Will the SS Kyle even­tu­ally have to be scut­tled?

The Compass - - OPINION -

Her­ber McGurk’s let­ter to The Com­pass May 21, head­lined “The SS Kyle deserves bet­ter,” brought up a very im­por­tant sub­ject that needs ad­dress­ing by the Dun­derdale Govern­ment, namely the shame­ful con­di­tion of, not only this mag­nif­i­cent his­tor­i­cal ship that’s rust­ing away aban­doned in the wa­ters off Har­bour Grace, but of many other New­found­land and Labrador his­toric sites, build­ings, mon­u­ments and ar­ti­facts.

We live on an is­land in the North At­lantic that has one of the most in­cred­i­ble his­to­ries any­one any­where will ever study.

We must pre­serve our tan­gi­ble pieces of his­tory, not only for tourists to pe­ruse and touch, but for the ed­u­ca­tion and en­light­en­ment of gen­er­a­tions to fol­low.

McGurk’s plea to pre­serve the Kyle and give it the dig­nity it deserves is a very touch­ing one.

Keep in mind McGurk is a man who is a mas­ter mariner who wrote about work­ing mas­ter watch on­board the Kyle and a man who knows and is part of its his­tory, as well as its rich and colour­ful past.

Per­son­ally, I could al­most see a tear in his eye as he wrote his touch­ing let­ter.

Last sum­mer we hosted a cou­ple of friends we met in Florida and one of the high­lights of our time to­gether was a trip “around the bay” on the old high­way. They couldn’t get over the mag­nif­i­cent scenery, es­pe­cially the har­bours, bays and rugged shore­lines.

I de­cided to drive to Har­bour Grace to show them the Amelia Earhart mon­u­ment. They were amazed at the way the mon­u­ment was con­structed, the tragic his­tory and the in­cred­i­ble set­ting. They were anx­ious to take pic­tures to show friends back home.

Driv­ing along the shore they no­ticed the SS Kyle sit­ting in the har­bour. It was a to­tal em­bar­rass­ment for me to ex­plain to them what the old ship was, how it re­lated to our marine his­tory and how it has been left to rust in full view. They were in a state of dis­be­lief.

A few years back I re­mem­ber the old S.S. Kyle gaily dec­o­rated, even freshly painted for the cel­e­bra­tions sur­round­ing Danny Cleary’s re­turn to his home­town with the Stan­ley Cup.

At that time I hoped it was a fresh start and that in­ter­ested par­ties were about to put their heads and their monies to­gether to even­tu­ally give the old ship what it deserves. No other ac­tion was ever taken. That is dis­gust­ing and still makes me an­gry when we drive by.

To the pre­mier and her govern­ment I say: If we don’t lis­ten to the He­ber McGurk’s of our prov­ince — peo­ple that re­ally care — then do the next de­cent thing and scut­tle her in the North At­lantic. At least that will be a loving and suit­able rest­ing place for the mag­nif­i­cent old ship.

But that thought causes me to cringe, and I still live in hope. Long live the Kyle.

— Bill West­cott writes from Clarke’s Beach

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