No room for Fintry Queen at City Park

The new owner of the Fintry Queen will have to look for a new place to dock the iconic vessel after the city said no to a dock in front of City Park.

A detailed proposal prepared by Andy Schwab was reviewed, however, City Council decided against it.

That decision ran contrary to a recent Castanet poll in which 75 per cent of respondents favoured the City Park locations.

“We know a lot of people in Kelowna like the history associated with the Fintry Queen – and so do we – but what we’re deciding on is whether building a dock to accommodate this business is in the best interests of taxpayers and people who want to use this portion of the waterfront,” stated Mayor Walter Gray.

Council decided it wasn't.

Those supporting the Fintry Queen were diligent in their detailed request to build a dock near the old Aquatics area of City Park, said City of Kelowna Property Manager, Ron Forbes.

Discussions were very thorough, added Forbes, but after reviewing all the options, there wasn’t a suitable place on public property to be home base for a passenger boat this big.

"The city appreciated Andy’s cooperation in getting the Fintry Queen moved from the downtown pier and his investment in the moorage facility in Sutherland Bay,” says Forbes.

“We’ve had a good working relationship with Andy and wish him the best in securing a permanent moorage location.”

Schwab, when contacted by Castanet, admitted while he was disappointed in the decision, he says it was one he did anticipate.

"There has been a lot of work that has gone in the downtown and I think the city wants to see that work done before they make a commitment. In all fairness I may have been a bit premature in going at them," says Schwab.

"Work was being done in the park and there was an opportunity. I was keen to get back in business right away but the city has to set their priorities. I have to respect that."

Schwab says at some point in the future he will approach the city again.

In the meantime, Schwab says he will now look elsewhere to find a place to dock the Fintry Queen.

He says he will turn his attention to communities such as West Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon.

In order to get the vessel up and running in time for the 2013 tourist season Schwab will need to get a deal in place fairly quickly.

Schwab has a deal with the city allowing him to moor the Fintry Queen in Sutherland Bay until October of this year.

He says the city has told him they are prepared to extend that agreement if need be.    

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