Option on Squamish gondola land runs out 

Provincial government says it has had no further proposals

An option on the land that would have hosted the base station for a gondola near the Stawamus Chief in Squamish expired last week but one of the proponents, Peter Alder, was not prepared to say the project was dead just yet.

Alder and Paul Mathews from Whistler pitched a proposal for a sight-seeing gondola in Squamish two months ago, and while the initial plan to run the lift up the Stawamus Chief met with a lot of opposition, the idea for a gondola was widely supported.

But all plans were halted after the Squamish Nation sent a letter, signed by Chief Gibby Jacob, to the provincial government explaining that it would not support any kind of gondola project.

"We gave up the option on the piece of land because we have had no reply form the B.C. government yet on some of the conditions which we have made (for a gondola)," said Alder. "The option was up on Dec. 10 and we cancelled it because we were not willing to put up a million dollars to a project which we aren’t sure is going to go."

Alder said the opportunity for a gondola might resurface, but for the moment it’s now more of a waiting game.

"Maybe, eventually the opportunity for a gondola will come back," he said. "I notice the realtors have a back-up offer waiting in the wings, so we’re really just sitting here with baited breath and wondering what’s going on (with the provincial government)."

The Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection, Bill Barisoff, said on a recent trip to Squamish that there were other proponents pushing for a gondola project and other opportunities to find a "win-win situation".

But a spokeswoman for Water, Land and Air Protection said Tuesday that the provincial government had not received any further formal proposals for a gondola in Squamish.

"No, we haven’t received any proposals at all," said the spokeswomen. "The original gondola proposal is still it, we’ve seen nothing official from anyone else."

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