Community groups may have to wait to take over lighthouses, says Mi'kmaq Confederacy
Discussion still in preliminary phase, says Mi'kmaq Confederacy
Some community groups looking to take over lighthouses on P.E.I. will have to wait a year or two before they find out if they can take ownership, says the Mi'kmaq Confederacy.
The confederacy has been in talks with Ottawa for the past year-and-a-half about acquiring up to 20 lighthouses and surrounding Crown land. The confederacy has first rights of refusal on the properties.
The discussions are still in the preliminary stage, says the confederacy.
Executive director Don Mackenzie told CBC News the organization is placing special consideration on lighthouses with significance for the Mi'kmaq people.
"We look at the geographic location, we look at the traditional activities that have taken place in that location by the Mi'kmaq," said MacKenzie.
"The blockhouse lighthouse, which sits in Rocky Point and is very close geographically to the Rocky Point Reserve, of course that's a significant parcel of Crown land that we are looking very carefully at."
Community group looks to work with Mi'kmaq
MacKenzie said the discussions are further complicated by the possibility of land swaps involving lighthouses.
A community group that has been working for several years to save the Blockhouse lighthouse, and has submitted a business plan to the federal government, says it would be willing to work with the confederacy to maintain it.
The confederacy says that's not part of the discussions right now, but it won't rule out the possibility.
The community group has expressed frustration at delays in the process, saying it is hard to keep up volunteer interest as years go by and nothing happens.
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With files from Lindsay Carroll