The owner of the Edmonton Queen riverboat says the largest passenger ship on the North Saskatchewan River is ready to set sail again, after sitting for years. However, he’s still waiting on paperwork in order to do so.

“When I originally bought the boat I was quite happy to dig into a new project,” owner Jay Esterer said. “I have a love for Edmonton’s river valley, and a love for the history of Edmonton, I think the Edmonton Queen is an important component of that.”

Esterer bought the paddlewheeler at auction in May, 2016 – and he’s done extensive renovations on the craft.

Work has included upgrading plumbing, electrical, and the bow thruster, which Esterer said wasn’t working before. He said all four engines, two for propulsion and two to generate power, were working well.

Inside, he’s torn out the old floor and put in a new one, torn down a wall, and rebuilt the kitchen, installing a new bar and new wall coverings – he took inspiration from the boat itself, enlarging the blueprints and creating an original wall paper print.

Esterer said he’d love to fill the boat and take it up and down the river, but he can’t right now.

“It could move up and down right now, if we were allowed to,” Esterer said. “There’s enough water for it to travel up and down the river a bit.”

The owner said he’s still waiting on paperwork that would allow him to take on passengers.

City Councillor Ben Henderson said he believes the city could offer temporary approval to sail, once federal inspectors sign off on it.

“If they couldn’t sail and they fell into that temporary or permanent restaurant on the river, then it gets more complicated because it becomes a whole new zoning ball game,” Henderson said.

Esterer had another idea for the boat – that might make it easier to pull the boat out of the water for its inspection every five years: a specially designed boat ramp.

“This would allow us to do it in a permanent fashion, and take it out at a moment’s notice,” Esterer said.

The owner said the city still hasn’t decided on the ramp idea – for now, he’s still holding out some hope he’ll get clearance to show off the inside of the boat to customers at some point this fall.

With files from David Ewasuk