May 1, 2018 9:16 pm

Idea to have Edmontonians commute by gondola takes another stride as it reaches for the sky

WATCH ABOVE: While this idea is still a ways away from becoming reality, the urban gondola project took a giant leap forward at Monday’s Edmonton Transit Advisory Board Committee meeting. Nancy Carlson explains.

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Less than two months after the idea won a high-profile contest in Alberta’s capital, the notion that Edmontonians could begin using gondolas as a form of public transit is not only not grounded, it continues to soar.

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“Last night, we were presenting to the Edmonton Transit System Advisory Board (ETSAB), along with Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson of the Edmonton Project,” said Amber Poliquin, who along with her husband Gary, came up with the idea to use gondolas to help people cross the city’s river valley. “We were just sharing with them a little bit of our vision for the gondola and afterwards, Vlad (Slavov), who is one of the members of the ETSAB, presented his piece where they basically created a proposal of what a gondola would look like here in Edmonton, and that was presented and was accepted.

“It means that the transit advisory committee thinks that it would work well with our existing forms of transit,” she said on Tuesday, adding she thinks it’s “feasible in terms of economics.”

“It’s a good buy for our city.”

The gondola proposal will now move forward to the Urban Planning Committee where city councillors will look more closely at it and decide if it should continue to advance.

The “Gondola over the North Saskatchewan” idea was the brainchild of the Poliquins, who run the local tourism company Big E Tours. In March, the concept was selected as the winner of The Edmonton Project: a contest asking average people to come up with an idea that is uniquely Edmontonian.

READ MORE: Gondola over the North Saskatchewan River wins the Edmonton Project contest

Watch below: On March 7, 2018, Gary and Amber Poliquin appeared on Global News to discuss their idea to have a gondola transport Edmontonians across the river valley.

The initial concept envisioned the gondola having stations at three different locations: the Shaw Conference Centre on Jasper Avenue, near RE/MAX Field in the river valley, and at the parking lot across from the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market on Gateway Boulevard, north of Whyte Avenue.

The Poliquins foresee transit users getting onto the gondolas with their Edmonton Transit Service passes.

“Right from the get-go, we’ve thought having less than a 10-minute commute from Whyte Avenue to downtown would be amazing,” Amber Poliquin said. “It’s just an amazing way to see the river valley.

“What a great way to commute every day.”

While there’s no guarantee the gondola idea will be adopted by politicians at city hall, Amber Poliquin remains optimistic about its possibilities.

“It’s one step closer to being a yes,” she said. “We’re really hopeful that it’s going to move forward.”

Watch below: On March 13, 2018, Vinesh Pratap reported on how the idea to use a gondola to transport Edmontonians was being received.

-With files from Karen Bartko

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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