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Bungee proposals may see people jumping off bridges



Referral groups assessing applications for commercial tenures in the Sea to Sky Corridor will be bouncing around a host of ideas over the next few weeks, including two separate proposals for bungee jump facilties near Whistler.

More than six years after airing its first bungee proposal, Whistler Bungee Inc. has once again cast its iron into the fire with an application to build a bridge across the Cheakamus River for the purpose of offering 180-190 foot commercial jumps.

The bridge would also provide public pedestrian access for hikers and mountain bikers wanting to reach trails on the other side of the river.

The application for commercial tenure has been made by company owners Chris Rollett from Vancouver and Californian Michael Krieger, and is currently before the British Columbia Assets and Lands Corporation. BCAL has been seeking public comment on it through newspaper advertisements.

Whistler Bungee consultant, Don van der Horst, says the current application differs significantly from what was first put before the municipality in 1994. The site location, some 15 kilometres south of the village off Highway 99, has remained the same, but other aspects are significantly different, he says.

"The original proposal comprised a platform fixed to the edge of the west side of the canyon wall that had the single function of being a jumping facility," he explains. "What we are looking at now is a multi-use bridge that will add value in terms of access to a network of existing and proposed trails."

van der Horst says the full suspension bridge will cost around $300,000 to build and will be freely available to the public at all times. A new parking area proposed near the Cal-cheak recreation site off the Callaghan East Forest Road would also be available to the public, he adds.

Another bridge-jump business aims to set up shop over Callaghan Creek in the Callaghan Valley. The Nanaimo-based Ranier Water Company, which currently offers commercial jumps in the Nanaimo River Canyon under the operating name, The Bungy Zone, applied more than a year ago. The proposal is one of 53 commercial recreation tenure applications currently before BCAL. Bungy Zone founder and now acting consultant, John Brown, says the proposed 150 foot jump has met some resistance from the municipality but he is working through the process.

"We have to provide an environmental impact report involving various government agencies and get approval from the Squamish Indian band that has a claim in the Callaghan," he says. "It’s pretty mind boggling, the number of obstacles you have to get around."

Brown believes gaining First Nations backing will be the hardest step, because "it’s so difficult to organize meetings with them and then they don’t get back to you when they say they will."

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