Nova Scotia

Lighthouse Matters crowdfunding aims to save N.S. landmarks

A new project has been launched by the National Trust for Canada and the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society, which will allow Canadians to vote or donate to local campaigns to preserve lighthouses in Nova Scotia.

National website allows people to donate money to help preserve Nova Scotia lighthouses

The Baccaro Point lighthouse in on Nova Scotia's South Shore is seen on Thursday, May 28, 2015. “This Lighthouse Matters" is an online crowdfunding competition that will give people across Canada the chance to contribute to lighthouse preservation campaigns in Nova Scotia. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

A new project to preserve lighthouses in Nova Scotia has been launched by the National Trust for Canada and the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society (NSLPS).

The project, called This Lighthouse Matters, is an online crowdfunding competition that will give people across Canada the chance to contribute to lighthouse preservation campaigns in Nova Scotia. 

A funding pool of $250,000 was raised by the National Trust, the NSLPS and others. Canadians can visit the program's website starting today, and vote once a day for each project they support. 

"These lighthouses need work," said Barry MacDonald, past president of the NSLPS.

Barry MacDonald, past president of the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society, says several groups are still waiting for Fisheries and Oceans Canada to transfer the responsibility of several lighthouses into their care. (CBC)

​He said there are 30 groups who submitted business acquisition plans as part of the Lighthouse Protection Act that now need more funding for continued maintenance.

"There's a one-time grant that comes with the transfer [of responsibility] from DFO, but in a lot of cases it's really not sufficient to bring the lighthouse up to a reasonable state of repair and do some of the things that community groups need done." 

MacDonald says the crowdfunding project is even more timely because to his knowledge, some of the groups haven't yet received these grants. He says that's because the transfer of responsibilities hasn't been fully processed. 

Voting will continue until July 15. The next day, nine prizes will be awarded — ranging from $5,000 to $75,000. 

The project's website will remain active until July 31 to allow supporters to continue contributing funds to the projects. 

MacDonald said allowing Canadians the opportunity to also donate money in addition to their votes is important, because there are more than nine lighthouses that require funding. 

"These lighthouses are so much a part of our heritage," MacDonald said. "And as a tourist from the United States once told me, 'Nothing says Atlantic Canada to him like one of these little lighthouses that dot our coast.'" 

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