Canadian Lighthouse Heritage Protection Act
On May 7th, 2008, the Canadian Senate passed Bill S-215, an Act to Protect Heritage Lighthouses after 8 long years of debate in both the Senate and the House of Commons (the Parliament of Canada). The act now requires the Governor general’s signature to become law which will allow neglected automated Lighthouses and surplus Lighthouses to be protected.
Since the automation of Lighthouses and cuts to the Canadian Coast Guard, many historically significant active Lighthouses have been falling apart and surplus Lighthouses that were downgraded have been demolished, burned down, vandalized, or sold.
The Surplus Lighthouses are currently subject to the Real Properties Act which practically guarantees the sale of excess Lighthouses to private owners making it difficult for local coastal communities to acquire and maintain the historical Lighthouses.
The Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society noted that only 4 percent of Canadian Lighthouses were protected from demolition under he Federal Heritage Building Review Office management program whereas 70 percent of American Lighthouses have the heritage protection under the National Register of Historic Places!
Both the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society and the Heritage Canada Foundation have strongly supported Bill S-215 due to the lack of federal protection for any federal buildings.
After the Lighthouse Heritage Protection Act goes in effect in two years, all heritage Lighthouses will be federally protected and local communities will be allowed to restore and maintain the Light Stations as trustees.