Weekly Roundup: No Gondola At It Again

Post by Steven Dale

A couple highlights from around the world of Urban Gondolas, Gondola Transit, and Cable Propelled Transit:

  • The Philippine Daily Enquirer reports that the Philippines has (with little notice from the outside world, we might mention) implemented up to 100 ropeway systems throughout the country for agricultural purposes. The systems can carry both farmers and their products throughout the oftentimes difficult Phillippine topography.
  • A Letter to The Editor outlines a case against the proposed Squamish, British Columbia Sea-to-Sky Gondola.
  • German-language news program MoMa Reporter discusses the impact of Rio’s Complexo do Alemao Teleferico (around the 3:00 mark). As always, our German-speaking readers are invited to provide any translations in the comments below.
  • Fox 12 Oregon reports on aerial rescue exercises held for the Portland Aerial Tram. That in itself isn’t nearly as interesting as the fact that the report states that since 2007 the Tram has carried a whopping 6 million passengers. Pretty impressive for a two stop, 1 km long system.
  • And lastly, here’s a good example of a win-at-all-costs strategy that gives grassroots advocacy a bad name: The anti-Burnaby Mountain Gondola team over at No Gondola continues their creative reporting of facts in a recent post titled Burnaby Mountain Gondola Does Not Have Full Support of Local Residents. While the headline itself is correct, it’s highly misleading. Firstly, the survey they are reporting on shows that 47% of residents support the project with 39% opposed. Secondly, what project or program or policy ever has “full support” of local residents? Never happens. This is an incredibly weak argument equivalent to saying steak is a bad meal because not everyone in the world likes to eat beef. For more of No Gondola’s tactics see this post as well as the ugly debate that broke out last month over the term “cherry-picking.”


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Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.


  1. FYI - Citizens Opposed to the Gondola did not write the post title. It was the title of the press release by Kennedy Stewart: http://kennedystewart.ndp.ca/post/majority-of-local-residents-do-not-support-burnaby-mountain-gondola While we agree that the majority of residents don't actually support the gondola, criticizing us for the title of the article is not justified.
  2. But again: There are more people in support of the gondola than are opposed. Granted, there are 14% currently undecided, but to automatically state that means a "majority of residents don't actually support the gondola" is a bit of a stretch - especially when the level of support is 47%. Especially if one were to factor in the margin of error (which we don't know what it is). I understand your need to "spin" the numbers in whatever way is favourable to your cause but - let's be honest here - it's more than a little bit disingenuous, don't you think?
  3. Steven, if I were TransLink I would be very worried about the reception the gondola proposal is getting. The survey area included the university and residential neighbourhood at the top of Burnaby Mountain - the area where one might expect the highest support anywhere for the gondola - and there wasn't even a simple majority in favour. If that had been a referendum on the gondola, it would have failed. The survey response was close to a typical municipal election turnout in Burnaby, so I think the analogy with a referendum is fair. TransLink has a whole lot of work to do if they hope to convince the public of the merits of the gondola. (The survey contacted 5,831 households by telephone, and over 1,000 residents completed the survey.)
  4. As I've said before, I'm no fan of the public consultation process behind this project. I think the referendum angle is apt, but I'm not sure your spin is. Here's my spin: In a referendum you're not given an option to vote "undecided." You vote "yes" or "no." Granted, people could choose to spoil their ballot, but why would they even bother voting then? Using this survey, 47% support the gondola while 39% don't. In our referendum scenario because the "undecideds" are not skewing the numbers one way or the other, either "yes" or "no" will come out on top. As the "yes" side is already up by 8% over the "no" side one can reasonably assume the "yes" side would win in a referendum - all things being equal. Having said that, I agree entirely with you that Translink has some work to do in public consultation and communicating the merits of the gondola.

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