Lincoln pushes to save the shipwreck in Jordan Harbour

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Published November 11, 2021 at 5:02 pm

Photo from Niagara Region, taken by Paula Cheese of St. Catharines

Lincoln is looking to salvage at the very least the three masts of La Grande Hermine (The Big Weasel), the ghost boat shipwrecked in Jordan Harbour, for their own heritage and tourism needs.

And if possible, they wouldn’t mind keeping the whole ship and leaving it where it’s marooned if it’s all the same to the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Even out in Lake Ontario, Lincoln has always considered the abandoned, burned-out vessel as a tourist attraction so they were somewhat alarmed when the ministry put the old ship-wreck up for sale a few weeks back.

So at their November 8 Committee of the Whole meeting, the town voted to approach the Coast Guard and ask that the money proposed to remove the masts be channeled instead into improving the safety of the boat so they can keep it as a tourist attraction.

While making it clear that the town does not wish to outright own the boat, they’re hoping the ministry and Coast Guard can appreciate its value to Lincoln.

“La Grande Hermine draws many visitors who support our local tourism economy, spending additional time visiting our other attractions in Lincoln,” said Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton.

“While we certainly share the Coast Guard’s safety concerns about the ship, we encourage them to redirect the funds currently slated for removing the masts into saving them for future visitors to visually enjoy.”

In actual fact, Lincoln staff have been in communication with the Canadian Coast Guard regarding the ship which was identified under their Vessels of Concern Program as an abandoned and wrecked vessel. The Coast Guard conducted a technical assessment of the ship, which identified a few safety hazards that need to be addressed.

Paul Di Ianni, Lincoln’s Director of Economic Development and Communications, believes that while the ministry and Coast Guard consider it an unsafe eyesore, perhaps they should be looking at its tourism value and simply work on making it safe, instead.

The replica ship has been a tourism attraction since it arrived at Jordan Harbour on July 1, 1997 and has become a landmark in the Town of Lincoln for those travelling both North and South along the QEW,” said Di Ianni. “The Town sees tremendous benefit to preserving the ship which puts Jordan Harbour and Lincoln on the map.”

The motion passed by Lincoln Council will be shared with the four Niagara MPs, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

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