Blue Mountains supports efforts to save lighthouse
By Chris Fell Collingwood Connection
The Blue Mountains council has given its support to the efforts of a group of area citizens trying to save the Nottawasaga Lighthouse.
Nick Brindisi, the Publicity Chair of the Nottawasaga Lighthouse Preservation Society, made a presentation at council’s regular meeting on Monday, March 31 about the lighthouse and the ongoing efforts to preserve the heritage structure and restore it for future generations.
“It’s falling down and we would like to prevent that from happening,” Brindisi explained to council.
The lighthouse is located on an island in the water near Collingwood. It was first lit in 1858 – the same year the Town of Collingwood was incorporated. It is one of six Imperial Lighthouse Towers erected on the Great Lakes.
“We want to ensure the heritage resources of the Nottawasaga Island Lighthouse are protected, by conserving the lighthouse in a manner that recognizes its significant and irreplaceable historic legacy for the people of Canada,” Brindisi said, reading the organization’s Mission Statement.
The lighthouse is a unique architectural structure that is worthy of being preserved.
“It represents some of the most amazing craftsmanship from the 1850s,” Brindisi explained. “In better days it was a beautiful and unique structure,” he added.
Over the years moisture has caused some major damage to the limestone exterior and the lighthouse has been struck by lightning. In 2004 work was done to stabilize the structure, but the tower continues to be in disrepair.
The federal government’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans owns the structure. However, in recent years the government passed legislation to protect lighthouse structures and to transfer ownership of such structures to non-profit community organizations (for $1) with the condition of the lighthouse being protected. Brindisi said other lighthouses have been saved, restored and turned into tourist attractions.
On the level of “heritage importance” the lighthouse ranks 94/100. It was an important navigational aid on the Upper Great Lakes and is one of the most photographed images in the area.
The group has the support of MPP Jim Wilson, the Minister of Tourism, the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario – Collingwood, Collingwood and District Historical Society and is seeking MP Kellie Leitch’s support.
“We’re not here looking for financial support. It would be nice to get a letter from The Blue Mountains that you support the initiative,” Brindisi said.
The Society is working on getting its non-profit status and once that is accomplished will begin the process to purchase the structure from the federal government for $1.
After the presentation Councillor Joe Halos immediately moved a resolution to support the Society.
“Good luck with this endeavour. You’re dealing with some significant issues – with the structure itself and you’re dealing with the federal government,” Halos said.
Council unanimously supported the resolution from Halos.