People visiting the Point Prim lighthouse outside Digby will find it looking much more welcoming in the coming months.
The Friends of Point Prim have got the money they need to start fixing up the lighthouse and the property around it just outside Digby.
The association received $30,000 from Heritage Canada’s Runciman Endowment Fund. Lighthouses in Digby, Annapolis and Kings Counties were eligible to receive a one-time grant for repairs and conservation.
Gordon Wilson, chair of the Friends of Point Prim, says work should begin this fall on a gravel parking lot big enough for cars and tour busses.
They will also use the money for planning and building an accessible entrance and trails on the property.
The Friends will put up some signs for the parking lot, warning signs near the cliffs, as well as interpretative signage around the lighthouse property.
Next spring, work will begin on sprucing up the lighthouse itself. Contractors will replace the vinyl siding with cedar shingles, they will power spray, parge and repoint the concrete, and repaint the tower.
“This money makes it possible to get right to work on preserving this lighthouse,” says Wilson. “It lets us build some momentum and get our business plan off the ground. We would have got there but this is a nice present.”
The current lighthouse and the 25 foot tower date from 1964. It is the fourth light to be built on the site. The first was built in 1804 and burned in 1808. It was replaced in 1817 by a pentagonal tower with a dwelling attached. It burned in 1873 and was replaced in 1875 with a square wooden tower with a dwelling attached. In 1964 that tower and dwelling were demolished and pushed off the cliff.
Heritage Canada intended the Runciman Fund to encourage local groups to come forward to acquire and preserve lighthouses. One condition of the divestiture program is that the lighthouse groups have “a business plan demonstrating how the community plans to fund, protect and maintain the structure over the long term.”