Sea to Sky Gondola reopens 6 months after sabotage
SQUAMISH, B.C. -- The Sea to Sky Gondola welcomed its first visitors on Friday — six months after a deliberate act of sabotage sent all of its cable cars crashing to the ground.
At a reopening ceremony, gondola staff expressed gratitude to the community of Squamish for its support in the months since vandals cut the thick steel cable forcing the attraction's closure.
"I opened up the Squamish Chief (newspaper) yesterday, in a quiet moment, and there were all these companies with advertisements saying 'Welcome Back, We missed you, congratulations' and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the support that I’ve seen around this community,” said the gondola's general manager Kirby Brown.
So far, no one has been held accountable for the dangerous act of vandalism that happened in the early hours of Aug. 10.
Squamish RCMP said the investigation is ongoing.
"Over the past 6 months, Squamish RCMP have worked and continue to work closely with several different partners and agencies, both domestic and abroad, to fully comprehend and analyze the incident at the Sea to Sky Gondola," Const. Ashley MacKay of the Squamish RCMP said in an emailed statement.
"We understand the public’s thirst to know more so we appreciate everyone’s patience and will provide updates when we can."
The entire cable line of the gondola has been replaced, and it now features 30 brand new cabins to whisk tourists to the top to look out over Howe Sound and the coast mountains.
Several security upgrades were also made during the closure, including the installation of numerous camera towers and strategically placed sensors throughout the property.
The gondola is one of Squamish’s main tourist attractions and its closure had a negative impact on other businesses in the community.
"It was hard because we had done a lot of marketing and had staff that were hired specifically for here and it was hard for everybody," said Eric Dumerac who has an eco-tour company that partners with the gondola. "But the whole community pulled together and we got through it and we’re happy to be back."
The attraction was packed as locals and tourists alike flocked to take advantage of a mild day and sunny skies — along with a 50 per cent discount.
"I really enjoyed it and we had a really amazing view," said Vinciane Destoop, on vacation from Montreal.
While happy to be back open, gondola staff still cannot comprehend why the attraction was targeted.
"It’s still extraordinary to me. And it hurts, to be honest, to not know the motive behind it," said Brown. "It’s still unfathomable to me after all these days and weeks and months of trying to wrap my head around it. I still haven’t."