Bay of Fundy towns battle over lighthouse
There are many beautiful photo opportunities along the wharf in Digby, N.S. but these days something is missing.
A lighthouse used to sit on the waterfront but was moved to Saint John about 40 years ago. Now Digby Mayor Ben Cleveland says it's high time Saint John gave the beacon back.
“It’s known as the Digby lighthouse in Saint John, so why not put it back in Digby?” says Cleveland.
Clevelandis making a plea to have the lighthouse returned to its namesake town and he’s got the support of people using the wharf.
“I would think it'd be a good idea,” says Digby resident Buddy Clayton. “It came from here…but the only thing is, like, why did they take it in the first place?”
The lighthouse was built in 1903 and sat at the end of the pier on Digby’s waterfront for nearly 70 years. The wharf was owned by the Department of Transportation at the time. Sometime after the ferry terminal relocated in 1971, the lighthouse was moved, but it’s still unclear why.
“I claim rebels came over and stole it in the middle of the night on a big red ship,” jokes Cleveland.
Clevelandis optimistic about getting the lighthouse back. He’s been making a slow, steady play to have it returned for years.
“My first words with the former Mayor Ivan Court when I went into his office three years ago is I wanted the Digby lighthouse back,” says Cleveland.
Representatives from Saint John Waterfront Development will be in Digby Monday to talk about the situation, but on the other side of the Bay of Fundy where the lighthouse now sits, not everyone likes the idea of losing the beacon.
"I certainly would hate to think it would be going anywhere,” says Saint John resident Marjory McLellan. “Actually I don't think I knew it belonged to Digby and I think we have squatters’ rights."
Business owners who like having the lighthouse next to them say Digby has competition.
“It maybe belonged to Digby all this time ago, and now they want to repatriate it back to Nova Scotia, maybe they'll have a fight on their hands," says bar owner Peter Stoddart.
Plans are underway for more development around the wharf in Digby and Reg Hazelton of the Digby Harbour and Port Association says it’s a perfect time to bring the lighthouse back.
“This is pretty near the last phase fixing it up to get the breakwater in…and we just feel it'd be kind of part of everything,” says Hazleton.
If Digby has its way it would become a working lighthouse again, shining mere feet from where it did during its first 70 years by the sea.
With files from CTV’s Jacqueline Foster