Increased Mobility, Historical And Indigenous Elements To Be Included In Heritage Site Enhancement Project
SOOKE – The Sheringham Point Lighthouse, a key historical landmark in Shirley, is receiving funds from the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET)’s DIVERSIFY Capital and Innovation Program to improve its visitor experience and reach by adding historical elements, interpretive information and access improvements.
Led by the Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society (SPLPS), enhancements to the public use site will help transform a devolved National Heritage Lighthouse into a vibrant tourism asset. The year-round amenity, located in the area known as the “Graveyard of the Pacific”, has attracted 25,000 sightseers annually over the past three years. Increased use has highlighted the need and opportunity to capitalize on this, more than century-old, structure.
“Improving cultural sites on Vancouver Island’s west coast is an integral part of diversifying the region’s economy by appealing to new visitor groups,” says ICET Board Chair Aaron Stone. “This project allows the site to incorporate valuable historical information and artefacts, and increase accessibility, which will make it more meaningful and engaging for both visitors and locals.”
The Sheringham Point Lighthouse Historic Site Enhancements project includes several components that will expand the visitor experience.
- To create a more enriching and unique visit, a new Interpretive Centre will be built to hold and display key historical artefacts, including a reconstructed Fresnel lens and restored foghorn.
- Outside, a covered display will be built to showcase larger historical artefacts. To facilitate movement from the Centre to the viewpoints, two additional trail spurs will be constructed, as well as a new wheelchair accessible viewing platform and reconfigured site entrance.
- The existing interpretive plaza will be expanded and enhanced in partnership with T’Sou-ke First Nation to include Indigenous historical elements.
“This initiative builds on strong community and public support for preserving our cultural amenities through a more inclusive and expansive approach to heritage conservation that can appeal to a broader range of visitor ages and backgrounds,” says John Walls, SPLPS Vice-President. “By helping visitors engage more deeply in our history, including our Indigenous roots, we are providing a unique, sustainable and world-class year-round attraction that can complement other historic sites in the area.”
There has been broad community support for the project over the years demonstrated through consistent fundraising efforts and private donations upwards of 5000 donors at a time.
Project works on the Sheringham Lighthouse are expected to get underway shortly.