Kelowna city council has deep-sixed the latest bid by the owner of the Fintry Queen to have the once popular tourist boat returned to the downtown lakeshore.
On Monday, council met to discuss owner Andy Schwab’s latest proposal, a plan Mayor Colin Basran described as being the same as the one rejected in 2012 when the Fintry Queen was pushed out of its traditional moorage off Kerry Park at the foot of Bernard Avenue.
Council unanimously rejected Schwab’s proposal.
For the last three years, the former car ferry turned faux stern wheeler has sat, moored in the middle of Sutherland Bay off the city’s North End.
Schwab has been welcomed to move the boat to Penticton by the council there but told the Capital News last week he has not been able to raise the approximately $500,000 he need to moor it and operate it at the south end of the lake.
On Monday, prior to council’s decision, Basran expressed his opposition to a return of the Fintry Queen saying the downtown lakeshore has now been redeveloped with a walking pier and commercial marina so there’ no place for it. He added he feels it’s operation is not viable business option and said in his mind, the boat has no heritage value.
“I don’t see the value in returning it to our city,” said Basran.
Despite that, he wished Schwab well in his efforts to relocate the Fintry Queen elsewhere.
Schwab, who once operated the ship here and who bought it through a court-ordered sale three years ago, wanted to moor it off the point in City Park opposite the children’s water park.
When it was forced out, the then owners, who were based in Calgary, owned the city more than $100,000 in back moorage fees. Basran said Schwab currently owes the city $13,000 in moorage fees for docking the boat in Sutherland Bay.
Following the vote, the mayor said the new master plan for City Park does not contemplate having a vessel as large as the Fintry Queen moored off its shores and shows the area where Schwab wanted to moor the vessel as being set aside as a family swimming area.
Schwab had said as part of his plan, he was willing to pay approximately $350,000 to build a removable dock that would, in his words, leave no footprint on the park when it was not there in the winter months. At those times, he said he would moor the boat offshore, either near Bear Creek on the west side of Okanagan Lake or near Summerland.
But Basran countered by saying any use of City Park would create a level of liability for the city.
Prior to his last-ditch appeal to Kelonwa council, Schwab said if it failed he could be forced to dismantle the Fintry Queen and sell the parts.
Despite Schwab feeling that he had some support for his plan on council it was clear Monday he was wrong given that the vote to reject his proposal was unanimous.