Proposed Gondola near Chilliwack will provide improved access to the ridge beside Mount Cheam
Bridal Falls Gondola Corporation, is proposing to build a gondola and an eco-cultural tourism amenity near Bridal Falls, just east of Chilliwack, The proposed gondola will operate under the name Cascade Skyline Gondola and will if approved and constructed, transport visitors to a summit station that will be located near Mt Archibald. From the proposed summit station, visitors will be able to access trails and alpine terrain and surrounding peaks in the Chipmunk Creek drainage, including Mt Archibald and Mt Cheam.
The FMCBC recently submitted comments to the Lands Branch about the proposed gondola. We reviewed the proposal with some local clubs and FMCBC committees:
There are several positive aspects about the proposal:
Improved public access to the existing public trail network to Mt Cheam, Lady Peak and other destinations
Proposed upgrades to the existing logging road, which is in poor shape and only accessible via mountain bikes, dirt bikes, high clearance 4WD/AWD vehicles, ATVs or snowmobiles
Accessible alpine terrain for non-motorized winter recreation, such as backcountry skiing and snowshoeing
The FMCBC’s overall positive assessment of the gondola project however is contingent on public access to the alpine for non-mechanized activities being preserved or enhanced. While we are encouraged by the applicant’s statements and assurances to that effect, there are many examples across the province where an applicant’s pre-approval commitments or tenure/lease conditions which are intended to protect public access are never enforced, entirely revoked, altered or ignored after the project moves forward or after a change in the tenure holder. Given government’s repeated failure to protect public access or ensure public access provisions withstand the test of time, we would like to see a different mechanism used to protect public access. One option may be for public access corridors to be defined in the tenure plans, carved out as separate parcels or established as right of ways. We have also asked for more information about environmental impact and the is the proponent will contribute towards trail maintenance.
If you want to learn more, you can review the information that the proponent sent to the Lands Branch and the application status.