Tourist attraction gondola back for second reading at RDNO

Gondola back at RDNO

The Okanagan Gondola project is back before Regional District of North Okanagan directors.

The multimillion-dollar attraction would see a scenic gondola ride built above Highway 97 south of Vernon, overlooking Kalamalka Lake.

It would incorporate various viewing stations, tourist amenities, shops and restaurants, along with connections to hiking trails, the Okanagan Rail Trail and Predator Ridge.

Phase 1 of the proposed development by Ridge North America, builders of the Golden Skybridge, is estimated at $50 million.

Second reading of rezoning changes is before the RDNO board this afternoon.

The district is awaiting a traffic impact study before scheduling a public hearing.

The City of Vernon is recommending a restrictive covenant "to eliminate future residential/tourist residential (including hotels, resort) development on the subject property," a referral to RDNO states.

Water supply could be an issue, with a hydrological study finding conditions on the site "marginally feasible," requiring multiple wells.

The Kelowna-based developers say the project could create as many as 200 jobs, along with $25 million in tax revenues over five years and $100 million in tourism spending.

The property is located on the west side of Highway 97 near the intersection with Bailey Road, in RDNO Electoral Area B and partially within the Agricultural Land Reserve.

"If approved, the applicant proposes to develop the property for a variety of uses including a gondola, ziplines, restaurants, retail sales, outdoor light show area, wedding and event venues, tree forts, playground, plaza, amphitheatre, mountain biking and walking trails, agricultural activities, parking and on-site access routes," and RDNO report states.

The RDNO parks department expressed some concern over odours from the nearby regional composting facility on the Commonage lands.

The Department of National Defence notes that the project area does not coincide with any known unexploded ordnance areas. The Commonage was used for military training during the Second World War.

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