This photo of the Point Aconi lighthouse was taken in 1998. (Kathy Brown/Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society)

History buffs in Cape Breton are moving ahead with their plan to fix up the Point Aconi lighthouse and promote it as a tourism destination.

The Bras d'Or and Area Historical Society signalled its interest in the lighthouse after the federal government classified it as surplus.

Co-founder Nancy Swan said the structure would be an ideal home for her group, as well as a museum and interpretive centre.

"Different schools could come into the lighthouse and learn things all about the sea, all about the rich fishery. It will all be geared to the fishing industry," she said.

Swan is working on a plan to get funding from a local business development group. She's also in discussions with Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

John Ford, with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said the group needs to apply for a licence, which means liability insurance.

"That would probably be the biggest thing for them to do. And once they have that in place we can certainly create a licence for them to be there," he said.

Ford said having a group on site could cut down on the vandalism that has plagued the lighthouse over the years.

"We've gone out there and replaced lights, we've replaced damage that's been done out there," he said.