There are few businesses that have had it as tough as the Sea to Sky Gondola since last year.
First, the gondola’s cable was cut in August 2019, leading to layoffs of gondola staff. It would take months for the tourist attraction to rebuild to a point where the facilities were operating again.
On Valentine’s Day, everyone lined up at the base camp, ready to board the sparkling new cabins that were being hauled by a brand-new cable that came straight from Switzerland.
But things would not be easy.
After that months-long process of rebuilding and getting things up to speed, the gondola was closed again.
But this time it was due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Again, they slogged through the initial stages of the pandemic, and with a new COVID-19 plan in place, they were able to reopen in May.
Things were getting back to normal. Well, as normal as you can get in the middle of a pandemic.
But, yet again, their luck has taken a turn for the worse.
Unthinkably, unbelievably, we woke up to news on Monday morning that the cable of the gondola had been cut yet again.
This is sadly beginning to feel like a familiar scenario. There will no doubt be the same challenges that gondola employees will have to face — and that affects all of us.
The gondola is a major employer of this town and has been a community leader, doing everything from providing a place for music, culture and outdoor appreciation to thrive to paying for free public transit.
There will no doubt be many who will be wondering where their next paycheque will be coming from.
The first time the gondola cable was cut, Squamish was quick to react, banding together to, among other things, provide jobs for those who had just been laid off due to the sabotage.
We did it once.
We can do it again.
We should do whatever it takes to help this community member in need.
It may take a different shape or form than it did in 2019. Yes, the pandemic will make it hard to do something like hold a job fair for a large group of people.
But if Squamish has shown itself — and the world — anything at all, it’s that it can adapt.
“These are unique and incredibly rare events, so to have it happen twice speaks more to the motivation of the person who wants to bring this team, this company and this community to its knees — and that’s not going to happen,” said gondola general manager Kirby Brown during Monday’s press briefing.
How right you are, Kirby — that’s not going to happen. Because we won’t let it.