He wanted to build a railroad from Elm to LAX
The Federal Council has shattered the dream of the Gurtner cable car as the “king of the mountains”.
Reto Gartner, master of the Flims-Laax-Falera ski area, has a vision for a cable car connecting his ski area to Glarnerland. But the Federal Council thwarts his plan.
Peter Gertner, the mountain king of Lax Gr, wants to expand his kingdom.
He has been dubbed the “Alpine Visionary” or “Mountain King” of Lax: Reto Gartner (67), chairman of the Weiss Arena Group, which operates the Flims-Lax-Falera ski area.
One of his dreams is to expand his kingdom and settle in Glenarland. In 2019 Gartner presented their idea to build a cable car from Elm GL to Vorab Glacier and from there to Lax GR. Tourists from Zurich will come to the ski area very quickly. In addition, it will be a huge opportunity for the “hungry Glarner Cernftal”, the entrepreneur was convinced.
The Federal Council rejected the plan
But the dream cannot become reality. Despite its royal family name, Gartner cannot decide on its own what gets done and what doesn’t. Civil servants have an important role to play in this regard. And now the highest political authority intervened: the Federal Council.
He rejected Gartner’s plans. The fact that the government is also concerned about this is linked to the fact that the composition plans of the cantons must be submitted to the Federal Council for approval. On Wednesday, he approved the addition of Glarner’s infrastructure plan, which specifically addresses planned transport and tourism projects.
However, the government expressed its objection on several points. The idea of a mountain railway from Elm to the Vorab glacier, among others. The Federal Council is clear: From a federal point of view, there are “great concerns” about the approval of the cable car. The federal government strongly advises girls not to pursue this project.
The federal government could have a say in it because it would have to approve the railways. But from the officials’ perspective, this idea violates federal law. High mountains and glaciers can only develop if they are “in the area of a large tourist resort and are above average”, specifies the Federal Office for Spatial Development in a report. Elm is not such a big tourist destination, and the mountain side, accessible by cable car, is currently still completely devoid of infrastructure.
UNESCO heritage in danger
In addition, according to the composition plan, a landscape of regional importance will be built. Nearby is the UNESCO World Heritage “Tectonic Arena Sardona”. The Federal Office for the Environment has warned that the project could be removed from the UNESCO list if it is implemented as planned.
Concerns have also been expressed in the canton of Glarus. Additional large-scale traffic is expected in the valley.
Gartner’s cable car project is doomed. But the “king of the mountains” already has a plan B up his sleeve: instead of going over the Vorab glacier, the cable car should go over the Tchinglenalp. It is a “project of the century”, as Gertner announced “Linth-Zeitung” in July. But: “Everyone has to agree first.” (LHA)