Digby municipality accepts Bear River, Point Prim and Boars Head lighthouses

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier jriley@digbycourier.ca
Published on October 8, 2014
Point Prim opening

Published on 20 May 2014

&nbsp; <p>Robert Hersey, chair of the Friends of Point Prim, offered scallops to celebrate the completion of a $30,000 project to fix up the lighthouse and the surrounding property.</p>

Photos by Jonathan Riley

Point Prim

Published on 30 December 2013

<p>Mathew Lent smoothed the parking lot and created gravel paths around the Point Prim lighthouse property.</p>

Photos by Jonathan Riley

As Simple as That

Published on 19 September 2013

<p>The view of Point Prim is even more dramatic from just one cove west.</p>

Photos by Jonathan Riley

Point Prim

Published on 20 November 2012

Photos by Jonathan Riley

Point Prim

Published on 20 November 2012

Photos by Jonathan Riley

Point Prim

Published on 20 November 2012

<p>The Friends of Point Prim unveiled this welcome sign in September 2011.</p>

Photos by Jonathan Riley

Point Prim

Published on 20 November 2012

<p>Friends of Point Prim, Greg Turner, Gordon Wilson, Doug Brown and Rob Hersey, are looking forward to seeing the Point Prim Lighthouse fixed up and painted.</p>

Photos by Jonathan Riley

Althouse Look off dedication

Published on 02 August 2013

<p>The road to the Boar’s Head Lighthouse near Tiverton has been cleared and will be open all summer.</p>

Photos by Jonathan Riley

Digby County's newest trail

Published on 19 July 2013

Boar's Head Lighthouse near Tiverton.

Photos by Jonathan Riley

Althouse Look off in Tiverton

Published on 08 July 2013

<p>Lawrence Outhouse would like to see the look off and lighthouse property be preserved and developed into a park.</p>

Photos by Jonathan Riley

Althouse Look off in Tiverton

Published on 08 July 2013

<p>Lawrence Outhouse watches the ferry cross Petit Passage to East Ferry from the big rock at the old Tiverton look off.</p>

Photos by Jonathan Riley

Boar's Head

Published on 08 October 2014

Boar's Head Lighthouse

Photos by Jonathan Riley

Boar's Head

Published on 08 October 2014

Boar's Head Lighthouse

Photos by Jonathan Riley

Boar's Head

Published on 08 October 2014

Photos by Jonathan Riley

Bear River Lighthouse

Published on 08 October 2014

Photos by Jonathan Riley

DIGBY - Three lighthouses will soon finally be under local ownership.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) formally and officially offered the Bear River lighthouse, the Point Prim lighthouse and the Boar’s Head lighthouse properties to the Municipality of the District of Digby in September.

 “DFO sent us three large packages of documentation,” said deputy CAO of the municipality, Jeff Sunderland. “Council accepted the offer and signed it and we’ve returned those documents. The next step is we just wait to receive notice that we own the properties.”

DFO is also including $75,000, to be split three ways, for the upkeep and maintenance of the sites.

The municipality will own the properties but local organizations in each community will be looking after them.

Dorothy Gray is the secretary with the Bear River Lighthouse Preservation Society and she says it has been a long hard struggle to get ownership of the lighthouse.

“The federal government has just thrown up so much red tape,” she said. “We’re just exhausted now – it’s been 12 years we’ve been trying to do something to fix it up.”

 

[Bear River Lighthouse story from 2009 when indications they may have turned over the lighthouse in 2010]

Gray said the plans were to improve the road and clear back brush and open up some of the view to the Annapolis Basin.

“It’s a nice place with beautiful views to just go and eat your lunch, sit and relax, we just want to clean it up and maybe put a picnic table or some flower boxes,” she said.

Gray says the association will wait to hear the municipality has ownership for sure before they call another public meeting looking for volunteers.

Kendall Ossinger, president of the Tiverton Central Grove Heritage Association, also says they have been waiting “quite a few years” to start looking after the Boar’s Head lighthouse.

He says once the municipality acquires the property they need to sit down and draft an agreement for the TCGHA to look after the site.

“We don’t have a key to that lighthouse but I hear it won’t be long and we’ll be able to actually get in there and do something,” said Ossinger.

The TCGHA has a meeting with DFO and representatives of the Runciman Fund today Wednesday, Oct. 8

Heritage Canada’s Runciman Endowment Fund provides one-time grants for the repair and conservation of lighthouses in Digby, Annapolis and Kings County of Nova Scotia.

Heritage Canada intended the Runciman Fund to encourage local groups to come forward to acquire and preserve lighthouses.

The TCGHA already has an application into the Runciman fund and if successful they were hoping to use that money to paint the lighthouse, ditch and widen the road, add pull off spots to allow two way traffic on the road, and to build a small parking lot near the lighthouse.

The TCGHA also wants soil replaced around the Boars Head lighthouse to protect the concrete foundation from more cracking.

DFO hired Clean Earth Technologies of Halifax to remove 1,000 tonnes of soil contaminated with lead paint from the site in Sept. 2009 but none of that soil was ever replaced.

That is one of the items to be discussed at today’s meeting.

“They want to have a look at the site,” says Ossinger. “We want to know if DFO plans to replace that soil before divestiture or if we’ll have to apply to the Runciman fund for help with that.”

The Friends of Point Prim received $30,000 from the Runciman Fund in November 2012 which they used to put in a parking lot, gravelled trails and to shingle the wooden section and repoint and repaint the concrete tower.

Robert Hersey, chair of the Friends of Point Prim, says the association needs to examine the licensing agreement they have had with DFO and see if a similar one will work with the new owners.

“We have to look it over make sure everything is in there, see if anything should come out,” he said.

Hersey hopes the association will be able to fix the fence along the cliff edge, replace signage there and then put some money away for painting the lighthouse in the future.

 “The divestiture is very good news,” says Hersey. “Now we have the job of maintaining the property, paying insurance and making sure the site stays open for everyone. We might be looking at fundraising.”

jriley@digbycourier.ca