By Barb McKay
Kincardine’s lighthouse is crumbling and needs attention sooner than later, according to the Kincardine Yacht Club.
Jim Cooper, of the yacht club, made an appeal to Kincardine council last Wednesday to raise the priority of repairs to ensure they are included in next year’s municipal budget.
“Kincardine’s lighthouse is the most recognized Kincardine landmark,” he said. “It is also the most widely photographed and arguably the number one tourist draw in the municipality.”
A pre-construction survey completed on the lighthouse in 2009 found that the limestone foundation was deteriorating and the mortar around the basement window was crumbling. In addition, the lifting beam is in poor condition and the red paint on the turret has faded to pink and is peeling. The list of repairs was approved by council in 2011 to begin in 2012. Cooper said work was then deferred until 2014 but the project is still on the public works department’s five-year capital plan. However, he noted, there is no guarantee that it will make it onto the list of projects that are part of the 2014 municipal budget.
“In the meantime, the lighthouse foundation is deteriorating,” Cooper said.
In 2012, support rods were installed on the foundation to hold the walls in place, but it’s far from a permanent solution, Cooper pointed out. The exterior was painted with acrylic paint – the same solution applied to the Point Clark lighthouse – which could cause additional problems because it traps moisture, he added. Parks Canada is making repairs to Point Clark’s lighthouse because it is a national landmark, but Kincardine does not have that luxury.
“The lighthouse isn’t in danger of falling down right now, but with each passing year it will continue to deteriorate,” Cooper said.
A total of $180,000 was budgeted to repair the foundation and another $170,000 was budgeted to replace the main floor siding and windows and to repair the turret.
Councillor Jacqueline Faubert expressed concern that if the repairs are put off much longer they will be more expensive to complete. She noted that it would make sense to complete them all at the same time while the equipment and contractors are onsite, rather than stagger the work over the next few years.
Deputy mayor Anne Eadie agreed.
“Our lighthouse is a priority; it’s our landmark, so hopefully in our next budget we can stick to our plan,” she said.
Kincardine CAO Murray Clarke pointed out that with the Huron Ridge subdivision work nearing completion there should be funds freed up in the 2014 budget. Councillor Maureen Couture added that there is a balance of roughly $900,000 in the Ward 1 reserve fund that could be tapped into for the project.