The announcement happened August 30 at the Cape View Restaurant. West Nova MP Colin Fraser made the announcement on behalf of Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.
The ministry is also responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and its Innovative Communities Fund, through which the funding was allocated.
The $83,000 will go towards lighthouse maintenance, installing a viewing scope and the creation of the new Cape St. Mary Lighthouse Park, which will be fully accessible and will include a welcome sign and information panels detailing the site’s history.
“It’s hard to realize what this place would look like if you were seeing it for the first time,” said Fraser, who described feeling newly struck by the landscape’s beauty when walking around it.
Gordon Wilson and Municipality of Clare warden Ronnie LeBlanc were also both on hand to speak about their pleasure in hearing about the funding.
This funding comes after Clare assumed ownership of the lighthouse and its property in January of this year.
“It's been six years since we first began working on a business plan for the lighthouse,” said Larry Peach, Clare’s Tourism Manager and the lighthouse’s Project Manager.
Peach looked to Point Prim as an example Cape St. Mary could follow, since the focus is on the site itself, the nature and the remarkable views it offers.
“This isn’t Peggy’s Cove, but the landscape and setting of this lighthouse rivals any in Nova Scotia. The park we create will help reflect and interpret that,” he said.
The park will feature a Nova Scotia WebCam and will be built around a memorial for all Clare fishermen who’ve been lost at sea.
This will be the first such monument in the area, and a granite mariner sculpted by Marc Graff will be placed on top of the memorial.
“The lighthouse is a huge symbol for our community, our fishermen, all of those who grew up seeing it on the horizon or from the water,” said LeBlanc.
“The memorial will be a place people can pause and reflect, almost like the cemeteries and D-Day beaches in Normandy, France, and remember,” added Peach.
The lighthouse as is currently draws around 60 cars per day during the summer. Peach is optimistic that number will grow exponentially after the park’s creation and is setting his sights on the future.
“This is definitely not the end of this project – we’re thinking of it rather as the beginning of something bigger,” he said.