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New wreck coming to Tobermory?

Discussion in 'Ontario' started by Jared0425, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. rhwestfall

    rhwestfall Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: "La Grande Ile"
    10,610
    8,455
    113
    one word - structure
     
  2. Stoo

    Stoo NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Freelton & Tobermory, Ontario, Canada
    2,718
    2,194
    113
    Ya I guess. Lots of hiding places.
     
  3. Jared0425

    Jared0425 Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Detroit, Michigan
    674
    279
    63
    Condition analysis stirs new hope for Norisle

    2/15 - Owen Sound, Ont. – There is perhaps a glimmer of hope on the horizon that the S.S. Norisle will sail again. The 215-foot ship that once transported passengers between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island and has spent the last 45 years moored at Manitowaning on the island, appeared destined to be scuttled as a dive site.

    But in late December an analysis by members of the group that long tried to have the vessel saved as a heritage cruise ship, found that the hull of the ship was “in relatively sound condition,” according to the mayor of the Township of Assiginack, which owns the ship.

    “Over the past number of years it hasn’t deteriorated at all hardly,” Mayor John Ham said Tuesday.

    “The township, we were presented with an analysis report and a potential to move forward with the project, but the council has not made a firm decision on that one yet simply because they do not have enough information.”

    Ham, who was elected mayor in last fall’s municipal elections, said council will wait for a detailed report from the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society (SSNSS) “to see exactly what is intended and where this project hopes to go.”

    The SS Norisle, which covered the Tobermory to Manitoulin ferry route from 1947 until the Chi-Cheemaun took over in 1974, was purchased by Assiginack for $1 not long after it was taken out of service. The Norisle served as a floating museum and tourist attraction in Manitowaning for more than 30 years.

    But the condition of the ship deteriorated, until more than a decade ago attempts began to have it restored as a heritage cruise ship. Eventually the SSNSS was formed, a memorandum of understanding was signed with Assiginack supporting the project. A number of initiatives moved forward, including preparation of the ship for drydock, removal of all non-ship related items for safe storage and fundraising initiatives.

    Then in 2015, the township withdrew its support for a grant application to the Ministry of Tourism.

    The SSNSS would bring a lawsuit against the township in 2016 and it was announced last fall that it had been settled, with a condition of the settlement being that the township would pay the SSNSS $45,000, equal to the amount the organization paid to have asbestos removed from the ship.

    The township said in a news release in the fall that negotiations were underway to have the ship removed as soon as possible and confirmed that there had been talks with the Tobermory Maritime Association (TMA) to acquire the vessel.

    Ham, who owns Henley Boats in Manitowaning, said he was with the team that originally retrieved the Norisle from Owen Sound and he has always considered the ship an important part of his community. He feels the Canadian and Ontario governments should take more interest in the shipping industry’s history on the Great Lakes, much like in Europe, where such vessels are preserved for the community to enjoy.

    He commended the SSNSS for their perseverance to see the ship saved, but added that the township would not have the funds to tackle a project expected to cost in the millions of dollars.

    He said if he had his way, he would like to see the ship make calls at Assiginack twice a week on an excursion that could include a trip around Manitoulin, down the Bruce Peninsula, into Owen Sound and around Georgian Bay.

    “I think it would be a major tourist attraction,” Ham said. “I think if you went around and took a vote of all the municipal governments surrounding Georgian Bay they would all vote very much in support of doing something like that, but I know most of them aren’t in the position to throw any money at it.”

    But Ham expects no decision to be made on the future of the ship until a report on it is received and council has a look at it.

    “They may wish to sell it off, they may wish to put it in the hands of another entity and there could be other very interested parties out there that are keen on doing something with it,” said Ham.

    The TMA had hoped to bring the Norisle to Tobermory and scuttle it as a dive site in Little Cove near the Niagara II, which was sunk there in 1999.

    On Tuesday, TMA president Mike Marcotte said he was disappointed when he learned that the plan to turn the ship into a dive site may not happen, but added it would be nice to see the Norisle sail again.

    Marcotte was not convinced that the funds to do such work could be found. “I put a lot of work into it and I will be sad if we can’t get it, but time will tell,” said Marcotte. “Everything comes to an end. The boat isn’t going to live forever, so if it is a few years down the road before we can move forward and put it in the museum, as I like to call it here, then we will have to wait.”

    Originally Marcotte had hoped to bring the ship to Tobermory in the fall of this year and then scuttle the ship in the spring of 2020.

    The TMA has already secured a permit from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, but still needs a navigation permit from Transport Canada and permission from the Owen Sound Transportation Company to use the federal dock at Tobermory, Marcotte said. He expects to have discussions with Transport Canada shortly about the use of the dock.

    Marcotte said he hasn’t had contact with anyone from Assiginack since last fall’s election. Since the TMA can’t move forward until the permits are secured, he has decided not to press the issue at this time.

    The TMA will continue to explore future possibilities to make new divesites, and maintains seven moorings for five different divesites outside the Fathom Five National Marine Park, Marcotte said.

    Owen Sound Sun Times
     
  4. Stoo

    Stoo NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Freelton & Tobermory, Ontario, Canada
    2,718
    2,194
    113
    Ya I read that and opted not to comment. It's all lovely news but there is still no plan as to how the millions of dollars will be raised. Our current provincial government is headed by a mini-Trumpian figure who won't fund school programs so I thing the odds of any money coming from there is something less than zero.

    It's also important keep your eye on a few facts. (1) "Ham" who is now the mayor, is also the head of the group that wants to restore this ship. (2) When articles say "the township wants..." i generally means "Ham wants...". (3) There is no plan to raise money for this (4) The Norisle has no historic connection to that township. It used to sail into South Bay, which is across the island. It never went anywhere near the community in question.

    I'm still taking the "be patient" approach.
     
  5. Jared0425

    Jared0425 Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Detroit, Michigan
    674
    279
    63
    I just find it very convenient that a survey conducted by someone who is very invested in the project would make a news statement about how great the hull condition is and not anything else. Engine conditions, cabin amenities, plumbing etc.

    You're right Stoo, it's best just to sit back and watch this crap unfold at a distance and let them shoot themselves in the foot. Then when those options fail one by one then move in.
     
  6. Stoo

    Stoo NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Freelton & Tobermory, Ontario, Canada
    2,718
    2,194
    113
    I think everyone agrees it would be amazing if i could be rebuilt, but I just don't believe it's remotely practical. I'm starting to look at this as "Ham's Wall". He's obsessed with it. It's an admirable project in this case, but there just isn't enough of the right kind of interest in it. (The kind where investors write cheques). They've had 10 years to work out the details and absolutely NOTHING has happened to move that project forward.
     

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