It's up and up for the Sea to Sky Gondola.
Last week, the project's proponents received the news they'd been waiting for. The provincial government granted the gondola corporation's request to reclassify a 20-metre-wide, one kilometre-long strip of the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park land from Class A Park to Protected Area.
After a relatively smooth process with the District of Squamish to rezone for the gondola's base area, the project hit opposition regarding the park re-classification. Opponents voiced frustration over the province's lack of opportunity for public input into the decision. The re-classification was key to allowing the tram running 2,700 feet up a ridge below Mount Habrich.
“We received the border line adjustment from the provincial government last week,” said Trevor Dunn, one of the principals of the Sea to Sky Gondola Corp.
Now, the proponents are tying up loose ends, which include a management agreement with B.C. Parks. The project also awaits final adoption of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) bylaw amendments, which were deferred until after the park's reclassification.
With the project moving forward, the proponents have hired a new general manager and founding partner for the gondola, Dunn noted. As of July 15, Sea to Sky resident Jayson Faulkner, a Whistler councillor, will step into that role.
“We are very excited,” Dunn said. “Jayson has a great background in starting businesses.”
Faulkner has three decades of marketing and operations experience in the region. He was the vice president of sales and marketing for outdoor clothing and climbing equipment company Arc'teryx. Faulkner was also the founding partner of The Escape Route, an outdoor equipment and ski touring company based in Squamish and Whistler.
Faulkner has work with various environmental and outdoor organizations, including sitting as chair on the Spearhead Hut Project Committee and is the founding president of the Alpine Club of Canada – Whistler section. Faulkner is a proven leader, David Greenfield, the gondola's principal, stated in a press release.
“His work as an advocate for the development of a sustainable outdoor recreation industry in B.C. marries perfectly with our vision for what the Sea to Sky Gondola will become to this community and the province,” Greenfield stated.