By: Korie Marshall

A replica lighthouse, complete with working light, has been installed at the Valemount Marina. It will both honour some long-time members of the Marina Association, and help boaters locate the safe haven of the marina in dark or foul weather, says Owen Torgeson, president of the Valemount Marina Association.

The lighthouse was unveiled Saturday morning, August 30, with a ribbon cutting ceremony performed by Joan Nordli, while family members of those honoured and other members of the community looked on. The lighthouse honours Donna Schnell, Barb Denhke, Louie Bobke, Sandy MacLean, Carol Bobke, Gail Brown, Bob MacKenzie, Harry Partridge, Eugene Blanchette, Paul Lorieau, James Nordli, Bob Beeson and Ray Brown, and sits near the bench installed on the point to honour John Kettle.

“It’s hard to see his name on there,” said Marg MacKenzie, who was caretaker of the marina campgrounds with her husband Bob for many years. Other family members took pictures with the lighthouse, and close-ups of the plaques honouring their loved ones.

After the ceremony, Torgerson explained the idea for a memorial of some sort had been around for some time, but Nordli offered $500 towards it early this summer, and the Griffin family offered some as well. The board had been discussing the need to have some sort of light to comply with the navigable waters regulations, and when they learned that Norm Jackson, this year’s caretaker of the marina campsites, had built replica lighthouses before, things came together, said Torgerson.

Jackson, with help from Arnold Schmitz and board members, built the lighthouse out of plywood and fibreglass. The light on top is solar powered, and comes with an internal photo sensor that turns on at dusk. Torgerson and Jackson were hoping to have the light flash, but are still working on finding the correct light.

The Valemount Marina Association was started in the late 1970’s, after the completion of Mica Dam created Kinbasket Reservoir. The association’s records contain minutes of a meeting on March 28, 1978, called the Canoe Marina Association, which took place at Harry Partridge’s residence. Also present were Bob Griffin, Bob Beeson, Mike Osadchuk, Wayne Schnell, Hank Tchir, Nick Taylor and Sandy MacLean, and representatives from the Ministry of Fish and Wildlife and BC Hydro and Power Authority. In its earliest constitution from 1980, the organization is called the Valemount Marina Association.