July 05, 2016 - 4:30 PM
ICONIC DINNER CRUISE SHIP IN HOCK TO CITY FOR MOORAGE FEES
CENTRAL OKANAGAN - Try as he might, Andy Schwab can’t convince anyone who matters there is a future for the Fintry Queen on Okanagan Lake.
Schwab owns the former lake car ferry and dinner cruise ship currently languishing in Kelowna’s Sutherland Bay.
His bid to sell $100,000 worth of $10 cruise tickets by August 1 has so far attracted around 80 people, far short of the 10,000 he had hoped for.
A plan to build his own dock in Penticton collapsed last year when he couldn’t get enough investors behind him.
Kelowna is also suing him for about $7,000 worth of unpaid moorage fees and served him yesterday with his second legal notice.
Mayor Colin Basran earlier this year said the ship, built in 1947 as the MV Lequime to serve the Kelowna-to-Westbank run before construction of the floating bridge, has no heritage value and neither Kelowna nor Penticton have allowed him moorage rights at their public docks.
“They want us gone from here,” Schwab says, although he can't quite understand their motivation. “Why not try to encourage a tourism-related business?”
The only answer Schwab says he’s received has been from the city’s property management department.
“They told me the Fintry Queen is not part of their vision,” he adds.
Schwab last year listed the ship for sale with a list price of $349,000 but is trying one last time to attract an audience for what he says has been a fixture in Kelowna for 50 years.
“If I can reach the $100,000 goal, then the bank will give me another $100,000 and I can do this on my own without anyone else’s help,” he says.
But despite official apathy, Schwab is reluctant to play the heritage card, even though he’s had some vocal support from the Central Okanagan Heritage Society.
“I’m not pushing the heritage aspect. I’m not going to say people can’t acknowledge its history as part of Kelowna’s landscape,” Schwab says. “It’s real value lies in what it can still do which is get people out on the lake into a totally different environment. It creates experiences and marks memories."
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