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Heritage Canada Foundation Calls for Passage of Lighthouse Protection Bill

Ottawa, ON – April 3, 2008 – Appearing yesterday before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans (FOPO) to comment on Bill S-215 An Act to protect heritage lighthouses, the Heritage Canada Foundation’s (HCF) executive director, Natalie Bull, called on committee members to support legislation that will protect the icons of Canada’s coastal and inland waterways. HCF and heritage advocates from across Canada have been working toward this legislation to preserve Canada’s lighthouses for a number of years.

Ms. Bull stressed that protection of lighthouses under current federal heritage buildings policy is inadequate and doesn’t incorporate public notice or consultation when a lighthouse is altered, transferred or demolished. This new heritage lighthouse protection act “would engage communities in the protection of their historic places by putting a clear process in place, and increase accountability by providing opportunities for pubic scrutiny,” stated Ms. Bull. The Act would establish a process to select and designate heritage lighthouses; prevent their unauthorized disposal; require their maintenance; and facilitate sales or transfers in order to ensure their continuing public purpose.

HCF is hopeful that with the strong presentations made to the committee and the number of committee members expressing support for the legislation, it will soon be passed into law. Ms. Bull thanked the many Senators and MPs who have supported the bill over the last number of years. Particularly the Senator Pat Carney and Senator Lowell Murray, and MPs Larry Miller (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, Ont.), Peter Stoffer (Sackville-East Shore, N.S.) and Gerald Keddy (South Shore – St. Margaret’s, N.S.).

Also appearing before the committee were Barry Macdonald, president of the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society, David Bradley, chair of the Association of Heritage Industries – Newfoundland and Labrador, and Peter Noreau, Vice-president of the Corporation des gestionnaires de phares de l’estuaire et du golfe du Saint-Laurent.

Debate on the bill will wrap up at the committee on Thursday, April 10th. The bill will then go back to the House of Commons for 3rd and final reading. HCF urges all supporters of built heritage to contact the chair and vice-chairs of the FOPO committee and MP Larry Miller to express their support for this bill.

MP Fabian Manning (Chair, FOPO)
MP Raynald Blais (Vice-Chair, FOPO)
MP Bill Matthews (Vice-Chair, FOPO)
MP Larry Miller (Sponsor of Bill S-215)

For more information: Carolyn Quinn, Director of Communications, Heritage Canada Foundation Tel: 613-237-1066, ext. 229, Cell: 613-797-7206