Canada: Historic Cape Breton lighthouse threatened by rising waters - PressFrom - Canada

CanadaHistoric Cape Breton lighthouse threatened by rising waters

15:05  06 december  2018
15:05  06 december  2018 Source:

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Cape Breton Island (French: île du Cap- Breton —formerly Île Royale; Scottish Gaelic: Ceap Breatainn or Eilean Cheap Breatainn; Mi'kmaq: Unama'kik; or simply Cape Breton )

Wings Neck Light . To the southern side of the Cape Cod lies an alluring peninsula rising out of the Buzzards Bay. Lighthouses come with documented knowledge of the past, vantage points to view the present beauty, and a sense of adventure into a past when seafaring was a business of the noble.

Last week's storm surge has added extra urgency to efforts to save a picturesque lighthouse on Boularderie Island, N.S.

Sitting on a sliver of beach that protrudes into the Great Bras d'Or Channel, the McNeil's Beach lighthouse is an iconic sight for people driving over the Seal Island bridge in Cape Breton.

"Peggys Cove is probably the most photographed [lighthouse] ... but this lighthouse is on the Trans-Canada Highway going to Newfoundland, and all of the cars that go by look out on that lighthouse," said Ron Stewart, an area resident and former politician.

But its unique setting could be its downfall.

In recent years, the rising sea level has been swallowing up the beach. And during last week's nor'easter, the water rose as high as a metre up the base of the tower.

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Lighthouse Cottages… …offers gorgeous ocean views and the opportunity to experience Cape Breton ’s natural beauty, untouched by time. Uniquely located, we invite you to experience all that Cape Breton has to offer with Lighthouse Cottages as your home base.

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"I practically wept," said Stewart. "I just took one look and said, 'This is it. We've finally seen the apocalypse.' And so what it did, it really intensified our efforts to restore that icon."

Historic Cape Breton lighthouse threatened by rising waters © Fred Baechler The McNeil's Beach lighthouse on Boularderie Island is falling victim to rising sea levels.

Originally constructed in 1884, the structure has undergone two restorations — the first in 1909 after it was destroyed by ice.

It was decommissioned in the 1960s and sold to a private owner. That person later donated it to Acadia University, but after a second restoration led by a community initiative, it was returned to the private owner.

His descendant is now keen to see it restored once more, and is willing to donate it to a not-for-profit group committed to preserving it for the benefit of the community, said Stewart.

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We are situated in historic Baddeck, Cape Breton , overlooking our picture-perfect harbour and The Water ’s Edge provides a truly unique combination of wonderfully appointed and spacious accommodation "This is the best spot in Baddeck with a great view of the marina and lighthouse ".

Cape Breton Regional Municipality, often referred to as simply CBRM, is the Canadian province of Nova Scotia's second largest municipality and the economic heart of Cape Breton Island.

Stewart believes the lighthouse will have to be moved to ensure its long-term survival, possibly to an adjacent piece of forested land owned by Acadia.

The next steps involve getting the not-for-profit group together, and raising the estimated $200,000 to $300,000 needed to do the rebuild.

Last week's storm has put increased pressure on getting that done, said Stewart.

"Having lived through that nor'easter, I don't know ... I think it will last the winter, but that's an optimistic guess."

Read more stories from CBC Nova Scotia

Historic Cape Breton lighthouse threatened by rising waters © Fred Baechler The strip of land the lighthouse stands on was once a full, grass-covered bar.

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