Sea to Sky Gondola reopens as RCMP investigation into vandalism continues
VANCOUVER -- For the first time in 10 months, the Sea to Sky Gondola is welcoming visitors.
“It was really fun. I loved the hikes and stuff,” said Faeryn Sherry, who came with her school. "It’s amazing.”
Staff have worked tirelessly since the cable was cut in September 2020 to get it up and running once again. This was the second time the cable was vandalized, the first cut happening a year earlier, in August 2019.
“It was really scary because I don’t know who did it,” said Sherry. "And it’s just kind of like, why do it again?”
That’s the question on the minds of many: Could the vandal or vandals hit again?
As of the reopening, no suspect has ever been identified, and police have not released any photos or images depicting who it might be.
The RCMP told CTV News in an email that there are no new updates on the case, but it remains a priority for the Sea to Sky detachment.
Kirby Brown, general manager of the Sea to Sky Gondola, said security has become a "preoccupation" for the operators.
“I used to say I run a tourism business and now I run a security operation, and that’s both sad and true," Brown said.
After the first incident, the team increased security and they’ve done the same again this time.
“While I can’t mention specifics, I think the comprehensive nature of it is what makes it unique,” said Brown. "There’s additional measures that make it harder to access the towers, and also parking the cabins every single night, removing them from the line.”
Those cabins will be parked behind the guest services office each night and added back to the cable every morning. Brown said it takes about 30 minutes to do, and will keep the cabins safe from the elements such as storms. It will also ensure if someone successfully cuts the cable for a third time, no car will come crashing to the ground.
“We’d all feel better when they catch these individuals or the individual. But we’ve accepted from the outset that this is our security posture forever,” said Brown.
Some surveillance camera towers are visible from the cabins as passengers ride to the top, but Brown explained there are some other measures taken that are not visible.
“We really have spent the last eight months digging deep into who we are, what we represent and how we want to be in this country, and that work has been hard and fascinating and very vulnerable,” said Brown.
There was a steady stream of hikers and sight seers arriving on opening day, eager to take in the view they’d missed for nearly a year.
“The people who’ve done this are reckless and they have directly endangered people’s lives,” said Brown. “Squamish is a town that deserves better.”