Petitions or plans submitted for 21 of 37 lighthouses deemed surplus by government
© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
The Point Prim lighthouse is the only round brick lighthouse in Canada and the oldest in Prince Edward Island. It was designed and built in 1845 by Isaac Smith, who also designed Province House.
The future of 21 lighthouses on Prince Edward Island looks very bright.
Five years ago, Ottawa declared 37 Island lighthouses surplus but invited interested local governments and community groups to submit a business plan if they were interested in operating them.
As of the June 1, 2013 deadline, 21 business plans have been submitted along with 12 other petitions for ownership.
Those 12 lighthouse petitioners have been given until 2015 to submit a business plan.
Carol Livingstone, president of the P.E.I. Lighthouse Society, believes the government will work with Islanders to place lighthouses in the right hands.
“The sooner the better. I believe strongly they are going to do all they can to get these lighthouses into the hands of caring people,” she said.
There are 63 existing lighthouses on Prince Edward Island, 13 of those are privately owned, while a municipality or community group owns another 11.
In the House of Commons June 4, Environment Minister Peter Kent said the lighthouse preservation program has been very successful.
Some of the business offers consider moving the lighthouses.
Livingstone is confident most, if not all, of the 37 lighthouses will be saved.
“It just says how much they care, we’re surrounded by water and the lighthouses have always been an important part of our history and also part of our future.”
The four lighthouses without a petition are Georgetown Back Range, Annandale Front Range, Brighton Beach Back Range and Warren Cove Back Range.
People think lighthouses aren't being used anymore, said Livingstone.
“To some degree they are. Smaller pleasure boats that don’t have the GPSs, they certainly still use them.”
She said lighthouses are the most unselfish form of architecture.
“Houses are built for ourselves and businesses are built for income. The lighthouses are there for everyone, it doesn’t matter what country, the rules are international. They are there to help everybody. To me they are a symbol of hope, help and guidance and there are beautiful to me.”