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6 March, 2019

Malahat Skywalk Announced

A.Spire by Nature, a new company led by two of the founding partners in the successful Sea to Sky Gondola, has announced plans to bring a world-class tourism experience to Southern Vancouver Island.

The proposed Malahat Skywalk is a 650m elevated wooden pathway through an Arbutus forest leading to a gentle accessible spiral ramp climbing up to a 40m high sightseeing lookout where visitors will witness magnificent views of the Finlayson Arm and distant coastal mountains.

Located 30 minutes from Victoria, just north of the Malahat Summit, the proposed attraction is situated on the traditional territory of the Malahat Nation. The project is a partnership between A.Spire by Nature and the Malahat Nation, combining nature-based tourism with a compelling cultural tourism experience.

“Inspired by our exploration of elevated forest walks in Europe, we want to bring the concept of an accessible, environmentally sound and culturally significant tourism experience to Vancouver Island,” said A.Spire by Nature Principal, David Greenfield. “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.”

Tourism is a main economic driver for Vancouver Island with record-breaking numbers reported for visitation in the past three years. The Malahat Skywalk will be a key piece of tourism infrastructure and a draw for the more than 4,300,000 yearly visitors to Victoria, the 600,000 yearly visitors to nearby Goldstream Provincial Park and the many island tourists that travel along the Malahat Drive.

“The Malahat Skywalk is a project that our Nation is proud to partner on. 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,” said Councillor, George Harry Jr. “We look forward to telling the stories of our people and welcoming the visitors to our community through the Malahat Skywalk experience.”

The Malahat Skywalk rezoning application has been submitted to the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) and the Management plan has been submitted to the Provincial Government. The goal is to start construction in the fall with a proposed opening in June of 2020. The proponents are actively engaging with the local community and key stakeholders to inform and enhance the project through the design process.

"As the Destination Marketing Organization focused on the South Island, we are delighted to see business partnerships with indigenous communities to support economic development. We see this new attraction being very popular to individual travellers, cruise visitors, tour operators and to meetings and incentive groups. 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," said Paul Nursey, Destination Greater Victoria President & CEO.