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Sault set to sell M.S. Norgoma for the price of a second-hand trombone

Sale will save the city $40 a day in docking fees
This used trombone was selling earlier today in SooToday’s classifieds for $2,500. That’s how much the city hopes to get from selling the M.S. Norgoma to a retired shipbreaker for his personal use

Pride of the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront until the Trans-Canada Highway was completed in 1962, M.S. Norgoma is about to be sold for just $2,500 to a retired ship salvager.

City council will be asked today to approve sale of the 188-foot former package freighter/passenger ferry/museum ship to Jeff Dwor, former owner of the Dwor Metal Co. Ltd. of Port Colborne, Ont.

"He has sold this business but is looking at the M.S. Norgoma as a personal project and renovating for private use," says Tom Vair, the city's deputy chief administrative officer for community development and enterprise services.

"Recently, Mr. Jeff Dwor came forward with interest in acquiring the vessel. He flew to Sault Ste. Marie, toured the vessel and is interested in proceeding to acquire the M.S. Norgoma," Vair says in a report prepared for Monday's city council meeting.

$2,500 isn't much. There was a used trombone selling earlier today for that sum in SooToday Classifieds, but getting rid of the controversial 72-year-old ship will save the city $40 a day in dockage fees it's been paying since 2019 for a spot at the Algoma Steel docks that's inaccessible to the public. 

The city had planned to sell the rusty relic to The Sweet Shop in Tobermory, but that deal sank like a baby fed on starch when the confectioner couldn't find a berth in the municipal marina there.

"Since that time, staff has been trying to find a new location for the M.S. Norgoma while also obtaining estimates to decommission the vessel," says Vair.

"Since The Sweet Shop terminated their agreement, staff have had a number of conversations with different organizations and groups interested in the vessel. Three groups came forward but all backed off for various reasons."

"While it may be preferable to have a public use of the vessel, the option of selling the vessel to Mr. Dwor provides a solution for the M.S. Norgoma that can save the city significant costs."

"A recently updated budget for decommissioning the vessel is $275,000-$325,000."

"Since the time of entering negotiations with Mr. Dwor, other parties have come forward to express interest in the vessel. Staff let them know that should the agreement with Mr. Dwor not proceed, they will follow up for further discussions."

"Mr. Dwor has significant experience in the marine industry and understands how to relocate and manage the vessel responsibly," Vair said.

Five years ago, Dwor made headlines when he tried, unsuccessfully, to sell bollards to the City of Port Colborne.

If city council approves the sale, Dwor says he'll take possession of the Norgoma sometime in May.

Today's city council meeting will be livestreamed on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.

— SooToday