Vandalized Sea to Sky Gondola takes delivery of new 4 km cable
Swiss-manufactured cable to replace original that was maliciously cut in August, causing millions in damage
The downed Sea to Sky Gondola is another step closer to being fixed thanks to the arrival of kilometres of new cable from Switzerland to replace the one that was maliciously cut in August.
Photos posted on the company's Facebook page show the four-kilometre, 120-tonne cable being delivered to the base of the gondola near Squamish, B.C.
General manager Kirby Brown says it's a major milestone toward the goal of reopening the attraction by next spring.
"It's just a nice lift for everyone to see that shiny, brand new spool of rope sitting in the parking lot," said Brown.
Police have determined the original cable was intentionally severed in the early morning hours of Aug. 10, bringing 30 gondola cars crashing to the ground and causing millions of dollars in damage.
No suspects have been arrested and the criminal investigation is ongoing.
Brown says a team of international rope experts will begin splicing the new cable onto the old one in the next days in a highly technical procedure. The new cable will then be threaded through the gondola towers to create a continuous loop.
Thirty new gondola cars will be added later.
An investigation by Technical Safety B.C. found that a vandal or vandals cut through a number of strands of the old cable, likely after climbing a maintenance ladder on one of the towers. Once a critical number of strands were severed, the tension caused the entire cable to snap.
The towers along the gondola route are accessible from nearby hiking trails. The company says they now have new security measures in place.
The two-kilometre long gondola, located off Highway 99 near the Stawamus Chief, is a major tourist attraction carrying 400,000 visitors annually up the steep mountainside above Howe Sound.
According to Brown, the cutting of the cable forced the immediate layoff of 75 seasonal staff. He estimates the overall cost of the vandalism and repairs to be somewhere between $5 million and $10 million.