Tourists and visitors to Lunenburg will be able to view the Bluenose II up close for the rest of the summer while it awaits the installation of a new steering system.
The boat was moved July 30 from the Lunenburg Foundry dock, where it has been berthed for the past two years, to a dock near the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. The move coincided with the official handover of the vessel to the provincial government.
Bluenose II is undergoing finishing touches by the builder and the crew; however, the move will allow people to view the boat from the waterfront, take close-up photos and chat with the crew.
Bluenose II's new steering system has been designed and equipment orders have been placed. Building, installing and testing the equipment is expected to take most, if not all, of this year's sailing season.
However, the announcement drew criticism by the Progressive Conservative tourism critic, Karla MacFarlane, who said she was shocked that the Liberals had taken possession of the ship without telling Nova Scotians how much it cost.
“This is a slap in the face to taxpayers,” says MacFarlane. “We want to get the Bluenose II sailing as much as anyone, but after nearly a year of incompetent Liberal decision making, we are left wondering how much more taxpayers will have to withstand.”
The Bluenose II rebuild is two years overdue with a price tag of more than $19 million and is now officially the problem of the Nova Scotia government and taxpayers, she said.
“The fact that the premier’s ‘Bluenose Guru,’ David Darrow, says he can’t tell us whether the new steering system will cost $10,000 or $1 million is disrespectful to taxpayers. No ordinary Nova Scotian family would be so reckless with their own family budget,” says MacFarlane. “At every step of the way, the Liberals have made a bad situation much worse. This is just the latest in a long pattern of incompetence on the Bluenose II.”