The S.S. Kyle should be saved, says writer

The Compass - - OPINION -

The fall­ing in of the S.S. Kyle’s Mon­key Room is just food for fod­der for the naysay­ers.

I am very con­cerned to see the re­sponse of many re­gard­ing the re­cent “fall­ing in of the mon­key room,” atop the SS Kyle.

That room was never orig­i­nally on the Kyle. It was added by my fa­ther, Cap­tain Guy Earle. This is ac­cord­ing to Cap­tain Chas Dow­den, of Car­bon­ear, who worked along­side Guy and with his own fa­ther, Cap­tain Steve Dow­den.

If Chas doesn’t know then no one does. He was there, lived it, and it was Guy who added those rooms.

The very top room, known as the mon­key room which just re­cently fell into the wheel room is of no sig­nif­i­cance to the re­mod­el­ing of the Kyle.

I have re­cently met with Bill May­bee of Po­sei­don Ma­rine, his as­sis­tant Aaron Mercer, and Bob Rutherford, an­other well known en­gi­neer. They say to rebuild a ship you have to start form the bot­tom up, not the top.

All the rest of the im­por­tant parts of the Kyle are still in­tact such as the hull.

Has the hull of the Ti­tanic gone any­where over the last 100-plus years? And she’s way down be­low in Davy’s Locker.

The Kyle is at least par­tially above wa­ter.

The Ti­tanic was built with blue steel, and that’s what the Kyle is built with.

The part you see de­gen­er­at­ing is reg­u­lar steel and the spe­cial blue or wrought iron of the lower and vi­tal part of the Kyle, is still there. That blue steel, that’s what we need. And not to be­smirch my late fa­ther, his mon­key room is not a ne­ces­sity to what we are try­ing to do.


It would be nice to rebuild all rooms on top, but that’s for later on.

I feel that this re­cent oc­cur­rence is just an ex­cuse for all these naysay­ers to come forth with their neg­a­tiv­ity, their fur­ther con­dem­na­tion of our her­itage, our Kyle.

My fa­ther fought hard to bring her back from Nova Sco­tia and change her name back to the Kyle. And again to get her, the men and the seal back from the Labrador.

All that work just to let her go? What are some of us think­ing?

In re­sponse to the Com­pass where I re­cently read that Steve Kent, MHA of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs said he would write a note sup­port­ing any­one who wished to pri­vately do­nate to re­store the Kyle, but did not have any funds to con­trib­ute from the govern­ment cof­fers. That is al­most the ex­act words of Terry French, the once min­is­ter of tourism.

His let­ter was writ­ten in 2008, when this mis­sion was started up again. There has al­ways been many sup­port­ers over the years called, “friends of the Kyle.”

I have copies of all their letters. I have other com­ments and letters too. Many of them I don’t agree with.

For in­stance, the idea men­tioned to tow her out and bury her, the “dig­ni­fied way to end the Kyle.” I ab­so­lutely don’t agree with that. I do re­spect the com­menter’s bru­tal hon­esty, but com­ments like this just ham­pers our ef­forts to save it.

An­other spoke about the use of the money to scut­tle the Kyle, where it could be bet­ter spent.

To scut­tle her could come to six or seven fig­ures. That money should be used in a more pos­i­tive way, I agree. But not to scut­tle her, to re­store her.

As I have al­ready said, any other prov­ince in Canada would have al­ready re­stored her. She is an iconic mon­u­ment of us and our fore­fa­thers.

Just as the Lunen­burg Fish­eries Mu­seum sits 100 kilo­me­tres form Halifax, the SS Kyle Mu­seum could sit 108 km from St John’s, at­tract­ing tourists from every­where.

Dave Pad­don said in Oc­to­ber 2013, “We need a Bluenose of our own.”

We don’t need a Bluenose, we have one. We need a fish­eries or mar­itime mu­seum on the Kyle.

I was in St John’s this sum­mer at the vis­i­tor in­for­ma­tion cen­ter on Wa­ter Street. I was there to do­nate a model of the Kyle, built by Greg Drover, who was re­cently fea­tured in the Tele­gram. They said no. But the most dis­turb­ing part was, not them turn­ing it down, but when asked by tourists what to go see in Con­cep­tion Bay, no men­tion was made of it. I had to tell them my­self, and I did. And yes, the tourists where in­ter­ested and did want to go see it.

Maybe our MHA’s can ask the cen­tres around New­found­land to do so. I would re­ally like that.

In all my trav­els I see no men­tion of her any­where, only in the Com­pass and the Kear­ney Chalet, (which sits along­side her). That’s it.

What is miss­ing from this pic­ture? What is with this opin­ion, and this os­tra­ciza­tion of our beloved and iconic ship?

Please take the blin­ders off, and see what can be done. — Libby Earle is the daugh­ter

of Cap­tain Guy Earle, the last cap­tain of the SS Kyle

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