People in Baddeck want to take over a popular lighthouse they worry the federal government is neglecting.

The lighthouse has been perched on the northeastern tip of Kidston Island for 130 years. The grounds of the lighthouse are open to the public, so it's promoted as a picnic area.

But the future of the lighthouse has been in question since 2003, when the Department of Fisheries and Oceans decided the old-fashioned wooden structure was too expensive to maintain.

Since then, Eddie Keeling, chair of the Baddeck Village Commission, has been worried that the lighthouse is falling into disrepair. The village is willing to take it over if the department doesn't want it, he said.

"Every picture you see of Baddeck, it has the lighthouse on it. And we just can't lose it, for not this generation but then generations to come after us."

Glen Fry, in charge of divestiture for the department, said he'd like to hand over the lighthouse. The province has first dibs, however, and a decision is expected by the end of March.

"If the province does not indicate an interest in the Kidston Island lighthouse, then we will prepare to enter discussions for the transfer of ownership to the municipality as early as the first week of April," Fry said.

The department performs annual checks on all its lighthouses, Fry added, and does what repairs it can afford.