Squamish Gondola Proposal Seeks Public Input

It’s back… a local company is proposing to build a gondola in Squamish, although this time it would not be to the top of the famous Chief, but instead the route will begin near Shannon Falls and rise to the an adjacent area 2,700 feet about Howe Sound. The company is seeking your input in this decision, more info below…


SQUAMISH, BC, June 29, 2011 – The Squamish community is invited to learn about a new proposal to build a key piece of tourism infrastructure that would drive economic growth and create jobs through expansion of the town’s tourism sector, and further solidify Squamish as the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada. The proposed Sea to Sky Gondola project has embarked on a community engagement campaign to obtain input and feedback into the project’s vision.

It is important to note that this proposed gondola alignment will not be to the top of the Stawamus Chief, as was attempted several years ago by a different group of proponents. The proposed Sea to Sky Gondola project will provide accessible transportation to 2,700 feet above majestic Howe Sound on a routing between Shannon Falls and the Stawamus Chief. It will have a base terminal located on the vacant gravel pit site along the Sea to Sky Highway. The top terminal will be located on the ridge leading to Mount Habrich, land currently owned by the Province of BC. The proposed Sea to Sky Gondola will provide mountaintop access leading to Mount Habrich, Sky Pilot Mountain and Goat Ridge.

Visitors will be greeted at the top with a 360-degree viewscape that features extraordinary views of Howe Sound– counted among the world’s most spectacular fjords. The top terminal has the potential to provide access to mountain top viewing areas, interpretive walks, hikes, cross country mountain bike trails, snowshoeing, a West Coast inspired lodge serving a high quality locally produced menu, and a theatre experience highlighting the history, culture and activities in the area.

Fully accessible, the eight-passenger gondola cabins will be stroller and wheelchair friendly, offering a previously inaccessible mountain top experience to many individuals, families, the elderly and those with disabilities.

GroundEffects Development Inc. is the company behind the Sea to Sky Gondola proposal. Principals David Greenfield and Trevor Dunn bring a vast amount of experience to the project, working on the complete lifecycle of countless world class large-scale projects primarily through many years working with Intrawest Corporation. Locally, GroundEffects is currently engaged in the Squamish Oceanfront Development Corporation, the new proposed Coast Mountain School in Squamish, and Whistler Olympic Park in the Callaghan Valley.

“We wholeheartedly believe in the potential of Squamish as a major tourism destination, and see this project as a catalyst to further establish the town as such, allowing the community to reap the economic benefits that accompany that status,” says Greenfield. “We have invested considerable energy to date into assessing the viability of this project, and are ready to present it to the community for input and feedback. We strongly believe the Sea to Sky Gondola project can be a game-changer for Squamish, spurring on benefits to the entire community including attracting new tourism investment opportunities, and putting it on the tourist map in a way that has not been possible to date.”

The Sea to Sky Gondola has the potential to help local accommodation providers increase overnight stays, attract cruise ship business, provide destination itinerary opportunities for transportation providers, offer countless co-promotional opportunities among a wide range of Squamish businesses, and so much more.

“It is proven that significant economic spin-off results when visitors stay longer in a destination,” says Dunn. “The Sea to Sky Gondola will provide visitors an additional reason to stay in town longer, providing spin-off benefits to countless local businesses who have the creativity and partnership philosophy to leverage the opportunity. We also believe this project will benefit the entire Sea to Sky Corridor. Rather than competing with Whistler’s well-established, unique alpine experience, the Sea to Sky Gondola will offer visitors one more reason to come to this region. The views down Howe Sound are second-to-none; there is nowhere else like this in the Corridor.”

The Sea to Sky Gondola project team welcomes input and feedback from the Squamish community and special interest groups. With such strong potential to solidify Squamish as a major tourism destination, it’s important to get it right. Although the project team has a strong vision for this proposed project, the team is committed to an open, collaborative process.

The project team will be seeking community involvement through a variety of means over the next several months including through: community group meetings, special interest group meetings, participation at local community events, through public information sessions for the regulatory processes, and through web site feedback.

“We are currently meeting with a number of key stakeholders to share our vision for the project and obtain initial feedback; so far we are optimistic by their level of enthusiasm,” continues Dunn. “We have a clear vision for this project, but want to stress that we welcome public input to ensure that the plan is developed with support and to its full potential, with as many considerations for future uses included as possible. Groups are strongly urged to get in touch if they’d like us to speak individually with their particular interest group.”

The community is invited to review the project and its proposed timelines at www.seatoskygondola.com.


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