn Ski Cape Smokey in Ingonish Beach into a year-round recreation and tourism destination.

The property includes almost 162 hectares of land, a lodge and a chairlift. The province says the lodge needs significant updating, and the chairlift is no longer safe and needs to be replaced.

About 20 per cent of the property can be subdivided for residential development.

The buyer says it will modernize the ski hill and expand seasonal activities.

Under the terms of the sale, designated areas of the property are to be made accessible to the public for recreational use, such as hiking and snowmobiling, once the construction and developments are completed.

"We are excited to begin work on this development," said Joseph Balaz, president of Cape Smokey Holding Ltd., adding that his company sees a lot of opportunity in the property.

Prior to the sale, the province had leased the ski hill to the volunteer Ski Cape Smokey Society under a 25-year agreement that was due to expire in 2020.

As part of the lease agreement with the society, the province has been responsible for paying the lodge's power bills, which are about $20,000 a year, and providing basic maintenance services.