After the collapse and subsequent closure of the Sea-to-Sky Gondola over the weekend, officials now say that the cost of repairing the attraction and returning it to a fully operational state is expected to reach “into the millions.”
The incident happened around 4:30 am on Saturday, when “a loud bang” was heard in the vicinity of the Sea to Sky Gondola.
Gondola operators discovered soon afterwards that the gondola line and cabins had come crashing to the ground. The gondola system was stationary and not in operation at the time.
On Saturday afternoon, police said they believe evidence at the scene indicates the incident may have been an act of sabotage.
“We believe the cables were cut and there was a deliberate act of vandalism,” said Insp. Kara Triance with Squamish RCMP during a press conference. “This is a crime scene and has been closed by police.”
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- Sea to Sky Gondola increases its carrying capacity by 50% with more cabins
- 2.5-km-long spiral elevated walkway coming to Sea to Sky Gondola
In a statement on Monday, the operators of the attraction said that along with a new main cable – or haul rope – being required for the gondola, an estimated 18 to 20 out of the 30 gondola cabins will need to be replaced as well.
— Squamish RCMP (@SquamishRCMP) August 11, 2019
At this point, there is no solid timeline for when this will all be complete, with officials saying only that they will reopen as soon as possible.
“We are working with Doppelmayr, our lift manufacturer, to determine timelines for equipment replacement,” officials said.
In the meantime, “we are contacting all of the private weddings and events that have been scheduled at the gondola,” they added. “We are working to relocate as many as possible to other beautiful venues in the area.”
Efforts are also being focused “on the well-being of our incredible team, working with the RCMP and determining steps towards reopening,” they said.
Nobody was injured in the incident.
Community “shocked and saddened” by incident: mayor
In a statement to Daily Hive, Squamish Mayor Karen Elliot said the “tight-knit” community is “deeply shocked and saddened” by the incident.
“We are committed to supporting the Sea to Sky Gondola team until it is able to resume its operations,” she added. “A timeline for resuming operations is not yet known, but we understand we’ll have more information later this week.”
The gondola is a major summer attraction, and the fact it is now out of commission will “understandably impact our remaining summer tourism season,” said Elliot.
That said, “Squamish is a well-established as an adventure destination, and we anticipate that visitors will continue to experience our town.”