Efforts promise to have the SS Sicamous looking ship shape

SS Sicamous Restoration Society ready to begin repainting work on Penticton icon

Ship's manager Don Wright watches as Earl Mueksch attaches a new piece of wood to a section of the SS Sicamous as part of the ongoing restoration work. The vessel is temporarily closed to the public while the repairs are being made.

Ship's manager Don Wright watches as Earl Mueksch attaches a new piece of wood to a section of the SS Sicamous as part of the ongoing restoration work. The vessel is temporarily closed to the public while the repairs are being made.

Penticton’s grand old dame may soon be sporting a new coat of paint. And no, that doesn’t mean one of our seniors is buying some new lipstick.

The SS Sicamous, icon of Penticton for more than half a century, is about to get a long-awaited repainting. A request for proposals from the City of Penticton closed last week, and city staff, along with Don Wright, ship’s manager for the Sicamous, are narrowing down the bids.

Jim Cooper, chair of the SS Sicamous Restoration Society, said they hope to get to the repainting as soon as possible.

“It’s probably been 10 years at least. If you look at it, it is not very good, and the wheelhouse at the back is particularly terrible. It’s all cracking and chipped and paint is falling off it,” said Cooper. “The city has budgeted quite a bit of money for the Sicamous this year and we want to get as much done as we can.”

The RFP included repainting the Naramata, but Wright said the Sicamous is first in line, though they will have to wait until carpenters are finished the deck repairs.

“We have a finite amount of money to spend this year, so we have to look at what we can do. For us, the Sicamous itself is a priority. The Naramata is not that bad. It is looking old in a few spots, but not so much as this one is.”

Seeing work getting done on the boat, Wright said, has had a positive effect on people’s perception of the Sicamous, which is fast approaching its centennial in 2014.

“Not so much for the tourists, but for local people, having them walk by and see guys up on the roof working, it’s great mileage for us,” said Wright. So far this year, he said, crews have been working on the decks, the stern salon and other long-awaited restoration projects. “Stuff is going on everywhere and that is great for us. People haven’t seen much going on here for a long time.”

After skating close to collapse two years ago, Cooper said the society has experienced a restoration as well.

“I am feeling really good about it. The biggest difference that we have now is that we have good communication with the city and it is like we are working towards the same objective,” said Cooper. “And the city has been very good about listening to the issues that we have down there, seeing it (the Sicamous) as the icon of the city that it is and supporting it.”

Cooper and Wright both say that the Sicamous is doing a little better in terms of traffic this year, having been closed for part of the season last year.

“I think it was a slow start,” said Cooper, adding that it isn’t unexpected; with poor weather earlier this year, many tourism-oriented groups have had a slow start to the year. “I know we are ahead of last year. We have had a few weddings on board and in the park. We would like to promote that more.”

Wright said that from his personal observations, tourism in Penticton is down a little this year.

“I think from that point of view, we have probably done a little better. The Naramata is open to the public (it was closed last year). We have had lots of people through the Naramata so far this year,” said Wright, who hopes that August will be a better month, as it was last year.

“Maybe it is because of the weather, but August has been the most dependable month for the last couple of years,” said Wright. “It is just weird to look out front and not see almost anyone on that beach on a day when it is in the high 20s.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton City Hall. (File photo)
City of Penticton seeking grants to fund public washroom improvements

The grant would fund washrooms at Gyro Park and Riverside Park

Oliver Elementary School
Former Oliver PAC treasurer charged with fraud returns to court

Belinda Yorke will be in court to fix a date for trial in February

Penticton’s Burdock House supportive housing on Winnipeg St. is one of the B.C. Housing buildings the City of Penticton wants audited. (File photo)
City of Penticton seeks audit of BC Housing supportive housing units

BC Housing recently announced plans to construct a new supportive housing unit in the city

A GoFundMe campaign for a display of unity quickly received donations. The initiative, by the Lekhi family of Summerland, began days after their home had been targeted by vandalism and racist graffiti. Discussions are now taking place to determine where an art piece promoting unity will be located. (GoFundMe.com)
Artwork in Summerland to show message of inclusivity

Initiative began following vandalism of Indo-Canadian family’s home in July

Penticton fire crews quickly put out a small blaze at a home on Duncan Ave. E Monday night. (Mike Biden photo)
UPDATE: House fire sends one to hospital

The fire at the Duncan Place home was cooking related

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Alexandra “Annabelle” Lee and her grandpa Bryan Weightman enjoyed a shopping spree at the Sicamous Askew’s foods location after Weightman won a draw for a gift card. (Submitted)
Sicamous seven-year-old fills grandparents’ shopping cart after contest win

When her grandparents won an Askew’s Foods gift card, Alexandra Lee got to handle the shopping

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

The Summerland Minor Hockey Association has had to make changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Games, such as this one from 2018, are not allowed, but players have been working on skills development. (Summerland Review file photo)
Summerland minor hockey focuses on skills development

Ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected practices for young players

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP Superintendent Shawna Baher presents Lisa Rands, of Enderby, a certificate of appreciation after she went above and beyond at the scene of a multi-vehicle collision that closed Highway 97A Jan. 6, 2021, for several hours. (RCMP)
Mounties laud woman for help at fatal crash near Enderby

Vernon RCMP honour Enderby woman for taking care of children involved in collision

Most Read