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Fintry Queen sternwheeler attraction proposed for Summerland

Tourist-oriented service proposed for southern part of Okanagan Lake
The Fintry Queen, an old car ferry converted to resemble a sternwheeler, has been proposed as a tourist attraction for the southern part of Okanagan Lake, with ports of call in Summerland, Penticton and Naramata. (Black Press file photo)

A tourism service, modelled after the sternwheelers which once plied Okanagan Lake, has been proposed for the southern part of Okanagan Lake.

At the Feb. 28 Summerland council meeting, Andy Schwab, owner of the Fintry Queen, presented his plans for a tourist boat service.

He is working on preparing the vessel’s mechanical systems and is assessing more than 30 potential landing sites, including Summerland, Naramata and Penticton, which have been proposed as ports of call for the vessel.

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“I’ve always felt that no matter where it worked on the lake, it would be successful,” Schwab said, adding that the Penticton-Narmata-Summerland triangle would be an ideal route. He is also approaching the communities of Naramata and Penticton to present his plan.

“It will be a huge boon for tourism in the region,” he added.

This is not the first time a request for the Fintry Queen has been floated to Summerland council. For close to a decade Schwab has been promoting the idea of operating the vessel for tourists in the southern part of the Okanagan Valley. In 2017 and 2018, Schwab had been promoting the idea of operating the boat in the southern part of Okanagan Lake.

For more than 40 years, the M.V. Fintry Queen is a 325-passenger ferry, was a tourist attraction in Kelowna, carrying more than 30,000 passengers downtown. It ceased operation in 2012.

The Fintry Queen is an old car ferry which was once used to shuttle vehicles across Okanagan Lake. In 1968, the vessel was modified to resemble an old sternwheeler vessel.

The municipality of Summerland will provide a letter of support for Schwab’s application to secure funding for the project. Coun. Erin Carlson was opposed.

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John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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