A community group in Cape Breton, that won a national contest to preserve its nearly 200-year-old lighthouse, is hoping to start some of the restoration work this fall.

The Low Point Lighthouse Preservation Society won the "This Lighthouse Matters" contest from the National Trust of Canada and Nova Scotia lighthouse Preservation Society.

Low Point Lighthouse

Low Point Lighthouse in New Victoria, Cape Breton won the grand prize of $75,000 after for This Lighthouse Matters ended earlier this year. (Hal Higgins/CBC)

The lighthouse has been operating at the mouth of Sydney harbour since 1832. 

Debbie Lee Pearson of the group said winning the contest has drawn national attention. But Pearson also says actually getting the $75,000 has been complicated.
 
"We're negotiating an agreement with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in order to obtain a work permit for the lighthouse site, then we will receive half of the $75,000 that we were awarded for the competition," she said.

"The rest of it is under contribution agreement whereas we have to raise so much money and then we will receive the second half of the $75,000. There are some hoops to jump through, that's for sure. It's not cut and dry." 

Pearson said the first thing they have to do is replace the aging seawall to protect against further erosion .

The lighthouse is about 20 metres away from the nearby cliff which is protected by a broken wooden seawall .

Society Member Larry MacSween said once the money comes through they'll start with a total rebuild of the seawall to stop further erosion. 

"We lose our cliff here every year, probably a few feet every year -- but still a few good storms ..." he said.

Pearson said as important as their contest winnings are, they'll still need a lot more money to complete the restoration work. 

She plans to meet on Tuesday with representatives from all three levels of government to present a case for funding.

She's hoping to see some of the contest money and restoration work started by late fall.