Egmont's history of fishing, logging and First Nations culture will be preserved for future generations now that the community's heritage centre has opened.
The Skookumchuck Heritage Society, which formed in 1994, has been working towards the dream of a heritage centre up until its long-awaited opening to the public June 17. Displays of First Nations archaeological artifacts, the area's natural history, fishing and logging gear, engines and antique bottles and glass take visitors back in time to Egmont's early days.
"This is a community museum," society president Billy Griffith told the crowd of supporters witnessing the grand opening.
The society's vice-president Geoff Craig facilitated the work of local contractors to get the centre built. Contractors volunteered some of their time and local construction suppliers offered discounts on materials along the way.The museum sits at 6671 Egmont Road, where a roadside sign went up the day before the opening to draw people in. The site, across from Skookumchuck Provincial Park, also has public washroom facilities, free parking and a gift shop.
"Really what this is all about is a lot of hard work by the community," said Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) chair John Rees. He especially recognized the efforts of Griffith and Craig. Rees is extending an invitation to everyone on the Coast to visit the new centre. The centre shows the co-operation of all levels of government, noted Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons. The SCRD will provide operational funding through its museum function. The federal government's Softwood Industry Community Economic Adjustment Initiative granted funds in 2004 through the Coast's Community Futures Development Corporation. The site's land is leased from the provincial government.
"It's now putting Egmont on the map for a different reason than fishing," Sechelt Indian Band Chief Stan Dixon said of the centre. He presented Rees with a talking stick on behalf of the Band.
The centre is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week during the summer. Admission is $3 for adults, $1 per child.