Fintry Queen owner won’t let project sink
Six years after his last attempt to relaunch the iconic Okanagan ferry, Andy Schwab, owner of the Fintry Queen, is of a firm mindset the paddle-wheeler will be back in operation next year.
And he has big ambitions for the ship, with plans for 2-hour round trips around the South Okanagan with each ticket good for an entire day.
“I want to see it serving the whole Okanagan Valley,” Schwab told Kelowna10. “It could do that all summer long. And then in the off season it can serve all the smaller communities by just coming right in to shore and becoming a community center.”
And with a new investment plan in the works, Schwab said he should be able to entice more people this go-around.
He is offering a 30 percent British Columbia tax credit that he hopes will attract early investors to the venture.
After five years, the company will transition into a community contribution corporation, which Revenue Canada defines as a for-profit corporation. As a CCC, 60 per cent of net profits are returned to the community for a social purpose.
“Could be a women’s shelter, could be foreshore development,” he explained. “There would be a board for the company that would decide where this money would go on a yearly basis, and it would be a substantial return for the community to be able to do that.”
Schwab attested the ferry is mechanically in great shape, and that money from investors would go towards infrastructure needed to support the ferry. Currently, he said there are no docks big enough to support a craft of its size.
Beyond the business aspect, the project has additional tourism merit, he said, pointing to the bounty of former ferry-goers recalling stories and fond memories of weddings or high school graduations aboard the vessel.
“I think people are looking for entertainment and this gives people a way to get to a place that they can’t ordinarily get to,” Schwab said. “In addition to that, just being out on the lake every day is an amazing experience, right?”
Right now, the ferry is winterized, and the systems need to be brought back online for Transport Canada to come inspect.
But after that, he said they should be free to travel the lake, which he hopes to be able to do by next summer.
Published 2022-11-29 by Robin Liva
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