Friday, July 5, 2013

Save Our Heritage Lighthouses

                                Seal Island Lighthouse Replica

Lisa Bastien—the Constituency Assistant–Outreach of the Office of Malcolm Allen, NDP M.P. for Welland, Ontario—asked for my help yesterday in spreading the word about saving out heritage lighthouses.

The message says, in part - “In 2010 the Conservative Government identified nearly 1000 lighthouses across Canada as surplus – meaning that these lighthouses are not active or they could be replaced by a simpler structure such as pole with a light on top as a cost-saving measure.

The Department of Fisheries & Oceans gave the provinces and communities groups 2 years to send in petitions and submit business plans to save their local lighthouses. As of May 2013, only 128 plans have been received, and the future of over 800 lighthouses are unknown. There are lighthouses in every province and territory at risk."

We think that the Conservatives need to stand up and protect our Maritime Heritage and work with the provinces/territories and local community groups to ensure that these lighthouses remain as beacons of navigation and history along our coastlines rather than downloading the coast onto others.

If you would like to know if there is a surplus lighthouse in your riding, please contact our office at 905-788-2204, or at".

A PDF copy of the petition is available by writing me at (I received a copy of the original Word file, but I can't post it for download from my blog.)

Personal Note: Lighthouses are dear to me because my great-great-grandmother spearheaded the project of building the lighthouse on Seal Island off of the southwest coast of Nova Scotia. Her name was Mary Hitchens.

In later years, her descendant, Walter Hichens, from Bethel, Maine, spent many summers on Seal Island, and eventually had one lighthouse built at Barrington Passage. You can visit it today, and learn the story of Mary Hitchens.

And, I'm pleased to note, the Canadian Coast Guard named a ship after her.

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