After a lengthy discussion – 18 years, according to Coun. Niro – and much to the dismay of the St. Mary’s Marine Heritage Centre – a majority of this term’s City Councillors have voted in favour (a vote of 7-3) of the removal of the M.S. Norgoma from its home at the Roberta Bondar Marina.
What to do with the Norgoma, which has been on Sault Ste. Marie’s waterfront since 1975, and docked at Roberta Bondar since 1985, has been the controversial topic of many council meetings over the past 18 years.
Councillors voted on this matter as such (with the exception of Coun. Hilsinger, who was absent from this meeting):
- Christian – In Favour
- Niro – In Favour
- Dufour – Against
- Shoemaker – In Favour
- Vezeau-Allen – Against
- Gardi – In Favour
- Hollingsworth – Against
- Scott – In Favour
- Bruni – In Favour
- Mayor Provenzano – In Favour
So, what happens now? The SMMHC will have until Apr. 15 at the latest to get the ship moved – costing them $50,000 to have it towed to a dock at Algoma Steel (plus a daily docking fee of $40/day), provided by Purvis Marine, where it will be inaccessible to the public, potentially stripping it of its status as a museum ship and kiboshing any plans to film on it this summer.
If the Heritage Centre can’t afford this move, they’ll be considered “insolvent” and all costs will be absorbed by the City – including the daily docking fees and dismantling of the ship should that be the case.
Provenzano also told council he’s comfortable with taking on these costs to get the Norgoma – which he says is “sorely underfunded” – out of the marina, as it is hindering any upgrades and improvements, but said he’s also willing to work with the Heritage Centre if they can find a new home for the ship.