Cascade Skyline Gondola Project

Cascade Skyline Gondola Project

For Immediate Release

April 15, 2021


Cheam Territory (Rosedale, B.C. CANADA) –Cheam First Nation is deeply concerned about and surprised by the recent announcement from Bridal Veil Mountain Resort Project (BVMR) proponents contemplating a large industrial ski resort located on our traditional territory. This project was formerly known as Resorts West and in a very similar fashion was originally proposed back in 2003. Cheam First Nation firmly rejected this proposal for a myriad of reasons. The proposal was also soundly rejected by the wider community and the City of Chilliwack. Cheam First Nation has only recently been made aware of the revival of this project proposal, and we have yet had a chance to be included in their process, despite their plans and its potential impacts on our traditional territory and land. As it stands, Cheam First Nation continues to decisively reject this proposal.

For the last five years, Cheam First Nation has been developing our own non-motorized eco-tourism/cultural tourism project, the Cascade Skyline Gondola Project

The Cascade Skyline Gondola Project is an eco-cultural tourism amenity similar to the very successful Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish. It is fundamentally a “celebration of nature and natural spaces” with non-motorized activities for a range of abilities and interests.  It will provide accessible transportation above the Fraser Valley in the Cascade Mountains in our traditional territory. At the summit, guests will be able to enjoy a variety of low-impact, nature-based activities including sight-seeing, hiking, cultural tours, paragliding in summer and snowshoeing, sledding, cross-country and backcountry skiing in winter. The project has been through years of studies, extensive community and First Nation stakeholder consultation and engagement which has resulted in overwhelming community support throughout the region. We have been following due process with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) for almost four years now under the Adventure Tourism process. We are invested partners in this project and have widespread support from the City of Chilliwack, Tourism Chilliwack, Tourism Industry Association of B.C., Chilliwack Economic Partnership Co., Mayor and Council of the District of Kent, and many other business leaders and community leaders. We are shocked that this competing proposal, on our traditional territory and lands, would be considered by any jurisdiction given the past record of failures and controversies of its proponents, and their lack of respect for our own project on our own lands.

The Cascade Skyline Gondola Project has been a collaborative project since the beginning. As equity owners and partners in this project, we are committed to preserving the cultural and environmental interest of our community and membership, and continuing to work in consultation with other First Nations. We believe this project will bring long-term and sustainable benefits not only to Cheam, but also to the surrounding communities. It will help create a sustainable local tourism-based economy that aligns with the values we hold as Cheam First Nation. Along with economic benefits, it will also create additional management and protection of our cultural and traditional resources. Our project reflects the values and long-term goals of Cheam First Nation and its development will create a positive impact to the surrounding communities.

In particular, the facts below illustrate the fundamental importance of our project work and status, viability and most importantly, economic importance to the Cheam First Nation, broad community support through extensive consultation with all stakeholders.

  • Our project seeks to restore the traditional use of First Nation practices, both cultural and spiritual, through the identification of Traditional Use Areas within and adjacent to our tenure. Restoration of our cultural use of these lands is a fundamental tenant of our Cascade Skyline Gondola Project.
  • It is a cultural tourism project with many components including a Stó:lō cultural interpretive centre and programming with First Nations on history and culture that is part of our project DNA.
  • It is specifically designed to have a small environmental footprint and use of resources compared to BVMR which is a very large industrial ski resort with villages, multiple lifts, ski runs, snowmaking, huge water use, massive infrastructure throughout our lands.
  • As Cheam First Nation, we are invested partners who have identified the Cascade Skyline Gondola Project as a key component in our economic future. 
  • The cultural commitments and components, and economic development opportunities of our project are critical steps forward in reconciliation with First Nations and their rights and titles and the Provincial Government. 
  • Our project is not just about economic sovereignty for our community, it revives cultural knowledge, supports cross-cultural education, creates employment within the First Nation community, connects our people to the land and is a major contributor to reconciliation and creating a foundation for the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA).
  • Our project has presented to almost 40 community groups over the last four-plus (4+) years and received extraordinary written statements of support from business leaders, community leaders, local governments, MLAs, MPs and more. All of these are on file with FLNRORD as part of our application. 
  • Our project has registered on title, options to purchase the base lands and other lands needed for project development. In other words, the appropriate resources at substantial costs have already been secured ensuring future development. 
  • Our project has begun its local government approval process for rezoning (FVRD), who have been collaborative working with us for four-plus (4+) years and stated their support for the project. 
  • The Mayor and Council of Chilliwack have already put their full support behind our project and continue to do so. Notably, the Mayor and Council of Chilliwack have not supported the BVRM project in the past and are very unlikely to do so in the future. 
  • We seek to enhance, restore and reclaim more habitat and improve species at risk opportunities by being a sustainable eco-tourism, non-motorized project protecting thousands of hectares of previously logged and impacted forest lands along with better economic opportunities and potential.
  • Environmental impacts of our gondola project are negligible and mitigated, especially in comparison to a ski resort and the large ski area infrastructure required (e.g. snowmaking which requires large water use/chemical use, larger road systems, ski runs, real estate development, multiple lift systems, large fleet of motorized vehicles needed for operations, large power use, exclusion/restriction of public access/use of lands, wildlife habitat compromise, etc.)
  • Very small footprint of infrastructure and built facilities. This is a unique characteristic of such a project vs. industrial ski areas/resorts and therefore more sustainability, less negative local impacts, less environmental impacts, less water use, less displacement of wildlife, displacement of other users, etc.
  • No additional real estate development required to finance the cost of the project or ensure its viability. Not a “real estate play”.
  • The world’s two largest lift companies able to supply the infrastructure for such projects, Doppelmayr and Leitner Poma, have already offered Cascade Skyline Gondola Project favourable terms on financing the ~$28M lift costs. The ONLY project in North America to receive such a vote of confidence and ONE of only five in the world.
  • We have financing commitments already positioned for our full $70M CAPEX and investment. 
  • Led by an experienced and successful team of experts who have built similar successful projects before, from the ground up.
  • An Advisory Board already in place that consists of some of the most experienced and successful adventure tourism/nature-based attraction operators and business leaders in Canada.

In closing, we reject the BVMR again, as a project that in no way represents the interests of Cheam First Nation and our values and cannot and will not be considered as a replacement for our own project, our own future on our own traditional territory and lands.


Mekw’ tel sq’eq’ó (All my relations),

Chief Andrew Victor
Cheam First Nation





Melissa Godbout, Cheam First Nation Communications Office
(604) 991-8929, (604) 745-8013, [email protected]