Edmonton

Rising to the top: River valley gondola winner of Edmonton Project

A river valley gondola could someday actually become reality in Edmonton. The sky ferry was selected as the winning pitch in The Edmonton Project, a competition hosted by a consortium of local businesses that aim to construct a new landmark in the city.

The sky ferry would sweep commuters across the North Saskatchewan

A gondola stretching across Edmonton's river valley was named the winning pitch in The Edmonton Project, a competition hosted by a consortium of local businesses that aim to construct a new landmark in the city. (Telluride Ski Resort)

A river valley gondola could someday actually become reality in Edmonton.

The sky ferry was selected as the winning pitch in The Edmonton Project, a competition hosted by a consortium of local businesses that aim to construct a new landmark in the city.

The gondola, pitched by Edmonton couple Gary and Amber Poliquin, was among 10 ideas vying for approval during a public showdown before a panel of judges on Tuesday night.

The Edmonton couple envisions an eight-car system that would stretch three kilometres across three stations, connecting Old Strathcona to the old Epcor power plant and then on to downtown.

The mechanized gondola lift would carry commuters across the North Saskatchewan River year-round.

The stations would be located at the Shaw Conference Centre, one near RE/MAX Field, and one at the parking lot across from the Old Strathcona Farmers' Market.

Poliquin previously said the price tag could be anywhere from $30 million up to $300 million, depending on the style of gondola and how stations are constructed.

Without city council approval, there is no guarantee the project will be constructed. When asked by the event emcee Tuesday night if he would be supporting the project, Mayor Don Iveson responded with a coy laugh.

"Maybe," Iveson said from the audience.

The river valley gondola came out on top of other several other pitches, including building the world's largest tree house in an Edmonton park and constructing a food truck ferris wheel overlooking the river valley.

A pitch for the construction of a series of steamy saunas in the river valley won the people's choice award in a public, online poll which attracted thousands of votes.

"When we submitted our proposal five months ago, we really had no idea what we were getting into." Amber Poliquin said in her acceptance speech.

"We did have a vision for Edmonton and along the way, we met many people who shared this vision and helped make it a reality."

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