Hikers on the Stawamus Chief trail oppose the idea of a gondola going through the park.
Squamish has a wondrous big rock called the Stawamus Chief. Looking upwards, there is the natural desire to get to its three peaks. This allure was clearly recognized decades ago by groups of people who conversed and convened many times to create two parks to protect the area from mechanized and commercial ventures.
There is a proposal to build a gondola to a bluff above and between the two provincial parks. Provincial parks belong to the people. Therefore the people should be allowed a say in any removal of land from the park. So far there has been no public process for the people — everyone who is affected, or concerned — to debate the removal of land from their park.
The media has failed to report that this gondola idea is vastly opposed by 80 to 90 per cent of the people hiking up the Chief. While the construction date for the gondola is moving ever closer, there is overwhelming opposition to this project from people who come from all over the world to hike the Stawamus Chief. They drive from Vancouver for the express purpose of hiking up the Chief and seeing the great view from the top as their reward. The vast majority of these hikers want to keep the Stawamus Chief Park the way it is.
I have enjoyed hiking up the Chief for over 47 years. The most common comment I have heard from fellow hikers recently is: “Putting a gondola in there through a Class A park is ludicrous.”
The gondola proponents need to consider other opportunities outside this popular hiker’s park.
And for those who think it’s a done deal, there’s no park use permit yet, and until the province issues one, there is no binding commitment from the province. There’s still time for the province, and indeed Squamish, to reconsider a flawed process and decision.