PARRSBORO – The Parrsboro lighthouse is not going anywhere just yet.
The annual general meeting of the Parrsboro Lighthouse Society, which had grown stagnant after three years of operation, drew a packed crowd of area residents to the Parrsboro legion on Wednesday night.
Answering an SOS call from Alain Couture, the society’s last remaining executive board member, the crowd seemed adamant that the society continues in its mission to keep the lighthouse operating. Six volunteers stepped forward to serve on a new board of directors.
“I thought it went very well, and I’m very happy,” said Couture, who has been the treasurer since the organization was formed in 2014. “If we can maintain this momentum, it will be a good thing.”
Formed after the lighthouse was declared surplus property by the federal government, the goal of the society was to repair and restore the building, and maintain it for years to come. However, subsequent meetings were poorly attended, and the group became inactive.
Couture called the Oct. 11 meeting as a make or break moment for the lighthouse, and the community responded.
Standing up near the back of the room, Helen Tyson issued an emotional rallying cry for the beacon, which she backed up with a $1,000 donation to the society.
Tyson and her husband Rod have operated Tyson’s Fine Minerals in Parrsboro for 11 years, and she said the lighthouse is the most photographed and observed spot in the community.
“Nobody’s going to drive many miles from Halifax to photograph a community lighthouse on a stick,” she said, to raucous applause.
“I’m concerned about the breakwater and all sorts of things, but my husband and I started our business 40-something years ago with literally nothing, and we are here now because we didn’t say, ‘What can’t we do?’ we said, ‘What do we want to do?’” Tyson continued. “We started out with a vision of what we wanted, and I want that lighthouse.”
More than 70 people signed on as society members at the meeting and, when Couture suggested they come back for another gathering in 30 days to select a board, the will of the crowd was to do it then and there.
Matthew Brewer, Perry Kossatz, Lawrence Nicoll, Marjorie Shaw and Valerie Wilson were all approved as the new board members, while the Parrsboro Harbour Commission will again be invited to have two non-voting representatives. The board plans to meet in two weeks to select its executive.
“Everyone was in favour of moving forward then, which was very hopeful,” said Couture. “I was surprised by the numbers and the people. I thought it went very well and I’m happy.”