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Things are taking shape in Alert Bay

Crews have been busy constructing five cultural landmarks at the Government Wharf in Alert Bay. The First Nations poles are part of the ‘Namgis’ plans to improve the waterfront in the village. - Photo submitted
Crews have been busy constructing five cultural landmarks at the Government Wharf in Alert Bay. The First Nations poles are part of the ‘Namgis’ plans to improve the waterfront in the village.
— image credit: Photo submitted

There has been a lot of hammering going on at the government dock, and structures are taking shape.

The five large wooden pole structures are called Awakwes by the ‘Namgis First Nation.

Historically, Awakwes were used as meeting places for chiefs. The building of the Awakwes is part of the ‘Namgis First Nation Waterfront Improvement Project in Alert Bay.

The Awakwes are not only historical in nature, they also will beautify the waterfront of the ‘Namgis Reserve.

Once the initial Awakwe structures are completed, they will be barged over to the ‘Namgis Reserve where the brackets will be welded onto the galvanized plates on top of the columns.

Two of the Awakwes will be placed along the new boardwalk and the remaining three will be standing between the end of the boardwalk and the U’mista Cultural Centre.

After installation, benches will be put into place and then a roof made of cedar shakes will be added.

The red cedar was milled by Stevie Beans; the floor timbers have been pressure treated.

An opening ceremony is expected to take place once the Awakwes are in position to celebrate the completion of the waterfront improvement.

The Awakwes are being constructed by local Alert Bay contractors Dave Lesie and Neil Langille along with Les Harris, Richard Smith Jr.  and Henry Scow.

“Community input was important to this project” said Wayne Cook.

“Several community meetings were held at the council hall before building took place.”

– By Robin Quirk

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