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Edmonton company pitching 25 million dollar gondola project connecting Capstone with Bower Ponds


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News release from Prairie Sky Gondola

Prairie Sky Gondola Bringing Unique Gondola Opportunity to Red Deer

Red Deer set to embrace trailblazing technology and a one-of-a-kind community tourism attraction in central Alberta

Prairie Sky Gondola announced today its intention to build an urban ropeway in Red Deer.

“Some cities don’t know how to react to unique ideas. Red Deer clearly is not one of those cities.” remarked Prairie Sky Gondola President Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson. “Red Deer is arguably one of the best communities in Alberta to invest in today. We are excited to have gotten to this moment but we are also inspired by the work that’s ahead of us. Talking about ideas is one thing. Doing them is another. And, the doing part is our business.”

Prairie Sky Gondola brought forward an unsolicited proposal to The City of Red Deer eight months ago and has been working with The City to assess and plan for the project. A Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, will be signed this Spring, initiating the process to collaboratively undertake additional technical and commercial due diligence.

This ropeway, with an investment valued at over $25M, will be located in an inventive community development called Capstone. Connecting the river to Red Deer, Capstone’s ambition is to create something different—something vibrant, energetic, and inquisitive for socially engaged and physically active Albertans wanting to live within hours of Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta’s two largest cities.

“The City’s vision, investment, and work on Capstone served as a critical catalyst for Prairie Sky Gondola’s decision to move forward as they reviewed this site,” announced Tara Lodewyk, Interim City Manager. “This, matched with the City’s openness and willingness to welcome experienced, private investment, have culminated to provide this unique proposed opportunity in Red Deer.”

The proposed ropeway is a 350 meter, two station pulse gondola over the Red Deer River connecting Capstone to Bower Ponds recreation area. Flying over the Red Deer River, residents and visitors alike will get stunning views all day long, easily accessing all that downtown Red Deer and Bower Ponds has to offer. The Capstone Station will include dining and other experiential elements. The stations will enhance access to communities while seamlessly integrating within the landscapes of both sides of the river.

“The concept is to make the two stations as opposite as possible. What we have proposed is not necessarily intuitive,” commented Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson. “Capstone Station is sweeping and bold. Bower Ponds Station wants to be invisible. The development concept fires up the City’s vision while complementing the values of the community.’ And Mayor Ken Johnston agrees, “This project will highlight the natural beauty in our community while creating an attraction and destination in the heart of Capstone. The gondola will be an added tourism destination, the success of which will extend to local businesses and inspire further development.”

Keep your eyes open for future project details, timelines, and an upcoming naming competition!

About Prairie Sky Gondola
Prairie Sky Gondola Inc. is an urban ropeway developer based in Edmonton, Alberta. Prairie Sky is actively pursuing opportunities to advance the use of modern ropeway technology to create value for growing communities in Canada.

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Canada under pressure to produce more food, protect agricultural land: report

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WestJet to wind down budget airline Swoop, integrate it into main operation

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WestJet will wind down its Swoop subsidiary by late October as it integrates the budget carrier’s operations into its main banner, the airline said Friday.

The move comes after pilots with the two airlines ratified a new collective agreement that brings them onto a level pay scale.

WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech said he mulled keeping Swoop separate, but that higher wages for its flight crews made the option less realistic.

“We were prepared for both possible outcomes, and then decided that, provided the overall didn’t make sense, we’re actually ready to integrate Swoop into the mainline business,” von Hoensbroech said in a phone interview from WestJet’s Calgary headquarters.

Each trip by planes in the carrier’s 180-plus fleet will offer a portion of ultra-low-cost fares by Oct. 29, the day after Swoop ceases to fly, he said.

“We are actually broadening our ultra-low-cost reach to a much, much broader network than we could have ever covered with Swoop. So therefore we actually see this as an advantage and as an increased footprint for the ultra-low-cost offering in Canada.”

Pilots of WestJet and Swoop secured a 24 per cent hour pay bump over four years under a deal agreed on tentatively last month that narrowly averted a strike.

Bargaining came down to the wire, with WestJet cancelling more than 230 flights in preparation for job action before a deal was reached hours ahead of the strike deadline on May 19.

Competition for budget airfares has grown in recent years, particularly in Western Canada, as upstarts Flair Airlines and Lynx Air challenged Swoop for market share on key routes.

“The market has become pretty competitive,” von Hoensbroech said, but insisted Swoop’s integration strengthens its grip on discount offerings, rather than marking a retreat.

The company said no layoffs are expected from the integration, with all Swoop employees slated to move to the mainline.

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