SS Sicamous getting facelift for summer

Penticton’s iconic sternwheeler will be sporting a new entrance deck this summer

The SS Sicamous Marine Heritage Society wants to construct a new pier-like entrance for the Penticton icon. Illustration courtesy City of Penticton

The SS Sicamous is getting an improved entrance, and organizers hope to have it all finished in time for the International Triathlon Union championships this August.

City council voted to approve a $50,000 loan and grant to the SS Sicamous Marine Heritage Society, allowing them to build a “pier-like deck” updating the entrance to the Penticton icon facing the Lakeshore Drive promenade and replacing the current metal bridge.

According to land administrator Peter Wallace, there will also be a ramp to the deck for disabled access.

Faced with mounting costs to replace and repair infrastructure, the City of Penticton slowed revitalization plans last year, including a major development planned for the area in front of the Sicamous, but the society is still working to make improvements of their own, with a little help from city coffers.

The conditions of the loan are that the society will pay 75 per cent back to the city by March 30, 2019. The remaining 25 per cent would be provided to the society as cash grant.

“This project will result in the city acquiring a $50,000 asset for an investment of $12,000,” said Wallace, adding the society is well underway in meeting regulatory and environmental requirements.

Wallace received calls from residents concerned about the “pier-like” description, worried that it would extend into the water for boats to moor to. He confirmed the entrance is not going to extend into the water and there will be no boat access.

Coun. Judy Sentes said she heard similar concerns about long range plans to build a pier.

“It is a deck, let’s just forget about the word pier,” said Sentes.

To get the project done for this summer, work needs to start by early April or the rising water table will prevent pouring the concrete footings and delay start until fall. Council voted unanimously to approve the loan.

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