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Frequently Asked Questions - Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act - Post Petition period

Questions and Answers

Q1      I submitted a petition to have a non-surplus lighthouse designated under the Act.  What are the next steps?

A1      Parks Canada is responsible for the implementation of the Act. This information can be found on the Parks Canada website.

Q2      I submitted a petition to have a surplus lighthouse designated under the Act.  What are the next steps?

A2      There are additional steps taken when a surplus lighthouse is petitioned. Under the Act, a surplus lighthouse that meets the criteria may be designated if a proposal to acquire ownership is approved by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Prospective owners must submit a Business Plan to Fisheries and Oceans Canada for evaluation. The plan must outline how ownership will be held, the proposed use of the property and the financial capacity for future maintenance of the property.

Q3      If I signed a petition for the designation of a surplus lighthouse, am I obligated to acquire the lighthouse? Or did I have to submit a petition in order to submit a Business Plan and acquire a lighthouse?

A3      No. A petition only served to nominate a lighthouse to be considered for designation as a heritage lighthouse. A petition’s signatories do not need to be part of a body that intends to buy or otherwise acquire the lighthouse.

Q4      If I did not submit a petition can I still submit a Business Plan in order to acquire a lighthouse?

A4      Yes, non-petitioners can submit a Business Plan to Fisheries and Oceans for evaluation.

Q5      What if I have additional questions about the petition process and heritage designation?

A5      Parks Canada is responsible for administering the petitioning process and the heritage designation of surplus and non-surplus lighthouses.  For further information please refer to the Parks Canada website.

Q6      How detailed does a Business Plan need to be?

A6      Fisheries and Oceans Canada has developed a template, which outlines suggested information to include.  The Business Plan is the starting point in a negotiation process that could lead to a potential transfer of ownership. If you wish to receive the template by mail please contact:

Long-Term Capital Management Branch
Department of Fisheries and Oceans
200 Kent Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0E6

Q7      Who can assist me with my Business Plan?

A7      Fisheries and Oceans Canada has designated real property officials within the national office and in each of their regions to provide information to support Business Plans.

Q8      Is there a deadline for submitting a Business Plan?

A8      Due to the large volume of petitions received and the administrative or legal issues involved it is recommended that Business Plans be submitted as soon as possible. It is recommended that Business Plans be provided to Fisheries and Oceans Canada by November 1, 2012. In the event that Business Plans are received after June 1, 2013, it is quite possible that a written transfer agreement will not be developed in time to have the lighthouse designated as a heritage lighthouse under the Act. The decision as to which nominated lighthouses should be designated must be made by May 29, 2015.

Q9      What are the ongoing responsibilities that must be fulfilled by a group if it takes ownership of a heritage lighthouse designated under the Act?

A9  1) If the lighthouse contains an aid to navigation that will remain operational, the new owner is required to enter into an agreement with Fisheries and Oceans regarding the maintenance and operation of the aid or access to the site for such purposes.

2) The general public must be afforded a reasonable level of public access to the site on which the lighthouse is located.

3) Please see the following Parks Canada link for heritage-preservation related information.

Q10    How much does it cost to maintain a lighthouse?

A10    Fisheries and Oceans will provide petitioners with an opportunity to inspect lighthouses in order for them to assess potential cost implications. 

Q11    What if there is more than one Business Plan submitted for the same lighthouse?

A11    Fisheries and Oceans will make an effort to put petitioners in contact with one another to determine if one consolidated proposal could be made. If this is not possible, the proposals will be analyzed on their own merits according to a pre-established evaluation framework.  The proposal deemed most capable of respecting the Act’s underlying principles of long term heritage preservation and public access will be given the first opportunity to acquire the property.

Q12    Is there any funding provided to proponents under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act?

A12    Requests to subsidize minor site and building improvements or future maintenance costs can be included in a proponent’s Business Plan and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Q13    I have a viable Business Plan but Parks Canada has indicated the lighthouse does not meet their criteria for heritage designation under the Act.  Can my organization still acquire ownership of the lighthouse?

A13    Proposals are considered on a case-by-case basis. Surplus lighthouse properties could be transferred through the regular divestiture program if they do not qualify for a heritage designation. Over the past 15 years Fisheries and Oceans Canada has transferred lighthouses to community-based interests for heritage preservation purposes.

Q14    Once I have submitted my Business Plan, when can I expect to hear from Fisheries and Oceans Canada?

A14    Within 30 calendar days, real property officials will analyze your business plan and contact you about the next steps.

Q15    Can an individual, a municipality or a community-based non-profit group use a surplus lighthouse without owning it?

A15    Yes. Fisheries and Oceans Canada can enter lease or licensing agreements with individuals, municipalities or community-based non-profit groups which would permit a lighthouse site to be used for alternate purposes.  However, under Treasury Board policy, such an agreement could be terminated by an eventual transfer of ownership.

Q16    What happens to lighthouses that were not designated under the Act?  Will they be demolished or replaced?

A16    If the lighthouse is not petitioned or designated under the Act it will remain in Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s real estate holdings. At this time there is no immediate need to replace or demolish lighthouses that continue to serve a function in their existing structural condition.  If the condition deteriorates to an extent that the service to mariners is compromised, or the structure poses a safety hazard to employees or the public, the Department would consider available options.

Q17    Will surplus lighthouses be sold on the open market?

A17    The Department’s priority is to facilitate transfers which preserve heritage character and allow ongoing public access to lighthouses.  For lighthouses where this is not possible, Fisheries and Oceans Canada may consider this alternative in the future.