Fintry Queen still eyeing city

Residents of Penticton can expect to see and hear a lot more about the Fintry Queen this summer.

The owner of the historic passenger vessel currently moored near Vernon is trying to create a new home for the ship in Penticton.

Andy Schwab is working to resurrect a plan approved by the City of Penticton in 2014 that would see the ship moored near the Kiwanis Walking Pier, offering trips to Naramata and Summerland.

“It could be great for the city… the KVR Railway in Summerland does quite well, and I think we could do even better,” he said.

Schwab said the 2014 plan fell apart after his business partner died and financing collapsed. This time, he is dealing with apprehension within city hall in the wake of the Skaha Lake waterslide debacle.

“The city told me, really not to bother until they had their parks plan complete,” he said.

The second draft of the City of Penticton’s parks master plan was published nine months ago, frustrating Schwab, who wants to get the process started.

Under the draft parks plan, Schwab said he will need to present his plan to a committee, seek public feedback, and have council ultimately sign off on everything. So far, it appears the city isn’t interested in even getting the ball rolling until the plan is finalized later this year.

“The waterfront is like everyone’s backyard,” he said. “We are very conscious that we are a private business using public land, so I’m looking at changing how the business is structured.”

Schwab said they are in talks with lawyers to see if he can transition the business to a society, and allow people to “buy a share” of the boat for riding privileges.

At the same time, Schwab says he will be hitting the streets of Penticton to drum up support for the Fintry Queen. He’s starting by speaking at Penticton-Okanagan Rotary's meeting next week.

“We are going to make a couple runs down there this summer and show it off, set up at the farmers markets, and really show the city we have the support.”

He said getting the boat to the South Okanagan, so Penticton residents can see the historic ship with their own eyes, is a part of winning over the city.

Schwab has applied for a temporary moorage location off of Kickininee Provincial Park, south of Summerland, which would also be used when the ship would have to be moved away from Penticton for special events. Talks are underway with BC Parks, who are also apprehensive about the plan, but Schwab is pushing onwards.

The Fintry Queen has been homeless since Sept. 2016 when the City of Kelowna kicked it out of Sutherland Bay.


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