Light­houses in Canada

The Central Voice - - Editorial -

The first light­house in Canada was estab­lished at Louis­bourg on Cape Bre­ton Island, Nova Sco­tia, in 1734.

In 1970, the coast guard be­gan the process of sys­tem­at­i­cally au­tomat­ing light­sta­tions and re­mov­ing staff from them.

Tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ments in light­house equip­ment had made it pos­si­ble to op­er­ate the lights and to ac­ti­vate foghorns with­out im­me­di­ate hu­man at­ten­tion.

In Bri­tish Columbia and New­found­land and Labrador, pub­lic pres­sure ef­fec­tively stopped the re­moval of light­keep­ers in 1998.

■At re­mote lo­ca­tions, he­li­copters and ves­sels are used to re­sup­ply light­sta­tions and move light­keep­ers, which con­trib­utes to higher main­te­nance costs.

Of the 50 staffed fa­cil­i­ties in the two re­gions, 29 are lo­cated at re­mote sites that have no year -round road ac­cess.

In the New­found­land and Labrador re­gion, 18 of the 23 staffed sta­tions can be reached by road. Five are in re­mote lo­ca­tions: Puf­fin Island, Green Island (Trin­ity Bay), Green Island (For­tune Bay), Pass Island and Cape Race.

All 23 staffed light­sta­tions are equipped with so­lar­ized equip­ment, most are pow­ered by hy­dro, and sev­eral have wind tur­bines and so­lar power or a com­bi­na­tion of the two.

Three of the five re­mote sites have backup diesel power for the light­keep­ers.

At the five re­mote sites, a ro­ta­tional sys­tem based on 28-day shifts is used. Two peo­ple per shift work 28 con­tin­u­ous days and are re­placed by two new keep­ers for the next 28-day pe­riod. The sys­tem re­quires four light­keep­ers per sta­tion. Be­cause of re­mote­ness, relief keep­ers are re­quired to re­place ab­sent keep­ers.

Es­ti­mated to­tal op­er­a­tional costs of the agency’s staffed light­house pro­gram to be $11.5 mil­lion in 2008 – New­found­land and Labrador re­gion ac­counted for $3.2 mil­lion.

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