The Point Prim lighthouse in eastern P.E.I. is one of six lighthouses recently awarded heritage protection by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and it will soon be divested to a volunteer community group.
The Point Prim Lighthouse Society has been waiting for the announcement for years.
Point Prim is the oldest lighthouse on P.E.I. and one of the busiest with about 6,000 visitors last year.
The group hopes to take over ownership of the lighthouse by November.
Gilbert Gillis's family has a long history with the lighthouse.
"Dating back to the 1850s, John Gillis, my first ancestor, was here as lighthouse keeper. Then, on my mother's side, I'm the eldest grandchild of Angus Murchison. He was the longest lighthouse keeper here. On my father's side, my father's older brother Norman was one of the last keepers as well," said Gillis.
Gillis's wife Goldie says she's also excited about the heritage protection.
"I'm very happy to be part of reaching this very important milestone. I've been connected with it since 1974 when Gilbert and I were married here. It's kind of fitting that this is all happening now," she said.
DFO is now reviewing the Point Prim business plan and assessing the ability to divest the property. That includes environmental assessments, surveys and appraisals.
To date, the Brighton Beach front range in Charlottetown is the only lighthouse on P.E.I. to be divested.
DFO says 15 other lighthouses in P.E.I. that have business plans under consideration for protected status are in the assessment phase. It could take years for those to be finalized.