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Talk in Harbour Grace of new paint job for S.S. Kyle

The S.S. Kyle wreck could be in the running for its first paint job in almost 25 years.
The S.S. Kyle wreck could be in the running for its first paint job in almost 25 years. - File photo
HARBOUR GRACE, N.L. —

There may soon be reason to sing the late Bill Luffman's tune "Paint Job on the Kyle."

An committee of Harbour Grace's town council is looking at doing just what that song's title says.

The S.S. Kyle, a 67-metre vessel used for a variety of purposes over the course of 50-odd years, ran ashore in the Conception Bay North community in 1967. It's remained in the harbour since, become a local landmark over the course of its 52-year presence.

The ship, which later became property of the provincial government, was last painted in 1996 with funds from the province. Since then, little has been done with the rusting vessel. The deck is covered with vegetation and the smoke room collapsed a few years ago, leaving the chart room lying inside it.

At the Tuesday, Aug. 6 council meeting, an application from the Board of Culture, Innovation and Business Inc. — an incorporated committee of council — was debated. It requested a permit to alter a body of water. This would be part of a plan to reportedly repaint the S.S. Kyle. The mayor noted the project would be of no cost to the town if the committee proceeds.

"If (the town) owned that boat or ship or anybody else owned it, they'd be told to clean it up," Mayor Don Coombs said Tuesday. "This might be an avenue with the stakeholders to get something done with it, who I understand won't do nothing with it until there's a structural engineering report and an environmental engineering report. We don't have time as a municipality, so it's something good for the committee to take on, again at no cost to the town of Harbour Grace."

Council unanimously approved the motion, though concerns were raised. Coun. Kevin Williams noted the vessel's deck is probably not safe to stand on and there would be liability considerations. The mayor said he assumed any liability for such an endeavour would lie with the province.

"It has nothing to do with the Town of Harbour Grace," he said, later adding the committee has been in contact with an individual who may be interested in investing money in what remains of the vessel.

editor@cbncompass.ca

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