Thanks to lobbying by the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society, Sambro Island Lighthouse, Canada's oldest and most historic light, will be getting major repairs during the summer of 1998.
Fisheries and Oceans Minister David Anderson has committed himself in a letter to at least $125,000 worth of work on Sambro, with some preliminary work this past fall and the completion next year. Although it is North America's oldest operating lighthouse and a Canadian national historic site, Sambro Light, which stands at the outer entrance to Halifax Harbour, has suffered from Coast Guard budget cutbacks of recent years. Large chunks of concrete are falling away from the lantern deck, the paint is peeling, and the shingles are rotten.
Larry Wilson, Director of Marine Programs at the Canadian Coast Guard, said a repair plan for Sambro Light, drawn up over two years ago, was twice cancelled because of money constraints. However, Federal Heritage Status achieved for Sambro Light last year and continued lobbying by the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society brought pressure for a ministerial commitment. This year, NSLPS exchanged letters and discussions with several Coast Guard officials, two federal cabinet ministers and the area MP.
Sambro Light will now be inspected to update the repair plan, which may now exceed the old $125,000 estimate. Tenders will go out in April 1998, with work to be done from June to August.
The Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society compromises a group of individuals and community organizations committed to the preservation of lighthouses in the province. There are about 160 of these, so there is much work to be done. The society itself, was actually founded on Sambro Island during a visit by several lighthouse enthusiasts.
Membership in NSLPS is $15 for Canadians and $15 in U.S. funds for members living outside of Canada. For more information, to make a donation or join, write: Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society, c/o Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, 1675 Lower Water Street, Halifax, Canada B3J 1S3.
This story appeared in the
December 1997 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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