Canadian Coast Guard crews took cement from the breakwater in West Arichat to pour the foundation for the new lighthouse on Jerseyman’s Island.

There was an unexpected, but nonetheless welcome, item of good news for local residents, fishermen and boaters.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada recently confirmed plans by the Canadian Coast Guard to replace the lighthouse on Jerseyman’s Island – just off Arichat – with a new building.

After concluding the former salt-shaker style lighthouse on the island was at the end of its life expectancy, the Coast Guard undertook a design and review assessment which determined a new structure was required to assist naval navigation in the area.

The new structure will include a pre-fabricated aluminum frame which is being prepared with windows, cladding and siding in Dartmouth. A truck will then transport the lighthouse in a couple of pieces to Isle Madame. From there, the parts will be flown via helicopter to Jerseyman’s Island.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada explained the frame will be assembled on the new foundation, which has been poured, and the cupola will be installed to hold a new light.

With hopes of finishing the project by the end of this month, Fisheries and Oceans Canada expects the new navigation aid will closely resemble Bull Point Light in Sambro, and will require very little maintenance for more than 25 years.

Not only is it welcome news that this important beacon will be replaced, but the fact the new structure will not require maintenance for the next quarter century, is equally significant.

This is great news for the many firms which regularly use Arichat harbour, as well as for the recreational boaters who frequent the area, and that’s not to mention the fishermen who work out of the harbour.

This development is all the more positive considering the federal government has been divesting itself of lighthouses for a decade, including a number of beacons around the Strait area. This has forced community groups and stakeholders to scramble to save the buildings, sometimes without success.

To now see this trend not only stopping but being reversed with a modern lighthouse is very encouraging.

Hopefully, this signals the end of an era of divestiture and the beginning of an era of investment in coastal beacons and lighthouses.