Future of Chebucto Head foghorn in Halifax Harbour up in the air
HALIFAX -- The foghorn at the Chebucto Head Lighthouse in Nova Scotia’s Halifax Harbour has been warning seafarers of pending danger since 1892.
But it went silent in February and the Canadian Coast Guard says it has no plans to fix it, at least for now.
Chebucto Head Lighthouse is a popular place for a walk. Bruce and Danuta Erskine go there a few times a week.
"The sound of that foghorn is the Maritimes," says Bruce Erskine.
"Yes, it's such a soothing sound," says Danuta Erskine.
It's a sound, however, that hasn't been heard since needed repairs were deemed unnecessary by the Canadian Coast guard, leaving the marine warning signal - silent.
"At this time there are no plans to reactivate the fog signal," says Harvey Vardy, regional director of Atlantic Navigational Programs at the Canadian Coast Guard.
Vardy says the foghorn is one of 20 navigational aids to mariners in the area. A review has been completed and the coast guard's findings will be published online at the end of the month.
"Mariners will be given the opportunity to raise any concerns they may have with our findings or with our recommendations," says Vardy.
Until it went silent in February, it was the only working foghorn in the approaches to Halifax Harbour.
Barry MacDonald is the past president of the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society and an avid boater.
He says he has experienced firsthand the value of a fully operational lighthouse and foghorn.
"You still have a lot of recreational boaters and yachters in that area that rely on that foghorn," says MacDonald.
"Going into Sambro Island we got into a fog bank and the GPS failed on us," says MacDonald. "Had it not been for that foghorn on Sambro Island, we would have been in serious trouble that day."
For those reasons, the coast guard is saving a final decision on the fate of the foghorn at Chebucto Head until after hearing from mariners.
Until then, the familiar groan of this seafaring signal will remain silent.