Guid­ing light

Big plans in place for Point Prim Light­house

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JIM DAY

The province’s old­est light­house will be get­ting a lot of ten­der, lov­ing care.

The Point Prim Light­house So­ci­ety hopes by Novem­ber to have its name­sake light­house un­der its op­er­a­tion.

The process of hav­ing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment divest the light­house to this vol­un­teer com­mu­nity group has been a long, drawn out one stretch­ing over 10 years.

But there is now a bright light in sight, and so­ci­ety mem­bers like trea­surer Doreen Huestis are ea­ger to get to work.

“We plan to do a lot of work there and we can’t do any­thing un­til we own it,’’ she says.

Well, the ex­te­rior of the light­house was re­cently painted at the so­ci­ety’s ex­pense.

The work just couldn’t wait, notes Huestis.

The so­ci­ety has sev­eral pri­or­ity projects, in­clud­ing en­larg­ing the park­ing lot, where a lot of tour buses from the cruise ships cur­rently strug­gle to get in and out of the scenic stop.

Wash­rooms will be built. Down the road, a gift shop will also be opened.

Also, the so­ci­ety re­al­izes the need to do more to help re­duce the pace of ero­sion of the high, red cliffs at Point Prim.

That will be a costly, on­go­ing ex­er­cise.

The so­ci­ety will re­ceive a one­time cap­i­tal fund from the Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans, which re­cently awarded the Point Prim light­house and five other P.E.I. light­houses her­itage pro­tec­tion.

Huestis says the Point Prim light­house is a “huge tourist draw’’, at­tract­ing more than 5,000 visi­tors a year.

“Peo­ple love light­houses,’’ she says.

“I think there is a sort of ro­man­tic feel­ing about the light­house keeper (once) pro­tect­ing the sailors go­ing by.’’

The Brighton Beach front range in Char­lot­te­town is the only light­house on P.E.I. to be di­vested.

DFO says 15 other light­houses in P.E.I. that have busi­ness plans un­der con­sid­er­a­tion for pro­tected sta­tus are in the as­sess­ment phase.

It could take years for those to be fi­nal­ized.

HEATHER TAWEEL/THE GUARDIAN

Tour guide Sara MacRae sits in front of the Point Prim Light­house, which is ex­pected to be di­vested to a vol­un­teer com­mu­nity group by Novem­ber. The group, called the Point Prim Light­house So­ci­ety, has many projects planned to up­grade the pop­u­lar tourist spot.

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