Saving a bit of history
Committee formed to address future of wharf at Channel Head lighthouse
A new group has been formed to lead efforts to ensure future access to the Channel Head lighthouse.
Scott Strickland said the Channel Head Lighthouse Heritage Society came together after a public meeting April 11.
The meeting was called by Port aux Basques council to discuss the future of the wharf and walkway on the island. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is planning to demolish the wharf, which it has deemed unsafe.
Strickland said the new group will try to get an independent inspection of the wharf completed.
“From there, we will take steps to try to have the wharf repaired or replaced in some fashion that will be suitable and safe for use by the general public,” he said in an email.
Strickland said the group will also push Parks Canada to deem the site protected under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act. The lighthouse itself was designated a heritage building in 1988.
Strickland told councillors in March losing the wharf would mean the public would no longer have access to the island. He said DFO doesn’t need the wharf and accesses the site by helicopter.
“It’s tragic that the DFO has budgeted nearly $200,000 to demolish a wharf and walkway that, in my personal opinion, could certainly be left as is for at least the time being,” Strickland said in his email.
While the meeting was not well-attended, with only a halfdozen people who were not town employees or councillors, Strickland said the support received so far has been excellent.
During the April 11 meeting, acting Mayor Todd Strickland said DFO was willing to work with the town or another group. He said the town could end up taking ownership of the property in the short term, but it would depend on the cost and liability.
Town manager Barry Spencer said a property manager from DFO told the town the wharf would have to be demolished before the property could be turned over.
Port aux Basques town manager Barry Spencer, Scott Strickland and acting Mayor Todd Strickland were at a public meeting April 11 to answer questions about the future of the wharf at the Channel Head lighthouse.