British Columbia

Sea to Sky Gondola won't reopen until spring 2020, manager says

Almost a week after someone cut a cable that sent 30 cabins crashing to the ground at the Sea to Sky Gondola, the general manager says the popular tourist attraction won't likely reopen until early spring.

New cabins, steel cable have been ordered from Europe after someone severed cable at attraction on Aug. 10

A new steel cable and 30 new cars have been ordered from Europe, says the Sea to Sky Gondola's operator, after the 55-millimetre cable was cut on the attraction Aug. 10. (Squamish RCMP )

Almost a week after someone cut a cable that sent 30 cabins crashing to the ground at the Sea to Sky Gondola, the general manager says the popular tourist attraction won't likely reopen until early spring.

A new steel cable is already on order, as well as 30 new cabins to replace the crumpled cars that fell onto trees and steep terrain on the mountainside near Squamish, B.C., causing millions of dollars in damage.

"Given the long lead time for those orders — they are manufactured in Europe and shipped across the Atlantic, then driven here — it's going to take some time," said Kirby Brown, general manager for the Sea to Sky Gondola.

The company says season passholders, who are largely B.C. residents, won't have to worry about losing money while the gondola is out of action, because their passes have been put on hold.

"Every day that you had left on your pass will be there for you the day we reopen," said Brown.

Cable deliberately cut

RCMP said the specialized 55 millimetre-diameter steel cable connecting the gondola cars was deliberately cut around 4 a.m. PT on Aug. 10. 

"With the forces they unleashed, it could have easily killed somebody," Kirby Brown told CBC's The Early Edition earlier this week, adding that a security staff member on site could have been caught up in the incident.

The Sea to Sky Gondola was not operating and no one was injured when its two kilometre-long cable was cut around 4 a.m. PT on Aug 10. (Deborah Goble/CBC)

Almost all of the 30 gondola cars attached to the cable crashed to the ground, according to staff that were working overnight. No injuries were reported as a result of the incident.

The five-year-old gondola starts close to sea level and terminates at around 900 metres above Howe Sound, offering panoramic views of the inlet and surrounding area. The ride takes about 10 minutes and carries up to 240 passengers at peak times.

Brown said 20 local employers have stepped up to help gondola employees who are now out of work.

"They said we would love your team, we know them, we know they are great people," said Brown. 

"It's an amazing reminder of just how strong and loving and resilient Squamish is," he said.

Squamish RCMP continue to investigate.

With files from Tina Lovgreen and Yvette Brend

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