Restoration Phase 2

Restoration: PHASE 2 DETAILS

TIMING:  January 2017 to June 2017


    • Donations from SPLPS members/supporters
    • Westaway Charitable Foundation — donation

To view the comprehensive Final Restoration Report (Phases 1 to 3), please click here.

Concrete Restoration on Tower Interior

RATIONALE:  While the condition assessment found the tower structure to be in relatively good shape overall, it did identify the need for some concrete repairs on the interior walls and landings.  In some areas, the concrete was flaking and falling away, in other areas it was soft and spongy.  This is due both to the age of the structure and slow ingress of moisture resulting (primarily) from leaks on the lantern room above.  Restoring these damaged areas of concrete failure was critical to retaining the structural integrity of the tower.

HERITAGE CONTEXT:  As the reinforced concrete tower is one of the primary “character defining elements” of the heritage site, great care and diligence had to be taken to ensure that the concrete restoration work maintained the heritage values and character of the tower as well as protecting (as much as possible) the original, intact, concrete fabric. Accordingly, a “patching” approach was adopted, identifying and restoring only the concrete areas which were compromised, and protecting the remainder of the original fabric.

ACTIONS TAKEN:  A comprehensive assessment of the concrete stability was undertaken, and every patch of soft or failing concrete identified. 

The old concrete in these areas was then chipped out and replaced with new concrete (including additional re-bar where necessary) and blended to match the existing concrete. 

Note:  it was unknown whether the existing paint coverage contained lead, but it was suspected, and so the work was done (and the removed concrete waste treated) as though it was hazardous material.  This work was undertaken by Island Applicators Ltd., of Sooke & Victoria, BC).

Concrete Restoration on Base of Engine Room

RATIONALE AND HERITAGE CONTEXT:  A number of areas of surface deterioration in the concrete base of the engine room were identified, and were in need of restoration.  In particular, the concrete steps leading up to the engine room were in relatively poor condition, with extensive flaking and cracking.  Because the engine room is one of the character defining elements of heritage value, it was determined that a minimalist approach  would be most appropriate, as with the tower, to address only the specific areas of concrete failure while protecting the remainder.

ACTIONS TAKEN:  A close inspection was made of the entire engine room and its base, and all areas of concern identified.  Failing concrete and areas around gaps and cracks were chipped out, back to solid concrete, and replaced with new concrete.

Upon analysis, the three concrete steps leading up to the engine room were determined to be of different heights, and not up to current standards.  However, rather than adjusting the step heights to meet the new standards it was decided to give priority to the heritage values and restore the steps in their original dimensions (and provide a cautionary sign if necessary).

The concrete work was done by Island Applicators.

Corrosion Removal on Lantern Room

Rationale:  The lantern room, which traditionally houses the lens for the lighthouse beacon, is the focal point of the Lighthouse.  The condition assessment identified serious corrosion, mostly due to weather and to ingress of moisture within the lantern room.  While the main wall plates were in acceptable condition, the window frames, door, exterior rails and ladders and parts of the roof appeared to be in much poorer condition and in need of more detailed analysis.  Potentially, some of these elements would need to be rebuilt or even replaced.  Without this work, the integrity of the entire structure would  be compromised, and would be unsafe for the Society to maintain.

Heritage context:  As this is, perhaps, the most sensitive and noticeable component of the heritage character of the Lighthouse, (and one of the primary “character defining elements” of the Statement of Significance) great care had to be taken to ensure that the restoration plans maintained the heritage values and character of the lantern room. 

Lantern room, showing extent of exterior corrosion
Detail of exterior corrosion on lantern room door
Interior corrosion on supporting strut
Lighthouse dome with most corrosion removed

ACTIONS TAKEN:  The first task was to determine the extent of corrosion in key components of the lantern room – in particular, the upright struts holding up the roof and windows.  Surface corrosion was obvious but determining the extent of internal corrosion required one of the struts to be removed, cut open and examined more closely.  Fortunately, there was no interior corrosion, and it was determined that the struts were structurally sound and did not need to be replaced.  This work was completed by John Dam and Associates, with the assistance of Island Applicators.

It was also decided that the surface corrosion would best be removed by hand-grinding, rather than using more severe (albeit faster) techniques such as sand blasting.  It was anticipated that this project would take some months to complete.  The work was started during this phase, and extended into phase 3.  This work was done by Island Applicators.

Also, as most of the corrosion removal was on the exterior of the lantern room, it was necessary to install scaffolding so that the work could be completed safely.  The scaffolding was also completed encased in hoarding, to prevent the dust and debris from contaminating the site or falling into the ocean beneath.  The scaffolding was installed by Great West Scaffolding Ltd., of Victoria.

INTERESTING NOTE:   When the corrosion was removed from the dome at the top of the lighthouse (and, with it, numerous layers of paint) it was discovered that the dome was made of copper.  This was previously unknown to us and was a delightful revelation!

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