SQUAMISH (NEWS 1130) — Yet another closure of the Sea to Sky Gondola is going to have a lasting economic impact, according to the mayor of Squamish.
The cables on the gondola were cut for a second time Monday morning, and Karen Elliott says the closure is tough, particularly for the people who are out of work again.
“The gondola is a draw for other tourism operators in the valley. A pause in operations there does have impacts through the community,” Elliott said.
Eerily quiet this afternoon at the @seatoskygondola as investigators try to figure out who cut the cable at the popular attraction again.
Cable can be seen dangling from the edge of the cliff and into the trees.
— David Zura (@DavidZuraCityTV) September 14, 2020
Elliott said although Squamish is a fast-growing community, it’s still a relatively small town, and everyone will know someone who’s affected by the closure.
“We want to take care of our community. We know this has been hard for the tourism economy, in our community this year because of the pandemic — this only makes it worse and we have to be realistic about that,” she added.
The same people who were out work when the cable was cut last September, lost their jobs when the pandemic forced the gondola to close earlier this year.
The vandalism last year resulted in millions of dollars in damage. The company was forced to bring in about 30 new cabins and a new main haul rope from Europe.
This latest act of vandalism is just adding to challenges they’ve had to confront this year to due COVID-19.
“It’s too early to understand what that means in light of the pandemic. In the coming days, we’ll have more time to take a deep breath, take a step back and really look at what we can do and where we can support our community.”
Elliott adds she will be working with Tourism Squamish and the Chamber of Commerce to find ways to support people who have lost their jobs once again.
“I think the Gondola is clear on their next steps and that is to work really hard to rebuild. They’ve shown us in the past they know how to do that quickly,” she said.
RCMP is investigating.
-With files from Hana Mae Nassar