New Threat to Lighthouses Illuminated

Reprinted with permission from Jack Knox, Times Colonist

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New threat to lighthouses illuminated

By Jack Knox, Times Colonist April 3, 2012

Imagine the fuss if the owner of a 152-year-old downtown heritage building just walked away from the structure, allowed it to crumble.

But the Race Rocks lighthouse isn’t downtown. It’s plunked in the waters off Metchosin, as out-of-sight, out-of-mind as many of the other West Coast lighthouses that Pat Carney worries about.

That’s why Saturna Island’s Carney is sounding the alarm (or perhaps the foghorn) about a rapidly approaching deadline that could determine whether lights stand or fall.

This has been an ongoing battle for the former senator and Mulroney-era cabinet minister who, even retired from politics, remains a fierce advocate for B.C.’s coastal communities. This fight goes back years and years, a reaction to Ottawa’s history of tearing down, burning down or neglecting-to-death light stations it no longer valued. Continue reading

Triple Island – Inside the Lighthouse – 2012

Triple Island

 

In June 22, 2011 I published an article about the Triple Island 3rd order lens which has now been replaced with a flashlight (see the article).

I have never spent any work time on Triple Island, but I have landed there once or twice with the Coast Guard helicopters as a passenger. I never did have any time to explore.

Triple Island - distant from Prince Rupert

There are two lighthouse keepers on Triple Island who rotate every twenty-eight (28) days with two other keepers. I always wondered what it would be like to live there in this day and age.

One of the keepers, my friend Glenn Borgens, has sent me some wonderful photos of the inside of the Triple Island lighthouse that I am going to share with you. For twenty-eight days, it looks like a comfortable place to live and work. Continue reading

Mise Tales Two

I did not think that Mise Tales Two would come out so soon. If you do not know what Mise Tales is then please see Mise Tales One.

January 25, 2012

Entrance Island from the webcam

 

I received a comment today from Len O’Hara at the Gabriola Georgia Strait Cam website. He said:

 

I just wanted to let you know that we have a live-streaming camera over Entrance Island (lighthouse) and the Georgia Strait. The camera returns to Entrance Island every tour. We also have a good video of the Coast Guard hovercraft rounding Entrance Island in our Community section under By The Sea.

Len hoped that I would find it interesting. I did, and will, and hope that you will too. I am viewing it in the night right now and you can see the flash from the lighthouse. Just imagine if you were a boat on the water – comforting flash is it not?

You never know, you might even see some killer whales going by in the daylight. BC Ferries to Nanaimo goes right by there.

Are there any other webcams on the British Columbia Coast? Please let us know.

Later. Oops, I didn’t look – there is a link on the website to some more webcams. If you know of any others not listed, please let us know. Continue reading

The Characteristics of Lighthouse Lights

Every lighthouse light has its own characteristics – 1. the number of flashes per minute, 2. it’s range, which is dependent on intensity, lenses, and height, and 3. the number of beams from the light, plus other identifying features.

Flashes per Minute

Hand-cranked gear mechanism - Pachena Point

The number of flashes per minute is regulated by the speed of rotation which is governed by the motor turning gears to drive the light around. The old heavy Fresnel lens lights sat on a bath of mercury and rotated in the early days from a hand-wound clockwork mechanism, later to be replaced by an electric motor, and later to be replaced altogether.

Enclosed lights such as the DCB-10 and DCB-36 (originally used as airport beacons) were only driven by electricity and gearing regulated the speed of rotation.

Each light in a certain area has a unique characteristic. Continue reading

Bill S-215 – An Act to Protect Heritage Lighthouses

Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act

Since April 2000 Canadian Senator Pat Carney has been working hard to get a bill through Parliament to protect Canadian Heritage Lighthouses. It passed during the week of May 7, 2008.

This bill will include buildings and equipment, including the main light on many of these stations – some being very old first-order Fresnel lenses imported from England in the early 1900s.

The normal procedure when a lightstation was unmanned was to burn it to the ground and maybe replace it with a solar-cell-charged, battery-operated, multiple-lamp array which operated only in the dark. Continue reading

Strathcona Regional District Backs Down

From the Canada.com website 

(NOTE: This is an image from the website. If the text is too small, hold down the CTRL key (lower left) on your keyboard and rotate the middle wheel on your mouse. The text will become larger or smaller depending on which direction you move the mouse wheel.) This applies to all websites and sites on the Internet.)

Here is a Way to Help Support People and Save Lighthouses

Children's Memorial stones at Edgarton Lighthouse

The idea is very simple, and was given to me by the Edgarton Lighthouse Children’s Memorial article in The Martha’s Vineyard Times. The people built a memorial walkway around the lighthouse and “envisioned a smooth sea of stone around the base of the lighthouse, a terrace paved with small granite blocks engraved with the names of children who had died.” 

Today, the memorial — a simple, elegant plaza around the base of the lighthouse that bears the names of 542 children gone before their time — is a source of comfort to bereaved family members and friends.”

New stones are engraved and placed . . . twice a year; a map and list at the site indicates the position of each child’s stone. An engraved stone may be purchased for $250 US, a cost that hasn’t changed since the memorial began.”

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A plaque in the Memorial Wall in Prince Rupert for a friend of mine

Now this idea does not have to be only about children who died. How many of you have been to the city of Prince Rupert, BC, Canada? There they have two large “Memorial Walls” – “There is one wall for those that died at sea and one wall for those that lived by and loved the sea.”

The last time I checked Prince Rupert charges $175 CDN for a brick in their memorial wall and “Since the first order of bricks were received in August 1991 there are now over 950 memorial bricks placed in the walls“. 

It does not matter how much is charged, or for who the memorial is for, but a lighthouse is a great place to construct something like this. It helps pay for support and maintenance of the lighthouse, and as the lighthouse brings comfort to mariners, the memorial stones bring comfort to those who lost a a friend or family member.

More Delays for Cape Mudge

– from Campbell River Mirror News by Kristen Douglas, online under  BC Local News

The chief of the We Wai Kai First Nation is not pleased the Strathcona Regional District may seek heritage protection for the Cape Mudge Lighthouse.

 Chief Ralph Dick says the land surrounding the Quadra Island lightstation belongs to the We Wai Kai/Cape Mudge Band and he doesn’t understand why the Regional District is trying to protect a lighthouse it does not have direct access to.

 “We want them to just butt out, we don’t want them involved at all,” Dick says. “They can’t get at it by road or water, it’s our land all around it, so we’re quite upset they’re trying to muscle in there. Continue reading

Lighthouse Advocate Frustrated by Delays

– from Campbell River Mirror News by Kristen Douglas, online under  BC Local News

A petition to save four area lighthouses could have been circulating by now if Strathcona Regional District directors had been more informed, says the district’s vice-chair.

 Jim Abram, the vice-chair and a former lightkeeper who has been fighting to save lightstations for several years, is disappointed his latest bid has temporarily stalled largely because of a staff report.

Abram received an e-mail from former senator, and lightkeeper advocate, Pat Carney asking him to bring forward letters detailing legislation that allows regional districts to sponsor lighthouses. Continue reading

Protection Sought for Trial Island Lighthouse

Trial Island lighthouse

– from the Goldstream Gazette.com 

“. . . The Trial Island lighthouse was built in 1906, and is one of 27 lighthouses in the province that are permanently staffed. Though it is not currently in danger of being shut down or defunded, there has been plenty of debate in recent years at the federal level about the future of Canada’s lighthouses, including the one on Trial Island.” . . .

More on the story here