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New smokestack on B.C. sternwheeler ship museum


October 21, 2020
By Jay Koblun

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Maurer Crane Service about to lift a new smokestack on the S.S. Sicamous. Photo by Mike Biden

Maurer Crane Service gave the iconic S.S. Sicamous a fresh look last month near Penticton, B.C., with a new smokestack. The original 105-year-old smokestack was removed back in March after it was found to be in poor condition. The S.S. Sicamous is the largest surviving sternwheeler in B.C. and is now used as a museum and event venue.

Photo courtesy of the Sicamous Society

After several months of waiting, we have a new stack in place,” said Marilyn Robertson, museum co-ordinator. “The City of Penticton arranged for a new stack to be engineered, complete with attachments for the pressure release tube and the steam whistle, thanks to Waycon Manufacturing of Penticton. Everything fit with perfect alignment, and the ship looks just the same now as when the original was there.”

Maurer Crane Service is a family-run, locally owned and operated business providing 24-hour crane rental services. The company has served Kelowna, Penticton, and surrounding areas for more than 40 years.

Maurer Crane Service removed the original stack in March and came back to install the new one with a Liebherr crane.

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“An amazingly well-coordinated job,” said Robertson.

“The man basket was lowered for safety reasons when a strong wind came up, but fortunately the stack was already secured in place. After a short break, the wind settled and work continued to complete all of the attachments, and we had a happy crane operator with a job well done.”

Robertson said new protocols surrounding COVID-19 slowed down the manufacturing and painting of the smokestack. The team also had to wait for the high spring water to recede so the crane and equipment could move in position without sinking in the sand. The ship is located on the shore of the Okanagan Lake.

“We expect this stack to last at least another 100 years, especially because it will not be used for coal burning exhaust,” said Robertson.