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Cape Jourimain lighthouse moved from perilous eroding cliff to new foundation

Click to play video 'Cape Jourmain lighthouse moved to new foundation' Cape Jourmain lighthouse moved to new foundation
WATCH ABOVE: The Cape Jourmain lighthouse has been a fixture on the shore of the Northumberland Straight for almost as long as Canada’s been a country, but now the iconic structure is on the move to a new location nearby to protect it from the eroding shoreline. Global’s Paul Cormier reports.

It’s not every day you see a lighthouse being moved but that’s just what was happening in Cape Jourimain, New Brunswick Wednesday.

Propped up on supports, the Cape Jourimain Lighthouse was preparing for a big move from its precarious perch at the edge of a cliff.

The cliff is eroding as a result of storms and weather, putting the fate of the more than 140-year-old lighthouse in danger.

“One of the concerns we have here on the island is that we’re losing about one to three feet of coastline every year, so it was looking like we only had about five or six years before it got to the foundation of the lighthouse,” Andrew MacKinnon of the Cape Jourimain Nature Centre said.

READ MORE: No small feat: Gabarus lighthouse moved from edge of a cliff

The move comes about a year after the lighthouse was officially recognized under the Lighthouse Heritage Protection Act and ownership was transferred to the Cape Jourimain Nature Centre.

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The Cape Jourimain lighthouse sits ready to be moved from the eroding cliff-side to a new foundation.
The Cape Jourimain lighthouse sits ready to be moved from the eroding cliff-side to a new foundation. Paul Cormier/Global News
WATCH: The Cape Jourimain lighthouse is moved from the edge of a cliff to a new foundation.
Click to play video 'Cape Jourimain Lighthouse Move' Cape Jourimain Lighthouse Move
Cape Jourimain Lighthouse Move

After that, it was decided the lighthouse would be moved in from the perils of the weakening coastline to a new foundation, where it would safely sit for visitors to see for years to come.

“We do hope to do some future fund raising to try to do some restoration,” MacKinnon said.

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“We’d like to start outside, where you have the shingles, we would like to replace the exterior to get it into a little bit more how it looked historically and then we would look at restoring the interior is well.”

Moving a lighthouse is no small feat — several people and heavy machinery are on hand to make sure everything goes smoothly but some of the techniques used are surprisingly simple.

“We use Ivory soap along the beams to make it slide easier,” said Mervil Rushton of Mervil Rushton Building Movers, the group handling the important task.

This is not the first time a lighthouse has been moved from an eroding cliff in the Maritimes. In November, 2015, crews moved the Gabarus Lighthouse from the edge of a cliff in Cape Breton.