Simcoe Island group worries about transfer of historic lighthouse
A citizen’s group on Simcoe Island is worried about the possible sale of a historic lighthouse.
Some islanders say if the federally owned property changes hands then public access to the Nine Mile Point Lighthouse could be off-limits.
Brenda MacDonald is with the Nine Mile Point Lighthouse Preservation Society. She says the lighthouse, which was built in 1833, is extremely significant and is a big part of the community as well as the Frontenac Islands.
“If it goes to the other group, the majority of the directors are American citizens and so our access to it, Canadian access to it could be really limited and that’s really something that we’re concerned about.”
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MacDonald and the Nine Mile Point Lighthouse Preservation Society want to save the lighthouse from neglect or a transfer of ownership. She says their bid to acquire the property was rejected.
In a letter from Kevin Pidhimiak, divestiture officer with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, he says after a lengthy assessment process, it was determined the Nine Mile Point Lighthouse Preservation Society’s submission is not the most practical option of which to pursue the transfer of the property.
“We want it for the community,” MacDonald said. “We want a community space, we want a park, we don’t have a community space here at all on the island. There are no parks and we really think that that is important.”
The lighthouse, built over 185 years ago, is the oldest continuously active lighthouse on the Great Lakes.
Late Thursday afternoon Fisheries and Oceans Canada confirmed to Global News that a written commitment to purchase has been accepted from the Simcoe Island Lighthouse Association.
The sale will be conditional on the property being designated as a heritage lighthouse by Parks Canada and ongoing protection and preservation of the Lighthouse will be the responsibility of the new owners.
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