The Cascade Skyline Gondola Project (CSGP) is significantly closer to reality after finding a deep-pocketed financier.
Doppelmayr, an international company specializing in the manufacture of cable cars, has presented a $29 million financing package for CSGP to obtain the cable cars it will need.
This is in addition to the equity investment being considered through an investment fund, Funis Fund, adding up to more than $60 million of the $80 million capital expenditure for the project, or potentially 70 to 75 per cent of the total cost.
CSGP received proposed finance terms from Doppelmayr this week and both sides are working to confirm the entire package. According to a news release, it is expected that it will be finalized within the next 60 to 90 days, and CSGP believes the project is now “more than adequately financed.”
The cable cars are a huge cost as the CSGP tries to get off the ground.
“We have been working with the Cascade Skyline Gondola proponents for some time and we are very enthusiastic about the potential of this project, that we have offered financing terms to the proponents,” Doppelmayr general manager Brent Carmichael said in a press release. “This is one of the only handful of projects in North America that we have done that for which is a testament to our belief that this project is of significant value to the community and has long term sustainability and viability.”
Doppelmayr and Funis Fund partners visited Chilliwack in February as part of their due diligence on the project. They met with Cheam Nation Chief Andrew Victor, Skowkale Chief Mark Point, Skwah Nation councillor Eddie Gardner, Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove, Agassiz Mayor Sylvia Pranger and many other stakeholders.
“What they heard was a resounding message of support for the project that allowed them to take this next very important step,” CSGP president Jayson Faulkner said.
The Pelólxw-led endeavour is one of only five such projects in the world and the only one in North America to receive this vote of confidence from Doppelmayr.
“We’re thrilled expressions of support and investor interest have also been received from many other stakeholders, and among the First Nations – Skwah, Kwa Kwa Apilt, and other stakeholder First Nations,” Faulkner said.
The CSGP vision is to lift guests from the base at Bridal Falls Golf Course 1,250 metres up to the ridges on the mountains above. From there, there would be a variety of walking and hiking options from difficult to moderate to wheelchair accessible. The most ambitious could wander widely into the mountains while others could just enjoy the ride up and down.
– with files from Paul Henderson