Point Atkinson Gets New Display and Much Needed Repairs – Report by Elaine Graham
New Display at the Power House
As part of its mandate to provide and maintain interpretive information on the importance of Point Atkinson as a coastal defence station during the Second World War, the West Vancouver Historical Society (WVHS) has installed a three panel historical display inside the former Power House.
This concrete block building, situated on the lower lawn below the lighthouse, once housed the diesel engines that powered its two searchlights.
The display depicts the role of the military presence at the light station during World War Two. The first public viewing took place during our guided tours on Sunday, February 23, 2020, during B.C. Heritage Week.
This project was made possible thanks to the West Vancouver Foundation’s generous contribution of funds and the volunteer work of our society.
Our thanks for their help in creating the display to the West Vancouver Archives are extended to Dr. Peter Moogk, military historian and author of “Vancouver Defended”, David Broughton, WVHS member and military buff, and Robert Godard, grandson of lighthouse keeper Ernest Dawe from 1935-1946.
Point Atkinson’s wharf was built by the Canadian Army during the war. After the war, it became integral to the service of the light station as a helicopter pad and landing dock for the Canadian Coast Guard and Dept. of Fisheries & Oceans.
Unfortunately, a dramatic storm on December 20, 2018 completely demolished its mid-section.
WVHS expressed serious concern after Fisheries & Oceans Canada announced it had no further use for the dock and intended to demolish it.
On January 9, 2020, our society was very pleased to learn that Fisheries & Oceans Canada plans to have the dock partially repaired to make it safe for a specific load and to ensure that its profile and configuration stays the same from a heritage integrity perspective.
As part of the restoration work, the former boat house and annex, see photo, will be demolished and removed. The boathouse, constructed after the Second World War to house a light station boat, has not been used since the 1980s and has fallen into a dilapidated condition. The annex on the south side of the boathouse was built temporarily for a film shoot in the 1990s.
Work is expected to commence soon, depending on weather and materials.
WVHS extends a special thanks to Elaine Graham for her passion, commitment, persistence and untiring advocacy to bring attention to the preservation and important historical significance of Point Atkinson. Without Elaine at the helm, none of this would happen!