Protection sought for Oak Bay landmark

Trial Island lighthouse subject of push for federal protection

Heritage advocates from Oak Bay will apply to have the Trial Island lighthouse guarded under the federal Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act.

Heritage advocates from Oak Bay will apply to have the Trial Island lighthouse guarded under the federal Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act.

A group of Oak Bay heritage advocates is looking to preserve one of the municipality’s most iconic landmarks for generations to come.

The Trial Island lighthouse was built in 1906, and is one of 27 lighthouses in the province that are permanently staffed. Though it is not currently in danger of being shut down or defunded, there has been plenty of debate in recent years at the federal level about the future of Canada’s lighthouses, including the one on Trial Island.

That uncertainty has led the Oak Bay Heritage Foundation to launch a campaign to have the signal tower and its associated buildings registered under the federal government’s Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (HLPA).

“They’re very much part of Oak Bay’s and Victoria’s heritage,” said foundation member Gwen Ewan, who is spearheading the cause. “They’re part of the fabric of our community. They’re part of what makes us a maritime community.”

The Trial Islands themselves are designated as an ecological reserve by BC Parks, but there is currently no such protection for the structures which sit on the rocky surface of the largest island.

Under the HLPA, citizens can nominate a lighthouse for protection by collecting at least 25 signatures on a petition which will then be submitted to Parks Canada for consideration. The foundation set up a booth at the Bowker Creek Brush-Up this past Sunday (Aug. 7) to do just that.

“Light stations are an important part of Canadian heritage,” said Meredith Dickman, who has been the lightkeeper on Trial Island for the last six and a half years. “They’re a source of identity for the mariners on the east and west coasts and a very strong part of the West Coast heritage.”

The specific location of the Trial Island lighthouse is of particular significance, Dickman added.

“It’s the first thing that mariners and recreational boaters see when they are coming through and visiting Victoria and Vancouver,” she said. “Even the whale watching boats come by and tour around Trial Island.”

When completed, the petition and all related documents will be sent to Parks Canada, which will review all the applications for HLPA designation before deciding which lighthouses are worthy of protecting. That review concludes in May 2012. A final announcement won’t be made until May 2015.

Despite the long wait, Ewan is optimistic about Trial Island’s chances.

“As of May 30, 56 lighthouses across Canada have been nominated,” she said. “Parks Canada identified 35 that they thought were protection-worthy, and ours is one of those 35, so I think it’s pretty likely to get the protection.”

editor@oakbaynews.com

Just Posted

VicPd are asking for the public’s help in finding Camper, a lost pit bull who ran away after their owner’s van was reportedly attacked by a man with a hammer on June 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Edmonton man reportedly smashes van’s windows with hammer while woman and her dog inside

VicPD are asking for help to find Camper, the woman’s dog who ran away during the Friday incident

Red arrow shows the existing warehouse that is home to a variety of specialized equipment used by the Capital Region Emergency Services Telecommunications (CREST). The service provider is looking for a new home that will protect the equipment in the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster. (Google Maps)
CREST telecoms look to find a post-seismic facility in Greater Victoria

The move will better protect equipment vital to its 50 emergency service clients across the CRD

A client and a staff member embark on an art project at Oak Bay United Church. (Christine van Reewyk/News Staff)
VIDEO: Oak Bay group of adults with developmental disabilities promotes community inclusivity

Victoria Community Connections moved to Oak Bay late last year

(Black Press Media file photo)
FRESH AND LOCAL: Greater Victoria farm markets ready to greet shoppers

A list of markets on the go this spring and summer, right into fall

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Most Read