“Neu Rellerli” is picking up pace

Tue, 29. Dec. 2020

The Friends of the Rellerli radiate confidence: The planning approval procedure for a new Rellerli cable car has begun. With a smooth procedure and no objections, the cable car could start operating at the end of 2023.

The Friends of the Rellerli radiate confidence: The planning approval procedure for a new Rellerli cable car has begun. With a smooth procedure and no objections, the cable car could start operating at the end of 2023.

His aim is to strike a softer note, emphasised Heinz Welten after his election as president of the Friends of the Rellerli Association a good year ago. Despite having over 1000 members, the Friends were perceived as troublemakers, says Welten. He and Peter Ryter had decided to change tactics last year.

The somewhat quieter tones seem to be bearing fruit. The project for a new Rellerli cable car is taking shape. The first inspections with various cantonal offices have recently taken place, and more are still to come. The association has asked the municipal council for a statement, and there has been some rapprochement. The discussions were constructive, confirms president of the municipality Toni von Grünigen.

Valley and mountain stations can be used
For the first time in the club’s history, they were also able to establish contacts with the owner of the valley and mountain station, Mountain View. “The aim was to remove prejudices,” explains Welten. The talks with Mountain View were open and fair, he says. The greatest success of the concluding year has been the written commitment from Mountain View that the existing valley and mountain station could be used for the new cable car. The specific conditions remain to be seen, the contractual agreement still has to be worked out.

No curve
The Rellerli cable car is well-known for its curve. The new layout will have to do without it and will run in a direct line from the valley station to the top station. Project manager is Raphael Reinle from Garaventa, an experienced cable car specialist. “He knows the Rellerli well. He has already worked out the first project for our association in 2018”, explains Welten. He further specifies that Mountain View is not responsible for the cable car, but the Friends of the Rellerli Association.

Finances black box yet
The costs for the plan approval amount to between CHF 400,000 and 500,000. The financial requirements for the new cable car are still open. For the first project in 2018, the figure was said to be CHF 10 to 12m. Welten cannot give a specific number for the new project but assumes that it be of the same order of magnitude. Only when “Neu Rellerli” gets the green light will the association tackle the corporate form and financing.

The summer mountain
While the old normal cannot be expected to return after corona, Welten deems it important to use the potential of the Rellerli, “the mountain with the most beautiful panorama in the destination of Gstaad, in a sustainable and clever way.” The Rellerli will be explicitly positioned as a summer mountain in the future. It will hardly be possible to ski in the same way as before. “But it is a beautiful hiking area – in summer and in winter.”

“Our attitude is basically still the same”, emphasise tourism director Flurin Riedi and Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus president Oliver Waser. “We want to achieve a sustainable development of the Rellerli–Sparenmoos–Jaun area, with nature-oriented tourism that includes agriculture and Alpine farming and active outdoor experiences throughout the year. Hiking and biking in summer and winter hiking, snowshoeing and ski touring in winter.”

Opening at end of 2023
The whole planning process takes a lot of time, emphasises Welten. “If all the spatial planning and licensing steps can be completed within the usual deadlines and no objections hinder the project, it can be assumed that the new cable car to the Rellerli can be reopened in December 2023,” writes project manager Raphael Reinle.

BASED ON AVS/ANITA MOSER

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