North Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain is planning to make some major upgrades, including $35 million for a new gondola, 10,000 square feet of commercial space and more parking at the base.
The resort is now in public consultations with the District of North Vancouver.
“This is something that we're really excited about. Grouse Mountain is an integral pillar of the North Vancouver community. We have been since 1926,” said Melissa Taylor, Grouse spokeswoman. “This project and upgrading our facilities, leading up to our 100th anniversary, is exciting and ultimately this will improve the overall guest experience.”
The 1966 blue tram is at the end of its useful life. In recent years, Grouse has only been using it for employees and freight, effectively reducing lift capacity by half. Between now and December 2023, it will be decommissioned and replaced with a gondola, which runs on a continuous loop, carrying 27 eight-person cabins.
The red Skyride, which can carry 900 guests per hour, will still be in use for the foreseeable future. The new gondola will have a capacity of 1,000 guests per hour, making the trip in 5.5 minutes.
“As our guests and pass holders know, there can often be a wait associated with boarding, and we want to make sure that we're able to return to those original levels,” Taylor said. “A gondola seems to be more efficient for getting people up and down than a tram.”
The plan also includes redoing the aging base facilities, including offices (which are currently in portables) along with new retail space. The plan calls for 193 new parking spaces for a total of 1,047.
The gondola, which will run to the east of the existing tram line and chalet, will require development permits for environmental protection from the District of North Vancouver, which are granted by staff after plans have been reviewed. A consultant’s report states it will have minimal impact on the environment, as the 13 new towers will be built in areas that have already been disturbed.
The commercial building at the base, however, will require a vote by council before it can be built.
Public feedback comments submitted to the district so far have been supportive of the gondola concept, but several residents have flagged concerns about traffic problems on Nancy Greene Way.
Since 2020, Grouse Mountain , which has a long-term lease on the 485-hectares of Metro Vancouver land it occupies, has been owned by Northland Properties.