We wonder how many thousands of pictures have been taken of Sylvan Lake’s landmark lighthouse in the 25 years since its construction in 1988.
It’s certainly well recognized as synonymous with our fabulous lake culture and when working, with the light revolving, we’re sure it’s guided more than a few wayward people to the marina.
It’s octagonal shape appears on sketches, pictures and logos by many of the community’s artists, or for businesses and organizations. Wood carver Edward Mutemwa, who we interviewed this week, is planning to use the lighthouse to create souvenirs (see his story in next week’s paper). Others have already used the lighthouse concept in so many other ways.
Certainly it’s established itself as part of Sylvan Lake.
That’s why we’ll be sorry to see it come down later this fall. We understand concerns about the structure which suffered fire damage several years ago.
Saying that, we’re enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead for creation of another truly iconic symbol of Sylvan Lake.
We believe, as Mayor Susan Samson stated at Monday night’s council meeting, that the lighthouse has to be replaced.
The suggestion that the town gather thoughts and ideas from residents is a good one. After all the more minds that are set to thinking, the better the end product will be.
As a photographer who has captured the brilliant white sides and red cupola through all seasons, reflected in the water or in the night sky and we’ve given just a cursory amount of thought to what should happen.
But we’d like to offer one suggestion.
Recognizing that the Heart of Town Association, when it disbanded, left the town $100,000 in trust for a band shell or stage, we’d suggest melding of the two projects. There’s the seed money to raise more and see a truly unique structure created.
Let’s incorporate a raised band stand (perhaps up to three feet off the ground or maybe even higher to accommodate sound equipment below the stage), into the base on a new lighthouse situated on the pier. (That’s right, not at the marina.)
Explore the idea that the musicians’ area could be open for performances but enclosed on all sides with plexiglass or some other type of suitable clear see-through product when it’s not in use. Perhaps not all sides need to be open during performances. It could become a viewing platform for water events or fireworks. Perhaps a place for small functions.
Of course the lighthouse needs to be functioning so the light can call people to the beach. Maybe it could be used to attract attention, much as years ago huge spot lights were used criss-crossing the sky to attract people to certain businesses.
We’ll leave the logistics to engineers to determine if our idea is feasible.
But in the meantime we encourage all residents to take a look at the lighthouse before it disappears, and consider what you’d like to see as a suitable landmark for our community beside the water.