Scraping and painting for Western Light

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier
Published on December 1, 2012

Western Light will look like brand new soon.

The staging and big white envelope around the westernmost lighthouse on Brier Island is to contain particles as Paragon Environmental removes lead-based paint.

Robert MacDonald, regional director for real property, safety and security with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans says lead-based paints were common on lighthouses.

“Historically lead based paint was used as a standard coating on commercial and residential structures because of its durability in harsh environments,” he said. “With the awareness of potential health and environment impacts associated with lead base paints, Fisheries and Oceans have undertaken a program to remove this lead based paint in areas where it is identified.”

Paragon should unveil their work by mid-December. The cost of the project is $98,970 plus HST.

History of Western Light

The first light here, built in 1809 was the first light on Nova Scotia’s southwestern coast.

In 1832 they built an octagonal wooden tower painted with the now familiar three red bands. A large fog signal building was added in 1873.

The wooden tower burnt in 1944 and was replaced with the current 60’ concrete tower.

The Shoreline News, published by Fundy Communities Development Association, recorded some history of the lighthouse’s construction when they spoke to Hamilton Longley of Hillsburn, Annapolis County.

In June 2008 they interviewed him on the occasion of his 104 birthday.

Hamilton told the Shoreline News how he helped build wooden forms and fill them with

cement in 1944.

“The forms were 6’ by 6’,” he said. “We built a tower close by and hoisted up cement by pulleys and ropes, then we ran the cement

over through a chute to the forms. The rest of the men were afraid to go up too far

and I was the only one who had “wings”. I carried the rest of the cement up the last

30 feet by myself.”