The Fintry Queen sailed to it’s new home in Sutherland Bay Thursday morning.
After a last-minute deal was reached late Wednesday afternoon with Kelowna—two days before the city’s latest extension for removing it was set to expire, the boat’s owner had the vessel towed to its new, off-shore home north of the Tolko mill.
Kelowna property manager Ron Forbes said the Fintry Queen, a long-time tourist attraction on Okanagan Lake, had to move so work could start on the city’s plan for a new public pier and marina at the foot of Queen’sway.
He said as part of the deal made with the boat’s owner, Andy Schwab, the city will not get the $79,869 it is owed for past moorage.
Forbes said the deal required Schwab to look after docking, insurance and security of the Fintry Queen at its new home, 200 feet off shore in Sutherland Bay.
If the city had not made a deal with Schwab, it would have had to go to court to be allowed to remove the vessel itself and would have had to pay the costs Schwab now has to pay. That amount, said Forbes, would have been more than the city was owed.
“There is a sense of relief it is gone,” said Forbes, but he said he wished Schwab well in any future endeavour with the Fintry Queen.
(The boat) does have sentimental value to a lot of people,” he admitted.
The Fintry Queen, a former car ferry that was enhanced to resemble a paddle wheeler in 1968, has a restaurant on board and served as a floating tourist attraction and sightseeing boat for many years. It last sailed three years ago.
The deal with the city to allow it to be tied up to pilings in Sutherland Bay is for one year. But Forbes said that could be extended as the vessels searches for a new home.
He said while the Fintry Queen is not allowed to pick up and discharge passengers in Sutherland Bay, it could do that elsewhere on the Lake and be kept overnight in the bay.
Schwab said while the vessel is tied up, it will have a security system on board to make sure no unauthorized people boat out to it and go aboard. While docked downtown last year, the Fintry Queen was vandalized inside by people who are believed to have been sleeping onboard.
Part of the approval for its new location came from the province and both provincial and federal approvals would be needed for it to move anywhere else on the lake.
Meanwhile, work can now start on the pier and marina project.
However, construction is not expected to start before the end of the year, said Forbes, as federal approval has not been signed off yet.
He said Westcorp, the company that will build the pier is expected to build the structure off-site and float it into place. The pier and marina are expected to be built next year.