Wellington Scoop

Petition wants to keep historic boat at Queens Wharf

sealion petition

Dylan Pyle, right, and Simon van der Zeyden have launched a petition to keep the Sealion on the waterfront. Picture: Yann Kohout.

by Yann Kohout
A petition has been launched to oppose the removal of an historic ship that has become a centre of youth and music on Wellington waterfront.

The residents and owner of the Sealion, a former minesweeper docked at Queen’s Wharf, have been told by the Wellington City Council it will be towed away by April 21.

Sealion resident and gig promoter Dylan Pyle said the decision was not fair because none of the residents were consulted face to face.

“I feel like it’s a misuse of power; the council is a public entity, they should act in the interest of their citizens especially when it comes to decision-making processes. From our perspective, we don’t feel like it has happened.”

He felt devoted to defending the community which had nurtured this space.

“They have given a lot to us and I am here to represent the people that want to keep this creative space alive.”

Pyle said the boat was of cultural significance to the Wellington music scene and helped promote free council events.

WCC has recently taken over the management of the Queen’s Wharf berths from CentrePort. It has decided not to offer a renewed berthage to the Sealion due to its unseaworthiness. CentrePort is to tow the vessel to Glasgow Wharf, an industrial area with no public or residential access, until the owner can take it to Nelson for repairs.

Pyle and other residents disputed that the vessel was unseaworthy, saying that should be determined by a proper survey.

Owner Selwyn Findley said the WCC communicated only to him but did not consult the residents early enough.

“I guess the surprise factor was a bit unsettling, the time between notifying me and the proposed move is only about three weeks, which enables me to be organised, but the guys on board were not allowed enough time to find alternative lodgings, plus the fact that they have events planned.”

WCC spokesperson Richard Mclean said it was aware of the Sealion’s community and cultural significance but the vessel remained too much at risk of sinking. “We know about the community that revolves around it and we’ve seen the petition but we are not convinced it will never sink again, even with repairs. The vessel is not an integral part of Queen’s Wharf.”

Petition: https://www.sealion.co.nz/savethesealion/

Read also: Occupants sad about moving ship after 18 years at Queens Wharf

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