DIGBY COUNTY - The state of Peter’s Island lighthouse, located in Grand Passage between Long and Brier islands in Digby County, continues to concern those who see it deteriorating.
The Sail2 Save an Island Lighthouse Facebook group (364 members) was created in February 2015, with the intent of saving the Western Light and the Peter’s Island Light. The latter structure is in the utmost need.
Fed up with the lack of funding from municipal units and the painstakingly slow process of the property’s divestiture from federal to municipal ownership, Sail2 member Laura Titus recently shared her feelings through social media.
“SHAME ON YOU governments of Canada and Nova Scotia for letting our lighthouses face a slow, unflattering death. While you coddle Peggy’s Cove lighthouse and display it prominently in your tourism ads, other popular and magnificent lighthouses are left to rot.”
The Sail2 group holds fundraisers several times each year to address maintenance needs at Peter’s Island lighthouse but it’s a slow battle.
The divestiture process includes access to funding for repairing and fixing up the lighthouses.
The group is fighting an uphill battle. The roof was partially repaired recently but a lean in the structure was discovered. The shingles cladding the building are covered in lichen. Maintenance crews are not able to access the interior of the lighthouse due to mould in the building. The land on the island (except for the perimeter of the lighthouse) is owned by Nova Scotia Nature Trust, says Titus, and can only be accessed by zodiac between October and April because of nesting birds.
Jeff Sunderland, deputy chief administrative officer for the Municipality of Digby, says the municipality has been working with the community to have Peter's Island lighthouse divested from the federal government.
“In 2017 the municipality expressed interest to the federal government in obtaining Peter's Island and the two lighthouses on Brier Island,” he said.
“The federal government has started their divestiture process but it is a multi-year process.
“We’re in regular contact with the federal government and the community group on these lighthouses,” he added.