Restoration Phase 1

Restoration: PHASE 1 DETAILS

TIMING:  October 2015 to December 2016


    •  Collected/saved donations from SPLPS members/supporters
    • Parks Canada grant (transition funding provided when the Lighthouse was transferred to the Society)
    • Dr. Marvin Caruthers — donation
    •  Westaway Charitable Foundation — donation
    • Capital Regional District — Juan de Fuca Electoral Area (gas tax fund), applied to the road upgrades only

Planning and Assessment

RATIONALE AND HERITAGE CONTEXT:  The project was to be undertaken in keeping with the best heritage and environmental practices, and in accordance with the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.  All significant heritage projects require solid planning and strategic direction to ensure compliance.

ACTIONS TAKEN:  The first task was to appoint a project manager – Ian Fawcett of Change Canada Consultants Ltd., a local environmental/heritage consultant who had worked with the Society for years – to develop a strategic approach to the restoration, as well as detailed plans for how the work would be carried out.  A broad strategy was developed, with details added incrementally as the project proceeded and additional understanding of the site’s needs and conditions was uncovered. It was recognized that the amount of work would necessitate a project spanning several years and, given the uncertainty of funding support, would best be completed in phases.  Also, it was important to the Society that this project also be seen as a “local economic development” initiative, and accordingly it was specified that preference would be given to local contractors (where possible) to undertake the work. 

It was also determined that, from a heritage perspective, the following criteria should apply:

  • given the extent of changes to the site over the years, the “target” for the restoration would be to focus on the period that the Lighthouse was de-staffed (i.e. 1989), prior to it beginning to deteriorate.
  •  the area to the south of the lower fence (i.e. the causeway and the area around the historic structures) would be designated the “heritage zone”, in which no amendments would be made unless deemed essential from a heritage conservation perspective; and the area north of the lower fence (i.e. the rest of the site) would be designated as the “support zone”, in which amendments could be made which were in support of visitor management and safety and/or which contributed to the project’s conservation objectives.
John Dam assessing the corrosion in the lantern room

Also, at the outset, a CONDITION ASSESSMENT of the physical structure of the Lighthouse was undertaken.  This was done by John Dam & Associates (based in Victoria, BC).  Overall, the condition was determined to be relatively good (for a 100 year old structure exposed to the elements), with the greatest concerns being corrosion in the lantern room, and some concrete restoration that would be necessary.  To view the Condition Assessment Report, please click here.

Erosion Control

RATIONALE AND HERITAGE CONTEXT:  A “pinch-point” along the causeway access to the Lighthouse was eroding.  This area had been eroding for years, due to weather and water action, and would have continued to erode to the point that access to the Lighthouse structures may have been severed if remedial action was not taken.  The area was, originally, a gully and a direct pathway access to the Lighthouse was not possible.  It was filled in during the early years of operation, and has been refilled over the years.  At one point (in the 1960s) concrete topping was poured over the fill on the east side – this is now largely gone.

ACTIONS TAKEN:  A new retaining wall made of stacked boulders was built along the western side of the erosion area (installed by 4M Bobcat and Trucking Ltd., of Sooke, BC); a reinforced concrete retaining wall was installed on the eastern side of the area, with additional fill placed in behind it (work done by Clarkston Construction Ltd., also of Sooke).

Erosion area along causeway
Retaining walls on east side (left) and west side (above) of causeway

Restoration of Electrical Power

RATIONALE AND HERITAGE CONTEXT:  Electrical power to the site had been cut off, the power lines and underground cables were corroded or damaged beyond repair.  Power has always been provided on site (either by on-site generation or from the external hydro grid).  In recent years, the limited needs of the navigational beacon and weather station had been met with solar panels attached to the Lighthouse tower.  Without additional, and a more reliable, power supply (for, at least, low-level heating) the historic structures, especially the lantern room,  would continue to deteriorate.  Also, it would not be possible to use the historic structures as part of the public access program or site operations without, at least, some power for lighting. 

The Lighthouse site, when it was a functioning Lighthouse, was a pragmatic industrial operation, using current and appropriate technology to meet its needs.  The restoration of power using contemporary technology is in keeping with this approach.

ACTIONS TAKEN:  A 24-Panel (265-watt) solar array was installed in an area just north of the lower field.  The site for the panels was filled, leveled, and compacted by 4M Bobcat and Trucking, and the ballast, frames and panels were installed by Viridian Energy Co-op (Sooke, BC).  A protective fence was installed around the entire array by Good Neighbours Fencing Ltd. of Shirley, BC.

Once the array had been installed it was connected by underground cable to a newly constructed electrical shed, containing the backup batteries, control panels, inverters and other necessary equipment.  The new power supply was also connected back to the BC Hydro grid, via overhead lines, as a backup (it also allows surplus power to be fed back into the grid). 

Also, the previous corroded power cables connecting to the Lighthouse structures were removed and replaced with new power (and communications) cables through underground trenching.  All the electrical work was completed by Otter Point Electric (now Shirley Electric), of Shirley, BC.

The electrical shed was designed by Vivi Curutchet, and constructed by Minten Woodworks, both of Shirley, BC. It was specifically designed to recapture the appearance of the original wooden structures at the site (boat shed and fog-alarm building).

Safety Upgrades

RATIONALE AND HERITAGE CONTEXT:  As a steep, partially forested, natural area situated on a rocky coastline, the Sheringham Point site inherently has many natural hazards.  Also, the construction of the lighthouse, essentially, on a cliff-edge introduces additional hazards due to the proximity of dangerous terrain.  While there are some safety precautions (e.g. hand-rails and fences) already in place, they were designed primarily for the protection of Lighthouse employees, and other incidental visitors in the course of the Lighthouse operations.  With the transition of the site to a community park, welcoming significant numbers of visitors of all ages and abilities, it was necessary to review and upgrade all safety precautions.  As the existing hand rails, fences and paths are all part of the historic fabric of the site, considerable care had to be taken to introduce new  safety measures that were compatible with, and did not substantively alter the historic elements or their appearance.

ACTIONS TAKEN:  A new, small section of concrete pathway was installed in front of the engine room, connecting the existing pathway from the engine room stairs to the pathway along the east side of the engine room, in order to cover a serious tripping hazard (due to weather erosion of the previous dirt pathway). This work was done by Clarkston Construction.

Also, a 1″ galvanized chain was connected, as a handrail, into the stanchions along both sides of the causeway.  (Chain had previously been used as a handrail, but had been removed at some point).  To facilitate use of this handrail, it was also necessary to move the stanchions along the eastern edge of the causeway approximately half a metre toward the path (so it could be reached by users).  This work was done by Good Neighbours Fencing.

Other safety upgrades were delayed until after restoration work was completed on the existing handrails and historic structures.

Road Upgrades

RATIONALE AND HERITAGE CONTEXT:  Sheringham Point Road is the only designated access road to the Lighthouse site (via the parking area).  The lower portion of the road (approximately 500 m) was unpaved, and had been chip-sealed many years previously.  It was in generally poor condition, with severe potholes in some sections, and in need of significant upgrades.  Sheringham Point Road has always been the land-based access route to the Lighthouse site (ever since the road was constructed at the initiative of lightkeeper Eustace Arden during his tenure), and it was important to maintain that access road from a heritage perspective as well.

ACTIONS TAKEN: An assessment of the road condition was undertaken by Herold Engineering (Victoria, BC), who made recommendations for upgrades, design adjustments and signage.  Based on those recommendations, the road was re-graded and filled where necessary (work done by Rumsby Construction Ltd. of Sooke), and then chip-sealed (work done by Shades Tankers Ltd, of Victoria).  As this is mostly a one-lane roadway, several pull-out areas were added, to faciltate passing.  Several directional signs and speed limit signs were fabricated and installed in key locations along the route.

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