Wednesday, June 29 2022

Skiers and snowboarders line up for chairlift rides at Eaglecrest Ski Area in Juneau on January 17, 2022. A pay raise went into effect for all Eaglecrest employees that day, raising some of the workers the lowest paid above Alaska’s minimum wage. (Mikko Wilson)

Authorities have purchased a gondola in Austria for a ski area owned by the city of Juneau, but questions remain over the installation and long-term plans for the gondola. City officials have expressed interest in working with an Alaska Native company on the project.

The general manager of the Eaglecrest ski area and a city project manager recently visited a ski area in Austria to examine the lift and sign a sale agreement for $1.33 million, Empire Juneau reported. .

Deputy City Manager Robert Barr said the city is soliciting bids from transportation companies to bring the gondola to Juneau.

Eaglecrest said its executives are looking for ways to expand summer operations and create opportunities for a more sustainable year-round model. The ski area, on its website, said it would work with planners, engineers and contractors on the best location for the new infrastructure. Eaglecrest is on Douglas Island.

Last week, city leaders authorized City Manager Rorie Watt to negotiate a deal with Goldbelt Inc., an Alaska Native company that operates a streetcar near downtown Juneau and owns land near Eaglecrest.

Watt, in a memo to the City Assembly, said Goldbelt had expressed interest in providing funding of up to $10 million for the installation of the gondola and “other related improvements. This is, indeed, a remarkable turn of events.

“The rough proposition is that Goldbelt would provide funding in return for a contractual agreement to receive a percentage of summer ridership on the gondola until an appropriate return is secured. A contractual arrangement of this nature would require authorization by order,” Watt wrote.

Earlier this year, the Assembly approved up to $2 million for the purchase of the gondola, but some members expressed reservations, citing uncertainty about the public interest in the project and the costs to beyond the purchase, including approximately $4.5 million for installation.

Watt noted that while Eaglecrest’s board has expressed a desire for Eaglecrest to “retain control of all operations,” he said he was “encouraged by the openness of Goldbelt, and I support firmly the motion to enter into negotiations”.

[Sign up for Alaska Public Media’s daily newsletter to get our top stories delivered to your inbox.]

Previous

Arizona education officials slammed for confusing black DJ during fundraiser for white man at BLACKFACE

Next

Rep. Stefanik Backs New Bill Protecting Gun Rights in Bankruptcy Situations | WWTI

Check Also