Sightseeing spiral proposed for Malahat Summit
The partners in the proposal hope to begin construction in the fall, with a proposed opening in June 2020. (A.Spire by Nature)
A Vancouver Island First Nation is partnering with a tourism attraction company in an effort to build a towering sightseeing lookout on the South Island.
The proposed Malahat Skywalk would consist of a 650-metre-long elevated wooden platform through an arbutus forest leading to a 40-metre-high spiral ramp up to a sightseeing platform overlooking the Finlayson Arm of the Saanich Inlet.
The site proposed for the skywalk is just north of the Malahat Summit, on the traditional territory of the Malahat Nation.
“The Malahat Skywalk is a project that our Nation is proud to partner on,” said Malahat councillor George Harry Jr. in a media release Wednesday.
“Not only is it a tourism experience that speaks to sustainability and the connection to our land, but it will also provide opportunities for many generations of the Malahat Nation to come. We look forward to telling the stories of our people and welcoming the visitors to our community through the Malahat Skywalk experience.”
The proposal is a partnership between the Malahat Nation and A.Spire by Nature, the tourism company behind the Sea to Sky Gondola near Squamish.
"It gives you great views to the south and to the north and back to Mount Baker and the Gulf Islands," Trevor Dunn, a principal at A.Spire by Nature, told CTV News Wednesday.
"It's something we've seen in other places, Europe primarily, and we think it's the perfect infrastructure that allows the project to be light on the land and give people an accessible experience in nature."
His partner, principal David Greenfield, emphasized the proposal's potential cultural benefit to the area.
“The Malahat Skywalk will offer opportunities for locals and visitors alike to immerse themselves in local storytelling, cultural celebration and natural interpretive education as well as the stunning natural landscape and vistas of the Cowichan Valley and Finlayson Arm.”
A rezoning application for the skywalk has been submitted to the Cowichan Valley Regional District and a management plan has been sent to the B.C. government, according to the company.
The plan also has the support of Victoria tourism marketer Destination Greater Victoria.
“We see this new attraction being very popular to individual travellers, cruise visitors, tour operators and to meetings and incentive groups,” said Destination Greater Victoria president and CEO Paul Nursey.
“Destination Greater Victoria works very closely with our partners at Tourism Cowichan Society and other partners to promote the Pacific Marine Circle Route with an ambition to become one of the leading touring routes in the world, this major new attraction will help to further cement this ambition.”
The partners in the proposal hope to begin construction in the fall, with a proposed opening in June 2020.
"The project will generate about 100 jobs during the construction process and then up to 50 jobs while it's in operation," said Dunn.