The iconic Fintry Queen will not be included in development plans for CNR Wharf.
The boat’s owner, Andy Schwab, first approached West Kelowna council in February. He suggested the Fintry Queen could be a waterfront destination at CNR Wharf.
At the time, he explained his goal was to eventually have the Fintry Queen sailing to and from six or seven different locations along Okanagan Lake, bringing passengers to various tourist hot spots throughout the valley.
Until that demand is established, he said the vessel could operate as a dockside restaurant, offering cruises in the evening.
Mechanically, the ship is brand new, he added. Over $800,000 was spent between 2005 and 2008 to bring all elements of the vessel up to proper Transport Canada codes and requirements.
District staff identified several challenges related to Schwab’s request, including a general inconsistency with the vision and objectives set out in the recently adopted CNR Wharf Park Plan.
There would also be a need to amend two existing tenure agreements, as well as the zoning bylaw to permit commercial use at CNR Wharf. Insufficient parking was identified as another issue.
“When Mr. Schwab first came to council, I just didn’t see how his goals (would be) able to mesh with our community’s vision for what we want down in that area,” said Coun. Gord Milsom.
“We just need to say ‘no’ and continue with the plans we already have in place.”
Mayor Doug Findlater said the inclusion of the Fintry Queen within the scope of the CNR Wharf Park Plan “clearly doesn’t fit” with West Kelowna’s vision for Gellatly Bay.
“Some will say there’s an economic benefit, but I’m puzzled by that. We would need other businesses adjacent to it down there…it’s some distance (from) Westbank Centre,” said Findlater.
“It’s nice, it’s pretty, but I just don’t see where there is any benefit.
“There’s a lot of cost in it for the District of West Kelowna; it will potentially take away from what we want to do down there.”
Council unanimously voted to not consider the inclusion of the Fintry Queen within the scope of the CNR Wharf Park Plan.