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.
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.
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.
“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.