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Sea to Sky Gondola will reopen with state-of-the-art security

Last Updated Apr 16, 2021 at 11:07 pm PDT

FILE - A damaged Sea to Sky gondola cabin, with a cut cable lying on top of it, after it was vandalized for a second time. (Courtesy Technical Safety BC)

Operators say the new security infrastructure is the most advanced of any lift system in the world

The popular attraction is preparing to open for the summer

SQUAMISH (NEWS 1130) – The operators of the Sea to Sky Gondola are confident the popular attraction will be open in time for the summer.

Along with a new cable and new cabins, the tourist destination will also feature a state-of-the-art security system.

“We have put in place, not just a security system, but a security architecture, that is by far the most advanced around any lift operation on the planet,” explains general manager Kirby Brown, who naturally won’t go into specifics about what exactly has been installed.

“To do that, we enlisted the best experts we could find. When I pick up the phone and talk with them, I am in awe of how much experience they have and the amount of expertise they have,” he notes.

“The system is truly extraordinary. It’s multi-faceted and it’s ever-changing. It is highly integrated with the RCMP. It doesn’t mean it’s one hundred per cent fail-safe. But it’s the most protected lift system in the world.”

It’s not surprising the operators decided to invest heavily in security. On two separate occasions in the last two years, vandals were able to cut the 5.2 centimetre cable, sending cabins crashing to the ground. After the first incident in 2019, RCMP investigators quickly established it was an act of sabotage. The attraction was closed for six months.

Vandals struck again, in September of 2020, and i’s still not known if the same people struck twice.

RELATED: $250,000 reward offered in Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism case

Brown says he is allowing the investigators to do their work.

“I support them wholeheartedly. While I wish I knew more about any developments, I respect that they are in the business of not arresting somebody but of convicting somebody for the crime. My job is not to get in the way.”

Meantime, 25 brand new cabins manufactured in Switzerland have crossed the ocean, and are now on their way via train from Montreal. Brown says because they are still in transit, he doesn’t want to commit to a reopening date.

He predicts the summer will look much like it did last summer, with restrictions on who will be able to ride inside a single cabin. Last year, visitors who arrived in the same car were able to ride in the same cabin.

Aside from so-called elopement weddings, which feature only the groom and bride, large nuptials will have to wait.

“I feel very badly for brides and grooms out there that have been waiting two years for the wedding of their dreams. But I think 2022 and 2023 will be busy years for people getting hitched,” says Brown.