Fisheries and Oceans closes Janet Head Lighthouse for summer due to safety concerns

GORDON—The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) did not lease the Janet Head Lighthouse property to the municipality of Gordon-Barrie Island this season due to concerns with the building condition itself.

Gordon-Barrie Island municipal clerk Carrie Lewis noted the lighthouse was never taken back by the DFO from the municipality, it has always been DFO-owned. “We had been leasing it (on an annual basis), and the Fletcher family had been maintaining the lighthouse and the property.”

“But the federal government (DFO) has always owned the lighthouse, it has never been transferred to the municipality,” said Ms. Lewis.

Ms. Lewis said when the DFO carried out research on a proposed transfer of the lighthouse, “they indicated that they had found things that needed to be done to address possible safety concerns, such as wiring in the building. So they didn’t lease it to the municipality for this season. We are hoping that DFO are fixing any problems, and it is good that they are.”

Gordon-Barrie Island Reeve Lee Hayden said the proposed transfer of the lighthouse to the municipality, “was a very long drawn out process. And the original proposal they (DFO) made to us was far less than would have been needed to look after the lighthouse on a perpetual basis. It was not enough. So we made a counter proposal but they didn’t come back to us to discuss this.”

The lighthouse can’t be open to the public this season because of the safety concerns raised by DFO. However, Reeve Hayden pointed out, “at the end of the day the lighthouse is no longer needed for navigation. The structure is there, but as far as its historical significance there would be a lot of local people who would be very upset if the lighthouse were ever gone, and we understand that.”

Despite several attempts the Recorder was unable to contact a DFO representative for comment, prior to this week’s press deadline.