Gondola proposal offers alternative to hiking the Chief
Proponents of a multi-million-dollar proposal are hoping to bring tourists to the top of a mountain near B.C.'s famed Stawamus Chief -- no hiking required.
GroundEffects Development of North Vancouver wants to build a gondola that would travel up to Habrich Ridge, a point just off the Sea-to-Sky Highway between Shannon Falls and the Chief.
Trevor Dunn, one of the principals behind the project, said the gondola would give visitors to Squamish another reason to pull off the highway.
"We thought that would be a great economic advantage for the community of Squamish if we could figure out how to keep those people for a little bit longer," he told CTV News.
The base of the gondola -- including parking and possibly a helicopter landing pit for search-and-rescue workers --would be positioned on the site of a former gravel pit. The gondola trip would end 2,700 feet above sea level, with a sweeping view of Howe Sound, interpretive centre, restaurant and trails.
"We're arriving [at the top] at a place that was previously logged. We really feel like it's an opportunity to enhance the environmental interpretation of the area," Dunn said.
"The real effort right now is to make sure we're getting as much community feedback as we can."
A similar proposal for a gondola on the Chief was shot down in 2004, but Mount Habrich is farther removed from the popular hiking trails and rock-climbing areas of the famed wilderness spot.
Still, Dan Butler at the Climb On Equipment climbing store is concerned that the gondola would take away from the outdoor experience at Mount Habrich.
"[It is] most popular with people who are actually trying to get away from the crowds," he said.
"I think the economic benefits would have to be substantial before I would want to see that experience lost to people."
The developers still need approval from Squamish, BC Parks and the regional district, but they'd like to see the gondola up and running by 2013.
A public information session is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the Squamish Adventure Centre. For more information, click here.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Maria Weisgarber