THE Eagle cable car ride at Arthurs Seat has been placed in the hands of administrators.
The estimated $20 million ride that started carrying passengers in December 2016 has now ground to a halt.
Lisa Macnamara, senior manager – corporate affairs at Pricewaterhouse Coopers said the closure was due to “the government’s advice on COVID-19, which coincided with the appointment of the voluntary administrators [Craig Crosbie and Robert Ditrich] the following day [23 March]”.
“Due to the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 situation, a potential reopening date cannot be provided at this stage.”
Ms Macnamara said all full time Eagle employees would be kept on to “ensure the site remains well maintained and in a safe condition”.
“Efforts to secure long term funding will commence immediately, so that Arthurs Seat Eagle can be quickly brought back into service at the appropriate time.”
Ms McNamara said a creditors’ meeting was scheduled for 2 April.
Documents released by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) say the appointment of administrators was referred to it on 17 March by Joanne Hardwick of Piper Alderman.
The Eagle and its 24 Swiss made upmarket gondolas replaced the original Arthurs Seat chairlift which opened in December 1960 and closed in 2006 after several safety incidents and mechanical problems.
Construction of the Eagle followed objections by nearby residents, appeals to the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal and saw the state government revoke Mornington Peninsula Shire’s authority to oversee the project.
“There is no better way to communicate the scope of this gondola journey than to give it a name that its riders can truly connect with,” Arthurs Seat Skylift CEO Hans Brugman said before the Eagle’s launch in 2016.
“The Eagle name invokes how our guests will feel as they smoothly soar over the state ark, getting a bird’s eye view of the bay and the peninsula, right across to the city and further afield.”
Mr Brugman said the Eagle would create more than 60 new jobs, including ticket sellers, cafe staff and lift attendants.