Government Contracts to Paint Lighthouses

The title is a tiny bit misleading. The government is not contracting to paint the lighthouse (is not doing the job themselves using government personnel as in the olden days) but is contracting out to private persons to do the work previously done by government workers.

An interesting article on the Peggys1 Cove lighthouse in Nova Scotia says:


Peggys Cove lighthouse crumbling
Province, feds negotiate while structure suffers


However, dealing with the problem is not as straightforward as sending someone the tab. Peggys Cove is owned by the federal government, which is currently getting out of the lighthouse business. The Nova Scotia government is in negotiations to take over the site, but no date has been set for completion of the talks.

So who is going to paint Peggys Cove, and many other abandoned lighthouses?

One of the commenter’s on the above site made the following reply:

Here’s the link for all those interested in bidding. Go create an account on Merx and bid away your $400.00 to paint it.

Now that Merx site is very interesting. It shows Canadian Public Tenders for jobs the Canadian Government puts out for bids. I searched but could not finds anything lighthouse-related, but maybe you will have better luck. Let me know if you find anything.

There are some interesting jobs available, but one thing comes to mind. What has happened to the Public Works Department of the Canadian Government? They used to do all the painting and construction projects..Does Public Works no longer exist?

Aha! I found it! It is now called Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC). They pay me my pension, but do they do anything else? Check out PWGSC website and see if you can find out.

Not much there about painting old lighthouses. Lots on procurement and disposal though. So I guess they just buy stuff and dispose of it when no longer needed. Is any reader working for PWGSC that can better fill us in on the workings of PWGSC?

So, unless the community is going to do the work and pay for the job itself, I guess Canadian lighthouse are headed for a dim future (pun intended).

1 Peggys Cove (2009 population: approx. 46), also known as Peggy’s Cove from 1961 to 1976, is a small rural community located on the eastern shore of St. Margarets Bay in Nova Scotia’s Halifax Regional Municipality.- Wikipedia

Humour – Government Policy

I received the following in an email today. Based on yesterdays’s MCTS announcement, I think this applies. Government thinking sometimes is so adverse to public wishes that I think government ministers must live in another universe.


The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that; “When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

However, those in government  will apply a more advanced strategy to solve the same problem.

1. Buying a stronger whip.

2. Changing riders.

3. Appointing a committee to study the horse.

4. Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses.

5. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.

6. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.

7. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

8. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.

9. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase dead horse’s performance.

10. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse’s performance.

11. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more
to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.

12. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.

And of course….

13. Promoting the dead horse to a Civil  Service supervisory position.


Careers In The Federal Public Service – Big Oops!

If you are looking for a job in the Canadian Government Public Service, the government has a most helpful webpage called Careers in the Federal Public Service (click photo link below for a larger size):

In the middle of the page above you can Search to see if a specific job is open – a job where you might know the name. On the left-hand side is another link called Job Alert. 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

Lighthouse Automation Could Loom Again

Harper will need to watch his backbench, by Stephen Maher

Read the above article from the National Post online – September 16, 2011 – my condensed version below. – JAC

Is this the future?

On May 2, 2011, Harper’s Conservative Party won a majority government in the May 2011 federal election, by winning 166 seats.

With this majority the Prime Minister (PM) can plan long term. With a minority government the PM handed out money as if it were his own, trying to entice the public to support his party. Now that he has the much-coveted majority seats, he can relax a little, and begin to tighten the purse strings. Now the public will have to beg for funds, instead of having them freely given.

How will this affect lighthouses? We do not know, but if the past has been any clue, we may be in for another fight to keep our remaining lighthouses manned..

I think we need to keep the matter of automation in the public’s eye until it is definitely settled that the Canadian government will not automate any more lighthouse in Canada. Let me know what you think. – JAC


Ontario – Point Clark Lighthouse

– from Market Wire website
Parks Canada 

July 26, 2011 14:20 ET

Government of Canada to Restore Point Clark Lighthouse National Historic Site

 POINT CLARK, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – July 26, 2011) – The Honourable Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today announced the award of a $622,000 contract to restore Point Clark Lighthouse National Historic Site.

“Last year, Parks Canada developed a plan to restore the Point Clark Lighthouse and reopen it to visitors,” said Minister Peter Kent. “Today I am pleased to announce that the Government of Canada is contributing to preservation of this regional icon of marine heritage.”

The Point Clark Lighthouse is one of six imperial lighthouse towers on Lake Huron and was first lit on April 1, 1859. The 87-foot limestone lighthouse structure is a style rarely seen elsewhere in Canada, and in 1967 was the first Ontario lighthouse to be designated as a National Historic Site by the Government Canada. Although owned by Parks Canada, the Lighthouse is operated as a popular tourist attraction by the Township of Huron-Kinloss.

“The Township of Huron-Kinloss is very excited about the restoration of the Point Clark Lighthouse”, said Mayor Mitch Twolan. “The Township Council, staff and citizens of Point Clarke are pleased that this beacon for tourism will remain tall and strong in our community.”

“Through Parks Canada, our government manages the finest network of protected heritage places in the world,” said Minister Kent. “The work at Point Clark Lighthouse will ensure this national treasure is protected and preserved for generations of Canadians to experience.”

Parks Canada works to ensure Canada’s historic and natural heritage is protected and, through a network of 42 national parks, 167 national historic sites, and four national marine conservation areas, invites Canadians and people around the world to engage in personal moments of inspiring discovery at our treasured natural and historic places.

For additional information, please see the accompanying backgrounder at under Media Room.


Contact Information


    Scott Currie
    Communications Manager
    Southwestern Ontario Field Unit
    Parks Canada