Light­house pe­ti­tions are in

Twenty-eight ap­ply for of­fi­cial des­ig­na­tions; feds await busi­ness plans

The Southern Gazette - - NEWS - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON TC ME­DIA

While not all pe­ti­tions ex­pected from New­found­land and Labrador have been pro­cessed, it ap­pears there will be plenty of local light­houses in the run­ning to re­ceive a her­itage des­ig­na­tion un­der the Her­itage Light­house Pro­tec­tion Act.

Nor­man Shields, pro­gram man­ager with Parks Canada’s Her­itage Light­house Pro­gram, re­vealed the dead­line for pe­ti­tions came and went Tues­day, with 28 nom­i­na­tions pro­cessed as of Wed­nes­day. He said one or two more pe­ti­tions may still ar­rive by mail, not­ing the pro­gram would ac­cept those post­marked May 29.

Mr. Shields said “It strikes me that they come from a lit­tle bit all over the place. I think that there is very good cov­er­age there.”

Tues­day marked the end of the two-year pe­ti­tion pe­riod. Sixty-nine light­houses in the prov­ince were el­i­gi­ble for pe­ti­tions.

He said close to 350 were re­ceived from across the coun­try.

“The num­ber of nom­i­na­tions in Canada, and in­deed in New­found­land, re­ally shows that the peo­ple of Canada are pas­sion­ate about pro­tect­ing and con­serv­ing their her­itage places, so we’re very en­cour­aged by that.”

The act aims to help pro­tect the her­itage value of the light­houses with hopes that a con­tin­ued pub­lic pur­pose for them or new uses may be found.

The Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans (DFO) will now ac­cept busi­ness plans re­lat­ing to the pe­ti­tioned light­houses.

At an in­for­ma­tion ses­sion held ear­lier this year in St. John’s, a va­ri­ety of po­ten­tial repur­pos­ing op­tions were men­tioned for light­houses, in­clud­ing bed and break­fasts, cot­tages, restaurant­s, mu­se­ums and in­ter­pre­tive sites.

SUB­MIT PRO­POS­ALS

Of the 28 pe­ti­tions re­ceived, 20 are for sur­plus light­houses, while the re­main­ing eight are des­ig­nated as non-sur­plus light­houses. There are 45 sur­plus light­houses across the prov­ince.

Mr. Shields said un­der the act, sur­plus light­houses are those con­sid­ered to ex­ist beyond the cur­rent needs of the fed­eral govern­ment.

“I’m mak­ing that point be­cause there was a lot of con­fu­sion early on about Cape Spear. For ex­am­ple, the na­tional his­toric site that be­longs to Parks Canada is not sur­plus, but the Cape Spear light­house be­low it is sur­plus.”

As of mid-Fe­bru­ary, only three pe­ti­tions had been sub­mit­ted from the prov­ince. Ear­lier this month, the New­found­land His­toric Trust sub­mit­ted 18 pe­ti­tions for light­houses. The pe­ti­tions were made in con­cert with the provin­cial govern­ment.

Mr. Shields said mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and com­mu­nity groups also sub­mit­ted pe­ti­tions.

The min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for Parks Canada must de­cide which light­houses will re­ceive a her­itage des­ig­na­tion by May 29, 2015.

For sur­plus light­houses, Mr. Shields en­cour­aged in­ter­ested par­ties to sub­mit busi­ness plans to DFO “as soon as pos­si­ble,” adding such sites will only re­ceive her­itage des­ig­na­tions if a group shows in­ter­est in look­ing af­ter it for the fore­see­able fu­ture.

A guide for pre­par­ing a busi­ness plan to ac­quire a sur­plus light­house can be found on the DFO web­site.

Mr. Shields in­di­cated sur­plus light­houses for which pe­ti­tions were not sub­mit­ted will re­main in the fed­eral in­ven­tory.

St. John’s Tele­gram

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