Paddlewheel moorage sought in Summerland

Rotary Pier proposed as a location for the Fintry Queen, a paddlewheel vessel

The owner of the Fintry Queen would like to have his paddlewheel vessel moored in Summerland, at the Rotary Walking Pier.

Andy Schwab hopes to have the vessel operating as a tourist boat in 2018, taking passengers between Summerland, Penticton and Naramata.

Before the boat can operate, it needs a paint job and government certification.

Schwab also needs a place to moor the vessel.

“We’re trying to move the ship to the south end of the lake, to a moorage location,” he said. “I really want to bring this ship to Summerland.”

The Fintry Queen is a converted car ferry with an imitation paddle wheel. It began operating as a tourist vessel, based in Kelowna, in 1965.

Schwab operated the ship for two seasons, in 1999 and 2000.

In his second year operating the vessel, he had 30,000 passengers.

“That’s only 20 per cent of its capacity,” he added.

Schwab said the pier in Summerland would be the best location since the water is deep enough at this location and the area is sheltered from prevailing winds.

If the pier location was approved, Schwab said the pier would continue to function as a walking pier. He explained that the pier would serve as an access point for the ship’s passengers.

The quest for a moorage location has been an obstacle for Schwab.

He has approached Kelowna and West Kelowna for moorage locations. In 2015 and 2016, he presented the concept to Penticton.

For various reasons his previous locations have not been realized.

He believes the Rotary Pier in Summerland would be ideal for him and for the community.

“We’re probably the most cost effective in Summerland,” he said.

The vessel would fit in well with other tourist attractions and amenities in Summerland, he added.

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