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Vandals force replacement of shingles at Maritime Discovery Centre lighthouse

Port Alberni museum building is losing its concrete shingles
Vandals have been peeling off the cement shingles on the backside of the Maritime Discovery Centre’s lighthouse. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

The Maritime Discovery Centre’s lighthouse gallery is getting a facelift, no thanks to some vandals who have been peeling off the concrete shingles from the back of the building.

The shingles were installed 22 years ago. “The thinking was they would be more resilient to the effects of the weather than cedar, which wasn’t the case,” said Port Alberni Maritime Heritage Society president Ken Watson.

“Folks have decided it’s ‘fun’ to rip them off.”

Nearly one-third of the backside of the lighthouse was exposed to the black roofing felt. The shingles will be replaced with metal cladding, which “shouldn’t look too different,” Watson said. A fresh coat of paint for the whole structure will help keep its aesthetic integrity.

Replacement of the cement shingles isn’t the only work done on the lighthouse lately. The membrane roof on top of the first stage of the lighthouse was recently replaced, Watson said. The $12,000 cost was offset by donations of $3,000 from the Port Alberni Port Authority and $3,600 from Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.

Port Alberni-based Javen Simon Roofing Ltd. performed an emergency repair on the roof last winter when it started to leak, then were able to replace the roof this past summer, he said.

“We’re hoping to get (the lighthouse) back looking like the iconic building it is.”

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Susie Quinn

About the Author: Susie Quinn

A journalist since 1987, I proudly serve as the Alberni Valley News editor.
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