The City of Prince Albert says it won’t be repairing the York Boat on display near the tourist information centre this year. Meanwhile, one rural resident is concerned that the damaged boat gives visitors an inaccurate impression of the city.
Tracey Detillieux passes by the monument every day, which toppled over earlier this year after a driver collided with it. Being placed at the south entry to Prince Albert on Second Avenue West, Detillieux says it’s often people’s first impressions of the Gateway to the North.
“How many visitors, businessmen, potential businesses, and others get their first look at P.A. driving by this poor boat? I am disgraced, to say the least, that our city and its partners, the Métis association and the First Nations groups have not made any effort to repair or at the very least cover this poor representation,” she said.
“How much longer do the citizens of Prince Albert and surrounding area have to wait before this is rectified?”
The driver also knocked down the Rotary Club sign that was located in front of the boat, closer to the road.
Detillieux said she reached out to the city after she noticed the damage. She said she received a response from the city, saying it was waiting for the driver to make a statement of claim before fixing it.
“This individual has been given ‘extensions’ to make his/her statement and we are now into September with no work or progress obvious,” said Detillieux.
In an interview on Friday, City Manager Jim Toye said the city has spoken with the Rotary Club, who donated the historic boat, and to the insurance company.
“We’re not sure. Those talks aren’t going as smooth maybe perhaps as they could be, so we are, at the current state, we’re not going to do anything with it this year,” said Toye.
“We’re probably going to take it off location and store it in an area where it’s not going to be weathered or anything like that, so it will be indoors.”
He did not know, however, when the boat would be moved. His staff is “looking into that,” he said.
“That’s one area, to be honest, that the city is short on, and that is storage, proper storage,” said Toye.
He said the city wants to ensure that there’s enough room to store its summer equipment, such as mowers, as fall comes around.
“When you’re going through an insurance situation, traditionally they want to see it in place when they’re doing their proper evaluation of it. I don’t know if the insurance company has been on site, but certainly it does not look good there. I admit that 100 per cent,” said Toye.
“However, we want to make sure that if we were to move it and take it to a covered facility and then someday the insurance company would want to see it, it’s quite possible that there could be damage when we move it. So we want to make sure that, in its current state, they have a very clear idea of what they’re doing with that particular insurance claim.”
The monument is a replica of york boats used in the Canadian fur trade from the late 18th century into the 20th century—Detillieux said the city should be using it to honour this history, not provide a poor first glimpse for visitors.
“There has got to be some way to get this boat fixed and back on its stands to represent the vibrant people and the past which Prince Albert was built upon.”