Fintry Queen wading back to familiar waters

A familiar ship is hoping to find a new home in Okanagan Lake, docking in Penticton.

The Fintry Queen docked at its former berth at the foot of Bernard Avenue in Kelowna.

The Fintry Queen docked at its former berth at the foot of Bernard Avenue in Kelowna.

A familiar ship is hoping to find a new home in Okanagan Lake.

The Fintry Queen, a 326 passenger ship which resides on Okanagan Lake, has received a tax credit allocations from the B.C. Investment Program.

Investors are now able to receive up to a 30 per cent B.C. tax credit, to a maximum of $60,000 on their 2014 tax returns if they sign up before the March 1 deadline.

“The Fintry Queen has finally met all the EBC criteria,” Andy Schwab, president of Okanagan Lake Boat Company Inc., who purchased the vessel out of receivership in 2012, said in a press release. “But we are quickly running out of time for the 2014 program which expires March 1.”

The B.C. Investment Program, developed by the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, encourages investment in manufacturing, destination tourism, digital media, proprietary technologies and community diversification outside of the lower mainland and capital region.

“The plan is to raise $600,000 to renovate the ship and build the dock in Penticton,” Schwab said. “We’ve already started on the environmental permits to coincide with the dock design and engineering. With a little luck, we’ll be painting, building docks and sailing to Penticton before the end of the year.”

When he first appeared before Penticton city council in November 2013, he estimated  28,000 passengers in the first year of operations, operating over a three-month period, and escalating to eventually operating the boat almost year round. Schwab also said bringing the boat to Penticton could mean anywhere from 40 to 60 jobs and a $500,000 economic impact for the city.

Potential investors can purchase equity shares of the ship valued at $1 per share, to a maximum of 49 per cent of total shares. Investors will be required to hold those shares for a minimum of five years.

The company will redeem the shares on the fifth anniversary of the investment at a $2 per share value. The investment combined with the tax credit will total a 23 per cent return of investment.

The original Okanagan Lake Boat Company was created in Naramata in 1897. Schwab hopes for a future of public transportation on Okanagan Lake, linking different communities, parks, wineries and resorts along the shore.

“Jump aboard, take a short cruise to a resort, park or winery, catch it again in the afternoon or evening for an easy day’s trip home,” Schwab said.

The Fintry Queen averaged 28,000 passengers a summer over a 10 year period from 1990 to 2000.

For more information contact Andy Schwab at 778-477-5783

Penticton Western News

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