PEI

Tenders close on $250K project to protect West Point Lighthouse

Work should begin this fall on new retaining structures to prevent more erosion around the West Point Lighthouse and its attached inn.

Structure that has saved lives at sea for 144 years needs protection from the sea

What's called a revetment wall will be built this fall in a bid to protect the West Point Lighthouse, shown in mid-September, from any more erosion caused by storms accompanied by powerful surges and high waves. (Carolyn Ryan/CBC)

Work is expected to begin this fall to provide more permanent protection for the West Point Lighthouse. 

Transportation officials say recent storms and weather events have been extreme, and the fragile ecosystem on the point in western Prince County has seen severe erosion as a result.

Tenders closed last week on a $250,000 project to construct a revetment wall, a structure designed to prevent further shoreline erosion around the lighthouse while also protecting assets at nearby Cedar Dunes Provincial Park.

Work planned this year involves excavating the existing concrete block wall, which is buried the length of the existing parking lot where it meets the shore. 

The block wall will be replaced with a large armour stone retaining wall.

A shorter section of the same type of stone wall will be placed just north of the lighthouse as well.

Love for lighthouse cited

Progress on the project comes as welcome news to Jimmy Stewart, the general manager of the West Point Development Corporation.

From the top of the West Point Lighthouse, visitors can see how close the sea has crept to the site's parking lot and the nearby Cedar Dunes Provincial Park. (Carolyn Ryan/CBC)

"What we realized through this process is how much locals and visitors love their lighthouse. And as concerns were being expressed, it made me realize just how much the people care for the lighthouse." 

Construction is expected to take place between late October and early December. 

As well as hosting a museum showcasing Prince Edward Island lighthouse history, the West Point structure also boasts a popular four-star inn with 13 guest rooms. 

Two of those are actually located inside the original tower, while the other 11 are in an extension that stretches along the coastline. 

The West Point Lighthouse was built in 1875 and began protecting the nearby waters a year later. It was staffed until 1963, but now operates automatically on electricity. 

More  from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Angela Walker, CBC

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