THE team behind a Kilvey Hill gondola ride, luge runs and a hilltop restaurant is returning to Swansea from the other side of the world to flesh out their proposals.
It will be New Zealand-based Skyline’s third visit to the city after earmarking Swansea for their first leisure development in Europe.
The proposals remain at an early stage — and Swansea councillors heard that Skyline had appointed new consultants after original costs were higher than expected.
Swansea’s property development manager Huw Mowbray, told the scrutiny panel that the Skyline team was now more comfortable with the anticipated costs.
There is much to do before any planning application is submitted, potentially including negotiations with the Duke of Beaufort.
This is because the duke owns part of the Tawe riverbed and is entitled to a payment — or easement — if the gondola ride crosses the river en route from land near the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks to the top of Kilvey Hill.
Councillor Wendy Fitzgerald, who supports Skyline’s proposals, raised the landowner issue.
She said: “Do we have any further information on that? I suspect he (the duke) is hoping for a substantial remuneration from the council.”
The council has previously paid the Somerset Trust, which helps manage the estates of the Duke of Beaufort, a £281,000 easement to build a pedestrian bridge across the river to the Liberty Stadium.
Mr Mowbray said the trust had originally requested £3 million.
Councillor Chris Holley said he felt such payments were “disgusting” and reckoned the council shouldn’t pay a penny.
Mr Mowbray said the council had not opened discussions with the trust yet, as one option would be for the gondola ride not to cross the river.
Skyline has leisure operations in New Zealand, Canada, Korea and Singapore, and its chief executive Geoff McDonald said in June that he sensed real enthusiasm in Swansea.
He said the Kilvey Hill project would cost “probably north of £50 million” and create 80 to 120 jobs.
“The location in Swansea was good, but what really appealed was the interaction we have had with the council,” he said.
Mr Mowbray said the council would provide services up to the boundary of the site but not all the way to the hilltop.
“I think it is one of the most important things that we’ve got for Swansea to create a tourism offering,” he said.