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Skippy L fate to linger a little longer

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The fate of the Skippy L continues to drag on.
Nearly a year after it was first stated the iconic boat which now rests on the shores of the Saskatchewan River in Devon Park was in a state of great disrepair, little progress has been made on repairing it, or even determining if it will be repaired.
Due to the boat being designated as a heritage object, an assessment must be done on what type of repair work is needed before any repairs can be done. The boat must be kept in its’ original state, meaning repairs must be very specific.
The assessment issue was first brought forward to council in November last year and at the time it was pegged at $6,815. The Town subsequently applied for 50 per cent of that funding through The Pas Community Renewal Corporation but was denied that request.
A committee was also slated to be struck to look into the fate of landmarks and other such items in the community by Town council, though that committee has not yet been formally struck.
Despite the fact the committee is not yet formalized and the process of selecting committee members is still ongoing, council elected to send the fate of the Skippy L to that committee come forward with recommendations.
There is no timetable for when the committee needs to be in place.
Part of the issue for the Town is they currently don’t know where they will pull the money for the Skippy L repairs from. While the matter was first brought to council last fall, it was not included in the 2019 budget.
Councillor Chad Zolinski voted against approving even doing the assessment last November, citing concern over how much the final bill for the repairs would be. Councillor Bill Ward earlier this month repeated those concerns.
“This $6,800 is to do an assessment only on this boat, after the assessment is done by the qualified person I guess they’re going to come back and say it’s going to cost X number of dollars to repair it, and that’s just to repair the boat. And then we’re going to say well in order to stop damages to that boat we’re going to have to make changes, change the fencing, put it under a roof, whatever so this could end up being astronomical numbers,” said Ward.
Ward also asked if there were grants to cover the work to be done to the Skippy L after the assessment. While the exact work needed won’t be known until after the assessment, and as a result possible grants won’t be known until after that assessment is completed, Zolinski did note that heritage items do qualify for funding through a fund established annually for their maintenance and upkeep. There is no guarantee the Town would be successful in any application however, and the Town would ultimately have to pay a portion of the costs for repairs regardless if the application is successful or not.
Last fall it was reported the Skippy L was in such bad shape Town employees were concerned for their safety when working on the boat.

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Trent Allen
EDITOR
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