The Qualicum Beach Museum’s powerhouse will be restored to its original ‘glory and purpose’ in the coming years.
On Thursday, March 4, the museum announced it was awarded $123,500 as part of the provincial Unique Heritage Infrastructure Grant. Chris Lemphers, past president of the museum, confirmed it was the largest grant that the museum has ever received.
The awarded money will go towards the museum’s Heritage Powerhouse Conservation and Adaptive Repurposing Project, said Netanja Waddell, museum manager. The museum will work with contractors and the Town of Qualicum Beach on restoring the powerhouse to its original condition and appearance. The powerhouse, originally built in 1929, is one of 12 sites listed in Qualicum Beach as part of Canada’s Historical Places.
“So it’s good timing, too, that we’re having this done before the 100 year, then we can have a real celebration,” said Waddell.
Additionally, the museum plans to adapt the powerhouse for new uses, such as holding community events with guest speakers, for movies and fundraisers and to house permanent museum exhibits about power, energy and communications. The grant will also allow them the museum to create four transportable, interactive display pods that explore the historical and scientific themes to do with the building, like power energy and climate change.
Waddell described the future travelling pods as akin to large suitcases that can be opened and exhibited at the museum during the summer, and can travel to schools and other museums in the summer.
“We got a quote from a local contractor that was recommended by the town. And he came in last summer and gave us a very detailed 40-page plan with recommendations,” said Waddell.