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Yarmouth's Cape Forchu lighthouse to brighten in 2017

The Cape Forchu Lighthouse is one of the region's most visited attractions.
The Cape Forchu Lighthouse is one of the region's most visited attractions.

YARMOUTH COUNTY - Much-needed maintenance work and improvements should start at the Cape Forchu Lighthouse this spring, says a director with the Friends of the Yarmouth Light Society. The work was originally slated for 2016.

“The issues had to do with the fact that the municipality wanted to make sure that whatever they repaired or updated was going to last,” said Patti Durkee.

“The issues had to do with the fact that the municipality wanted to make sure that whatever they repaired or updated was going to last,” said Patti Durkee.

The age of the main building and weather conditions are factors in the upgrades/repairs planning. The site is prone to fog, salt spray and high winds. The building also has heritage status and all work must be in conjunction with guidelines and standards that apply.

Cape Forchu lighthouse to brighten in 2017.

Work under consideration for tender includes: roofing, replacing soffits, trims, re-shingling the complete building, as well as replacing/repairing casings and windows if needed.

Durkee says the society has extended an invitation to artists and craftspeople who may have items suitable for the gift shop that they’d like to submit for consideration.

“Items will be curated in that we will be selecting what we feel best suits the brand of the lighthouse,” said Durkee. “At this point we‘re not planning for consignment. We’re looking for wholesale price lists.”

“Wonderful” progress is also being made on renovations to the original fog alarm building near the base of the tower where the lighthouse’s original DCB-36 lens is on display.

In 2015, board member Gert Sweeney championed the Cape Forchu lighthouse in the This Lighthouse Matters contest. It was voted to third place and received $25,000 in prize money towards the lens project.

The electrical work has been completed for the building and when the museum opens, people will be able to see the lens in action - turning and lighting.

 Part of the work includes recreating the lightkeeper’s workshop where an old bench and tools will be on display.

“It’s going to be pretty amazing,” said Durkee.

One holdup with the project, however, is the installation of a $30,000 wheelchair ramp. The society is seeking funding to complete the project and is applying for a provincial accessibility grant when they become available in April.

The Municipality of Yarmouth has installed a 3,000-gallon water tank behind the Wentzell House to rectify water problems on the rocky site.

The Mug Up Tea Room did not open last summer due to water issues.

Durkee says there is “more exciting news to come.”

The Cape Forchu Lighthouse is one of the region's most visited attractions.

More about the Cape Forchu Lighthouse

The Cape Forchu Lightstation is home to the first applecore style lighthouse in Canada with its 23-metre [75-foot] tower. This beacon, built in 1962, sits atop volcanic rocks and, along with its predecessor, has guided vessels safely into the Yarmouth harbour since 1840.

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