Kevin Thomson isn’t giving up on making the Lions Gate Bridge a tourist attraction for adventure-seekers.
The Vancouver-to-Whistler Gran Fondo co-founder is the entrepreneur behind Legendworthy Quest Inc., which proposed charging tourists $250-a-pop to climb the inside of one of the 1938-built bridge’s iconic towers.
After going through more than two years of bureaucratic hoops, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure issued a notice of intent last February to give Legendworthy Quest a two-year trial period. Another company responded, proposing to do the same. Then the provincial election happened.
Since July 18, the Lions Gate Bridge is under NDP management. On Nov. 19, a letter from assistant deputy minister Kevin Richter said the deal was off. “After much review, discussion and briefing, the ministry has decided not to pursue the commercialization of any public structures with any vendor.”
“When they told me they wouldn’t be able to support it anymore, they told me it was due to a new mandate at the government, which led me to ask the obvious question, well what was the previous mandate that made it possible?” Thomson told theBreaker. “There is no mandate to either use or not use public infrastrucutre for commerical operations.”
In Question Period on Nov. 27, Jordan Sturdy and Jane Thornthwaite, two of the three North Shore BC Liberal MLAs, challenged NDP Transportation Minister Claire Trevena.
“This was an unsolicited bid,” Trevena said. “Somebody came forward to talk to the ministry about that. The ministry wanted to know a little bit more about it but was not going to direct-award any contract on this. After that, there was discussion about whether such endeavours should go ahead. It was decided that we are not going to be commercializing our bridges or highways for commercial response.”
Thomson said the Lions Gate Bridge Climb is “stalled at political will” and is encouraging supporters to sign-up on his website.
“[The Ministry is] struggling and they don’t want to take on something that is confusing with probably not as big enough of a reward. It’s a small project, it’s a fun and exciting project, I think it would be wildly successful, but it’s not a big mega-win,” he said.
“My only recourse at this point is to go to the people of B.C. and say what do you guys think? If we get enough people interested to make a noise that the government would listen to, maybe they will reconsider their unsual position. If that doesn’t work, we wait until the next election.”
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