Queen has new suitor

The Fintry Queen could begin touring passengers between Kelowna and Penticton as early as next summer.

The iconic vessel, which was towed from downtown Kelowna to Sutherland Bay Thursday morning, is expected to be purchased by businessman Doug Mayzes.

Mayzes will become the new owner of the Fintry Queen once all the paperwork is complete.

He expects that process to be finalized sometime next week.

"It's such a complicated process - it's not like a regular real estate deal. You have the court, you have the City of Kelowna and that was really my only frustration," says Mayzes.

"It wasn't anyone's fault. With the city being a public body as far as decision making it just takes some time."

Mayzes says Mayor Walter Gray and Civic Properties Manager Ron Forbes have been very cooperative throughout the entire process.

Mayzes, who built and launched the sidewheeler 'Spirit of Kelowna' earlier this summer, says he'll pay $75,000 for the boat.

"I am the sole purchaser, but I do sort of have partners and a management team already in place. We haven't worked out those logistics yet."

The City of Kelowna will also waive about $80,000 in back moorage fees racked up by the previous owners.

As for his plans for the Fintry Queen, Mayzes says he hopes to operate it out of both Kelowna and Penticton.

"I'm hoping to do a route between Kelowna and Penticton and service both cities in the ideal world because I do think it's capable of serving both cities for private charters and major events," says Mayzes.

"It's a very fast vessel. It does almost 25km an hour and it is very economical."

Mayzes says he can run the Fintry Queen from Kelowna to Penticton cheaper than a houseboat.

As for moorage space, Mayzes says he is open to mooring the vessel in either Kelowna or Penticton.

"Ideally, I'd like to see moorage in both cities obviously for facilitating the picking up of passengers at both ends. That's my goal right now in working with both the City of Kelowna and Penticton."

Mayzes would like to pick up passengers near the SS Sicamous in Penticton and City Park in Kelowna.

The new captain also has plans to convert the Fintry Queen into a real paddlewheeler, possibly in time for the 2014 season.

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