Community groups and municipalities looking to acquire surplus lighthouses from the federal government have far less time to put together a business plan than they initially thought.

Ottawa declared the lighthouses surplus in 2010. Groups interested in taking over the lighthouses believed they had until May 2015 to get their business plans into the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, but in a recent letter the department sent out to groups, it recommended providing the plans by Nov. 1 of this year.

That's left many groups in a rush to put their plans together.

"It made us jump on our toes and sort of come together with something a little quicker," said Natalie Carragher, chair of Blockhouse Lighthouse Preservation Society, which has expressed an interest in the light in the Charlottetown Harbour.

"We were a bit concerned, because instead of planning to complete our business plan carefully and be a little more thorough about it, now we're sort of forced to have everything completed by November. Otherwise there's a chance that we may not actually be successful with it."

While the DFO letter asked for plans by November, it also set a harder deadline of June 2013, saying transfer agreements might not be ready by the 2015 deadline if business plans were received after that.