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Cheam First Nation buys golf course, but plans for gondola remain in limbo – BC

A Lower Mainland First Nation is taking another step in its plans to develop a new tourist destination in the Fraser Valley.

But the nation is facing competition from a second, larger proposal — and both are still awaiting word from the provincial government.

The Cheam First Nation has purchased the Bridal Veil Golf Course at the base of Mount Cheam.

Click to play video: 'Group eyes Fraser Valley for gondola and major ski resort at Bridal Falls'

Group eyes Fraser Valley for gondola and major ski resort at Bridal Falls

It’s part of a bigger dream that could one day see the land used as the base of a sightseeing gondola.

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“A lot of our people struggle, so we’re working to build a future that creates in-generational wealth,” Cheam First Nation Chief Darwin Douglas told GLobal News.

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While the property sale only went through a few weeks ago, the gondola project has been in the works for years, modeled on the Sea-to-Sky attraction just outside Squamish.

But the nation isn’t the only one vying to build in the same area around Bridal Falls — another company is looking to develop an entire ski resort.

“We’re much more than the Sea-to-Sky Gondola, we’re actually going to be two sightseeing gondolas, two alpine villages and an ultimate destination ski resort, an all-seasons resort that can service — you know, in theory — up to a million people a year,” Robert Wilson, president of Bridal Veil Mountain Resort told Global News in a 2021 interview.

The resort team has said it plans to develop owner-partnerships with communities within the Sto:lo Nation.

The gondola project started in 2016, while the resort proposal went public in 2021.

It’s up to the province to pick one, but there hasn’t been any progress in about three years.

Click to play video: 'Greener pastures: Cheam Mountain Golf Course success'

Greener pastures: Cheam Mountain Golf Course success

“The two applications have been undergoing separate reviews,” the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport said in a statement.

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“Both are at the preliminary stages … it’s too early to provide a timeline for when a decision will be made.”

Douglas said the uncertainty has been difficult for the nation.

“It’s been a very frustrating bureaucratic process with the provincial government, we are meeting with them in the next couple of weeks to discuss this,” he said.

The president of the ski resort team told Global News the purchase of the golf course does not impact the Bridal Veil Mountain Resort project in any way — meaning the future of these mountains is still in limbo.

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