An historic Cape Breton lighthouse will be in the spotlight this year as repairs and planning get underway to protect it for years to come. 

Low Point Lighthouse has been in operation since 1832 and is located along Sydney Harbour near New Waterford, N.S. The Low Point Lighthouse Society, a community group managing the site, won $75,000 in a national crowdfunding contest.

The group plans to make repairs to the 22-metre lighthouse, enhance the property and hopes to eventually build a new seawall. It also aims to market the lighthouse as a tourist attraction and wedding venue.

Studying the seawall

"It sits at the mouth of Sydney Harbour, so tourists see it upon arrival into Sydney on cruise ships," said Debbie Lee Pearson, the society's director.

"It is significant also for navigation. It was more so in the past, but it's also used as a navigational aid for ships." 

She says rebuilding the seawall is important to protect the lighthouse and part of the money will go toward a study needed on shoreline protection.

Low Point Lighthouse

The group managing the Low Point Lighthouse site says the seawall will need to be repaired in the next five years. (George Mortimer/CBC)

 

"The erosion that this particular piece of land faces is unbelievable with the force of winds and wave erosion." 

Pearson says it will cost an estimated $400,000 to replace the seawall. 

A tourism corridor

Other work on the site will include parking lots, interpretive panels and signage to direct visitors to the site.

"We foresee, long-term goal-wise, a campground, an RV park, a little gift shop, a little cafe, benches and a picnic area," Pearson said.

"The future goal is actually to build a new tourist route, if you will, beginning in [Whitney] Pier where there is a historical museum, and then to the Stone Church, to Fort Petrie, then to our lighthouse, culminating in New Waterford at the Colliery Lands Park."

Debbie Lee Pearson

Debbie Lee Pearson is the director of the Low Point Lighthouse Society. (George Mortimer/CBC)

Work on refurbishing the lighthouse is expected to start in the spring.