Special To The Journal
WHITEHORSE - Is a riverboat in the park worth two on the river?
That is the question being asked at Whitehorse as plans go ahead to move and preserve the riverboat Klondike, while two similar boats, the Whitehorse and S.S. Casca, will possibly be demolished in the process.
At present, all three historic old sternwheelers are grounded on the bank of the Yukon River, and are said to be deteriorating rapidly. However, a tender has been accepted by the federal northern affairs department for the moving of the Klondike to
a park site
But the Yukon Historical Society wants all three boats preserved where they are.
"Why should the least interesting of the three paddlewheelers be getting all the attention?" the society asks in a newsletter sent out this week. The letter claims that the present plan calls for demolition of the two remaining boats in order to restore the Klondike.
On the other side, the Whitehorse Star claims this has all been gone over before and the historical society agreed to the plan to preserve the Klondike.
Many Whitehorse residents are said to feel they are lucky to be having federal money spent for restoration of the Klondike, and that there is no reason for "changing boats in midstream."
The historical society suggests leaving the boats at their present site, placing them on a permanent foundation there,
painting them, and eventually
repairing them to the extent
where supervised tours could be
CLOSE TO MUSEUM
"Left where they are, the boats are close to the new museum and City Hall complex planned for 1967," the newsletter states.
"Preservation of at least a part of the old shipyard site, where these boats and many others were built and maintained, would be a significant part of the historical resources of the Yukon Territory," the society claims,
However, others say the present shipyard site has no park space around it, and visitors must cross the railroad tracks to reach the boats. Also, it is claimed that on the present location the boats cannot be protected from vandals.
The appeal to the federal government to move the Klondike was made by the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce Tourist Committee, and had the support of the community, the Star says.
When Hon. Arthur Laing, northern affairs minister, visited Whitehorse two years ago, a large sign was placed on the Klondike, asking: "Please Arthur, Take Me To My New Home."
The Star has expressed fear that Mr. Laing may be "annoyed by this last minute change" and refuse the funds to preserve the Klondike.