July 21, 2014
Citizens of Dalhousie and surrounding areas,
In early 2012, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans began looking into divesting surplus lighthouses across Canada. In September 2012, the Town of Dalhousie presented a business plan under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (HLPA) to acquire the Inch Arran lighthouse from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans accepted our business plan as an economically viable one and the transfer process began.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans wishes to transfer the land and building in good condition, therefore the Town was asked to identify repairs that the building requires, and other issues, and provide quotes. Quotes have been submitted to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to repair the building and protect the shoreline, at their expense.
Everything was going smoothly to see a transfer to The Town of Dalhousie in 2014 until the Environmental Impact Assessment discovered issues with the existing paint on lighthouse. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans refuses to transfer the lighthouse until all environmental issues have been resolved.
The remedial action plan of the Environmental Impact Assessment has to be reviewed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the remedial action plan can take from 6 months to a year to complete. This will delay the property transfer to the town of Dalhousie.
The lighthouse is in poor condition and until the transfer is complete the Department of Fisheries and Oceans' only priority is to maintain the light. The Town of Dalhousie is asking the Department to paint the lighthouse this year even if the transfer is not complete. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has not refused to paint the Lighthouse, but has indicated that there is no plan or budget to do so this year.
The Town understands that environmental concerns need to be addressed before the lighthouse is transferred, but the building needs care and attention in the meantime. Summer will soon be over and tourists and locals who enjoy taking pictures of the lighthouse are very disappointed in its condition, and so is The Town of Dalhousie.
All we want for this year is to see the lighthouse painted.