Plans to sink the S.S. Norisle in Tobermory will move ahead, now that a lawsuit with the township that owns the ship has been settled.
The Township of Assignack recently announced that a $45,000 settlement was reached with the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society for work done to remove asbestos from the vessel, after they sued the town for $10 million dollars.
Dave Ham, a member of the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society, who is now running for mayor in the Township of Assiginack claims that the group raised over $1.5 million dollars collectively for refurbishment work on the vessel and spent years working to make it seaworthy again.
He says that the township changed their minds on refurbishment and decided to sell the ship after a legal agreement was signed that stated the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society would have full custody of the ship while work was underway on the rebuild.
Ham says that the 215-foot ship was built in the Collingwood Shipyards in 1946, and was the first passenger steamship built in Canada after the Second World War.
Ham tells us the vessel ran the ferry route between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island between 1946 and 1974, before the Chi-Cheemaun replaced it.
He says that sinking a ship with historical value is a waste, when he feels it would better serve the public as a restored passenger-carrying steam vessel.
Ham thinks it would be a major tourist attraction, as it would be the only one sailing the Great Lakes.
He says that instead, the S.S. Norisle will be relocated to Tobermory next fall. Scuttling will tentatively take place in the spring of 2020.
The ship will be located in approximately 120 feet of water in Little Cove, near the Niagara II shipwreck.