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City may move Norgoma to Algoma Steel

Bill for the move, estimated at $50,000, will be sent to the ship's owner, St. Mary's River Marine Heritage Centre
A 10-month-old Go Fund Me campaign for the Norgoma has raised just $1,008 from 13 contributors. David Helwig/SooToday

Sault Ste. Marie City Council will be asked Monday to approve moving the M.S. Norgoma to a temporary location behind Algoma Steel made available to the city by Purvis Marine.

A resolution on the agenda for Monday's council meeting calls for St. Mary's River Marine Heritage Centre to be served notice that the ship must be moved out of Bondar Marina to the new location as soon as weather and ice conditions allow, by April 15 at the latest.

The cost and liability of the transfer must be paid by the marine heritage centre as the ship's owner, the resolution states.

If the resolution passes, city staff will be directed to work with the volunteer-run centre to co-ordinate removal of the marina docks.

City officials are anxious to move the historic boat to allow replacement of the deteriorating wooden docks, and to take advantage of current high water levels.

Other locations for the ship that were investigated and rejected included:

  • Parks Canada canal
  • Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre
  • Sault Area Hospital
  • St. Joseph Island
  • SunCor site

"Staff has been able to confirm that a temporary site has been secured located on a portion of the dock wall behind Algoma Steel and rented by Purvis Marine," Tom Vair, the city's deputy chief administrative officer for community development and enterprise services, says in a report to Mayor Provenzano and councillors.

"This site will be inaccessible to the public but will provide a temporary location that removes the vessel from the marina and enables the new dock project to proceed," Vair wrote.

"The vessel will have to be insured by the owner for the tow through the Sault locks to Algoma Steel. The insurance will also have to be carried on the vessel for the duration of its storage at Algoma Steel."

Cost of the move is estimated at $50,000 and Purvis Marine will require a purchase order for the tow and storage.

The ship must stay no longer than one year at the temporary location and Purvis will charge a discounted rate of $40 a day to keep the ship at the Algoma Steel dock.

If the marine heritage centre becomes insolvent because of the move, Vair is recommending that the Norgoma either be decommissioned at an estimated cost of $150,000 or be provided to a new owner interested in moving the boat elsewhere.

"We continue to recognize the SMRMHC volunteers for the numerous hours they have contributed towards the management and maintenance of the M.S. Norgoma," Vair says. "They should be commended for their years of hard work and service."

At the same time, Vair points out that the centre's 10-month-old GoFundMe campaign for the Norgoma has raised just $1,008 from 13 contributors, despite extensive media coverage.

In other news, Sean Halliday from the Local Immigration Partnership will address next week's City Council meeting about the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The meeting starts at 4:30 p.m. Monday and will be livestreamed on SooToday.


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