One-of-a-kind tourist attraction in central Alberta proposed for Red Deer – Bashaw Star
Red Deer residents and visitors will one day be able to ride a gondola over the Red Deer River between Capstone and Bower Ponds.
Prairie Sky Gondola submitted an unsolicited proposal to the City of Red Deer eight months ago and worked with the city to assess and plan the project.
A Memorandum of Understanding will be signed this spring, initiating the process to collaboratively undertake additional technical and commercial analysis.
The project would still need to go through design development, the city’s regulatory process, as well as public and Indigenous engagement, the developer said.
“We’re in the early days, but this is a project that we and the city will work together to move forward,” said Prairie Sky Gondola President Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson, who estimated construction could take about two years to start.
The privately funded $25 million site would see a gondola travel 350 meters east to west over the river from a station immediately northeast of Canada 150 Place in Capstone to the southern edge -west of Bower Ponds adjacent to existing trail system.
Hansen-Carlson said the cable car, or cable system, is now part of the mainstream infrastructure.
“There are around 200 cable cars in development around the world right now, and there are several that are operational.”
Flying approximately 40 meters above the river, residents and visitors would have stunning views all day, easily accessing all that downtown Red Deer and Bower Ponds has to offer.
The Capstone station will include meals and other experiential elements. The stations would improve access to communities while blending into the landscapes on both sides of the river.
“The city’s vision, investment and work on Capstone served as a critical catalyst in Prairie Sky Gondola’s decision to move forward as they considered this site. This, combined with the city’s openness and willingness to welcome experienced private investment, has culminated in providing this proposed opportunity unique to Red Deer,” said Tara Lodewyk, Acting City Manager.
“Some cities don’t know how to react to unique ideas. Red Deer is clearly not one of those cities,” Hansen-Carlson said.
“Red Deer is arguably one of the best communities in Alberta to invest in today. We are thrilled to have arrived at this time, but we are also inspired by the work ahead of us.
He said the concept is to make the two stations as opposite as possible.
“What we have proposed is not necessarily intuitive. Capstone Station is large and bold. Bower Ponds Station wants to be invisible. The development concept energizes the city’s vision while complementing community values,” said Hansen-Carlson.
Mayor Ken Johnston said the project would showcase the natural beauty of the Red Deer community while creating an attraction and destination in the heart of Capstone.
“The gondola will be an additional tourist destination, the success of which will extend to local businesses and inspire further development,” said Johnston.
For more information, visit www.prairieskygondola.com/red-deer.
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