NANAIMO — It stands watch over the Nanaimo harbour like a beacon, having served city residents since the Hudson’s Bay Company followed coal up the coast from Victoria in the early 1850s.
The Bastion, in its 36-foot-high, octagonal glory, is currently undergoing a $300,000 renovation that will inevitably save its life. Anyone with concerns about what dismantling the 157-year-old icon of Nanaimo’s history will do to its integrity can rest easy – to the untrained eye, most of the work will remain a mystery.
The structure, which has served as a trading post, a stronghold, a jail, office space, and most recently, an interactive museum, has suffered considerable wood rot, mainly on its southeast facing, says Debbie Trueman, general manager for the Nanaimo Museum.
In areas where the surface material was removed, weather was allowed to penetrate the posts and wall logs. An unsympathetic repair in which cement – a water-wicking material – was used to patch filler between the logs made the problem worse.