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Lighthouse legacy shines on


It’s one of the first things you see, sailing into the harbour – a nod to earlier days when lighthouses and their keepers were a necessary fixture of any shoreline.

While not the oldest shining structure on the island, the Pictou Island South Lighthouse is the only remaining building out of three lighthouses built in the 19th and 20th centuries – and it’s going to stay standing.

It recently received designation through the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act, a step in a long process that will see the property turned over to the community association in October.

“It was either do it, or watch it fall down,” Gretchen Maguire, who was the lead in filling out the paperwork for the application, said about why the tightknit island community took it on.

She, and a sub-committee of the Pictou Island Community Association, have been working on it for three years, considering it of historical significance to the island.

Of the 348 petitions for preservation received by Parks Canada, 74 were actually given the designation – 14 of which were in Nova Scotia.

Caribou had also applied, but wasn’t successful. 

Maguire suspects the fact that they already had a community association helped them in their application, making it easier to band together for maintenance and operation of the building.

“Most communities, it’s way too much for them to manage,” she said during a recent interview.

The maintenance will be made easier by the fact that the building is small and received an environmental remediation more than five years ago, which saw the removal of shingles covered in lead paint and the replacement of soil around it.

They’re not yet sure exactly what they’ll do with it, waiting for the deed to be in their name and further details before really making plans.

Joe Ballard, president of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, said the organization supports the idea that effective preservation is through continuous use of heritage sites.

Their mission is to encourage preservation of historic spots across the province, “…and places significant value in lighthouses: those distinct architectural forms that instantly and so completely convey the purpose for which they were built.”

The structure will be open to the Coastguard as an operational light, with hopes of also having it available to the public.

When they do develop its use, they’ll have funds to help them out, having received grant money of $15,000.

 

Amanda.jess@ngnews.ca

On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda

 

FACTBOX:

Pictou Island South Lighthouse

• Built in 1907

• 7.9 metres high (26 feet from base to vane)

• Last original lighthouse on the island with two skeleton light structures on each end

• Built while island population was increasing, relied on by fishing and ferry

• Square tapered wooden tower – a design popular with Dept. of Marine and Fisheries in 19th and 20th centuries

• Pictou Island Community Association to take ownership of it

While not the oldest shining structure on the island, the Pictou Island South Lighthouse is the only remaining building out of three lighthouses built in the 19th and 20th centuries – and it’s going to stay standing.

It recently received designation through the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act, a step in a long process that will see the property turned over to the community association in October.

“It was either do it, or watch it fall down,” Gretchen Maguire, who was the lead in filling out the paperwork for the application, said about why the tightknit island community took it on.

She, and a sub-committee of the Pictou Island Community Association, have been working on it for three years, considering it of historical significance to the island.

Of the 348 petitions for preservation received by Parks Canada, 74 were actually given the designation – 14 of which were in Nova Scotia.

Caribou had also applied, but wasn’t successful. 

Maguire suspects the fact that they already had a community association helped them in their application, making it easier to band together for maintenance and operation of the building.

“Most communities, it’s way too much for them to manage,” she said during a recent interview.

The maintenance will be made easier by the fact that the building is small and received an environmental remediation more than five years ago, which saw the removal of shingles covered in lead paint and the replacement of soil around it.

They’re not yet sure exactly what they’ll do with it, waiting for the deed to be in their name and further details before really making plans.

Joe Ballard, president of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, said the organization supports the idea that effective preservation is through continuous use of heritage sites.

Their mission is to encourage preservation of historic spots across the province, “…and places significant value in lighthouses: those distinct architectural forms that instantly and so completely convey the purpose for which they were built.”

The structure will be open to the Coastguard as an operational light, with hopes of also having it available to the public.

When they do develop its use, they’ll have funds to help them out, having received grant money of $15,000.

 

Amanda.jess@ngnews.ca

On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda

 

FACTBOX:

Pictou Island South Lighthouse

• Built in 1907

• 7.9 metres high (26 feet from base to vane)

• Last original lighthouse on the island with two skeleton light structures on each end

• Built while island population was increasing, relied on by fishing and ferry

• Square tapered wooden tower – a design popular with Dept. of Marine and Fisheries in 19th and 20th centuries

• Pictou Island Community Association to take ownership of it

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