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Will the light keep shining?

Parrsboro Lighthouse Society treasurer Alain Couture is the last remaining executive member of the organization, and says an annual general meeting at the Parrsboro legion on Wednesday, Oct. 11 will decide the fate of the iconic lighthouse.
Parrsboro Lighthouse Society treasurer Alain Couture is the last remaining executive member of the organization, and says an annual general meeting at the Parrsboro legion on Wednesday, Oct. 11 will decide the fate of the iconic lighthouse.

PARRSBORO – The future of this town’s lighthouse will depend on a meeting to take place Wednesday evening, according to the Parrsboro Lighthouse Society’s only remaining executive member.

The Oct. 11 gathering at the legion will be the society’s annual general meeting, and will have a very short agenda, according to treasurer Alain Couture. Does the society continue with a refreshed board, or does it dissolve?

“I can’t do it alone,” he said. “I’m not a one-man show. We’ll see if people are willing to jump forward and reactivate it and keep it going.”

The Parrsboro Lighthouse Society formed about four or five years ago, when the Parrsboro lighthouse was one of several properties declared surplus by the federal government. A one-time grant was offered to the society to renovate the building, but the volunteer group would then be responsible for it, Couture explained.

“After you get it fixed, from then on you’re on your own,” he said.

Built in the 1970s, the lighthouse does need some work. The concrete on the upper structure appears to be crumbling away, while the steel is showing substantial rust, and the roof on the lower portion is leaking.

“We tried to get some local contractors to give us a quote on it, and had them out to the lighthouse to look at it,” he said. “They refused, pending some kind of engineering study. We didn’t have money for that kind of study.”

Couture did discuss the matter with local architect Keith Graham, who thought he might know some marine engineers who could help. But Graham no longer lives in the area, and the conversation was not followed up on.

Meanwhile, the society has grown stagnant.

“We had about 44 members at the start, and after three or four subsequent meetings, we had three or four people show up,” said Couture. “The president had to resign and move away due to personal commitments, and the secretary had to resign for health reasons.”

That left Couture as treasurer and two representatives from the Parrsboro Harbour Commission, who are non-voting members.

On top of this, the breakwater leading to the lighthouse appears to be losing its battle with the elements, as it has been breached several times by high tides in recent years. The breakwater is still owned by the government.

Losing the lighthouse would be a huge cultural loss to the community, according to Couture.

“People look at that lighthouse and they know aunts, uncles and cousins that have got safely home because of that lighthouse,” he said. “That’s what really it’s all about. Sure, you can put up new, sophisticated, modern equipment at the end of the pier, but that building represents an awful lot.”

The annual general meeting will take place at the Parrsboro legion on Wednesday, Oct. 11, beginning at 7 p.m.

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